In a brief discussion of the myth of student technology competency in this month’s EDUCAUSE Review, Diana Oblinger and Brian Hawkins remind the IT and higher education communities that the ability to download a ringtone to a cell phone does not equate to the ability to effectively locate, evaluate, manage, or present information.
For those of us in libraryland who have been conducting and presenting research on the information and technology literacy skills of our current generation of students, there is little new in the ER story (hence my double meaning of my appropriation of a familiar cell phone commercial tagline – yes, students can use technology, but what can they use it for and why should this seem like a new idea to the ER community given everything we’ve said about this for the past decade?).
For EDUCAUSE members, though, including campus CIOs and CAOs, the clear and cogent points that Oblinger and Hawkings make about the fact that one must be intentional and consistent about assuring that undergraduates do not leave college without well-developed ITL skills may be new. And, if so, they will provide an opportunity for discussion of ITL outside the library and in the environments where such discussions must take place if we are to provide the best instructional services that we can to our students and our faculty. If we’re lucky, we may be able to open a few doors to substantive collaboration with our colleagues (and to administrative support for library-based instructional initiatives) by plunking a copy of Oblinger and Hawkins (2006) down on the desk.