As the semesters switched last week I gained a new group of students and I played an ice breaker game that I use to gauge where they are at on their knowledge of technology. The ice breaker in question I call the “ABC’s of Technology.” The idea is that students write down all of the letters of the alphabet and then are given 3-5 minutes to write a piece of technology that starts with each letter.

I use this for two reasons. 1. It gives me an understanding of what students think technology is and 2. lets me get an idea of what technology they have been exposed to. I usually let the students have a few months to discuss their ideas before beginning the time. I received a question that flabbergasted me but also aligned with a troubling trend that I have seen from my students. The question, “what’s that black box under your computer?”

Like most, I have a monitor sitting on top of my computer. The black box in question IS the computer. I explained this to my students and some of them thought I was kidding.

As time goes by I find that more and more students have a fundamental misunderstanding of what a computer is and how to actually use one. I’ll save my thoughts on how to use a computer for later but I have lots of work to do getting the computer literacy skills of my students up to where I believe that they should be.