A lot of computer concepts are brought over from the real world. Like the recycling bin which is where deleted files go. This is like your own trash bin in real life where you throw away things you don’t need, but since trash bins are still used in real-life even today, it’s not an unfamiliar concept to the younger generation of students.
However, according to a report from The Verge that collected some anecdotes from various educators, it looks like the younger generation of students are oblivious to what files and folders on a computer are.
According to stories shared by educators, many of them have encountered instances where students don’t seem to understand the concept of what files and folders are. This system that was used back in the days before computers, where files were essentially individual documents or reports, and folders were where you put them in to organize them within file cabinets.
Catherine Garland, an astrophysicist who teaches engineering, shared her perspective on how computer files are organized versus how her students see them. “I tend to think an item lives in a particular folder. It lives in one place, and I have to go to that folder to find it. They see it like one bucket, and everything’s in the bucket.”
Of course, this doesn’t mean that all of the younger generations are clueless about files and folders, but it does suggest that as we advance technologically, it might be time to rethink how we approach computers and design. Take the concept of “dialing” or “hanging up” a phone. This is a foreign one to younger kids who grew up in the age of smartphones.
It’s an interesting problem.