File not Found. Digital Fluency of new generations

colorful set of cubesSummary

New generations lack the concepts of files and folders organization as they rely on search methods or search engines to find what they need.

In 2017, astronomer Catherine Garland first noticed the issue. Her students were modeling turbines for jet engines using simulation software as she taught an engineering course.
Students kept calling her over for assistance despite the fact that she had clearly spelled out the homework. They were all experiencing the same error: The application was unable to locate their files.

Original article

The original article is:

File not found – A generation that grew up with Google is forcing professors to rethink their lesson plans. By Monica Chin / @mcsquared96. Sep 22, 2021

The old model:

Folders, also called directories, are organized in a hierarchical system used to arrange files within them. A computer stores a file in one of three folders: “Downloads,” “Desktop,” or “Documents,” each of which is located on “This PC” and may have subfolders nested inside it. Therefore the files and folders are “local” and stored on the hard drive of the computer.

old fashion filing illustration

The new model:

All files are stored in one place and located thanks to a search method that is part of the operating system, or by the “app” that will make use of the file.

File searching

The gist of things

The old model is what new users do not understand as they are used to working on smart phones or using a search engine, either local to the computer or within a web browser. The problem arose in 2017, 10 years after the first iphone.

The conclusion

The ambiguous conclusion is that while it might be useful to teach new generations about the directory structure paradigm, in the end it may be necessary to change how we work with computers (and program software) to not have to rely on this folder structure.

Image credits: Colorful cubes by Pixabay CreativeMagic. Historical filing by Pixabay OpenClipart-Vectors. Search file, magnifying glass by Pixabay RosZie