University students in courses from engineering to physics are having to be taught what files and folders are, The Verge reports, because that's not h

Students don't know what files and folders are, professors say

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2021-09-27 06:30:08

University students in courses from engineering to physics are having to be taught what files and folders are, The Verge reports, because that's not how they've grown up using computers. Whenever they need a file, they just search for it. 

"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," astrophysicist Catherine Garland said. "They see it like one bucket, and everything's in the bucket."

Strange as it may seem to older generations of computer users who grew up maintaining an elaborate collection of nested subfolders, thanks to powerful search functions now being the default in operating systems, as well as the way phones and tablets obfuscate their file structure, and cloud storage, high school graduates don't see their hard drives the same way.

"Students have had these computers in my lab; they’ll have a thousand files on their desktop completely unorganized," Peter Plavchan, an associate professor of physics and astronomy at George Mason University, told The Verge. "I'm kind of an obsessive organizer ... but they have no problem having 1,000 files in the same directory. And I think that is fundamentally because of a shift in how we access files."

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