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In his 1990s TV show, the British comedian, Harry Enfield, used to portray a character known affectionately as Mr You-Don’t-Want-To-Do-It-Like-That. The Wikipedia entry for Harry Enfield’s Television Programme accurately records that this character was an “infuriating know-it-all father” who would proffer advice (usually unrequested) to whomsoever he encountered.  Wikipedia also accurately records that the character’s catchphrases were “Only me!” (used when encountering other people) and “Now I do not believe you wanted to do that, did you?” (used whenever his interference ended up having catastrophic consequences for his fellow man, as it often did).

Being the proud father of a twelve year old “digital native,” I am on the end of my fair share of “Harry Enfield” moments… as, once again, she prises the iPhone from my grasp – “No Dad, you don’t want to do it like that…”

I had another such moment in the first week of Fall Semester while teaching a 1L Contracts class.  I was trying to flick between a powerpoint in “slideshow” mode and something I wanted to demonstrate via the Google Chrome browser on the internet.  And there’s me thinking I’m doing rather well.  I manage to work out in mid-sentence that if I right click in powerpoint there’s a menu that allows me to click “switch programme”.  I couldn’t help noticing that a handful of the digital natives in the audience were looking distinctly unimpressed and becoming somewhat restless. And I could have sworn I heard a small chorus of Harry Enfields telling me that, just possibly, I didn’t want to be doing it like that…

Academic year 2012-13: Things I learned from my students  #1 – “you don’t want to right click like that Professor, you want to press ALT TAB on the keyboard simultaneously”…

Guess what?  They’re right.  And the computer doesn’t explode.

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