In the senior seminar, the students are (I hope) hard at work on their papers. At any rate, they have a stepping-stone assignment due tomorrow, so yesterday we were talking about paper writing strategies.
One of the strategies I picked up during grad school, when I began word processing on a computer that could actually open two files at the same time (Go Amiga!) was to have a second file open while I was writing, and every time I'd use a reference in the essay or chapter, I'd tab to the second file and add it in to the work cited list in the proper alphabetical order. That meant that I wasn't trying to figure out the works cited at 7:50 am to turn in at 8am.
So, I was telling my students about this and suggesting they could also use something such as Endnote, and one of my students raised his hand and asked why I don't use the function in Word that handles works cited.
I'd never even noticed that, but it seems to be new with the new Word program! And it's cool! We played with it for a few minutes in class (I can project my computer screen in the classroom) so that everyone knew the basics of where to find it and how to get started. Other than that one student, none of them seemed to know about this function.
They were laughing at me because I was so excited. Indeed, there was no hiding my excitement. (They all should have been equally excited.) I'm just a nerd. Except I'm a late adopter nerd, which is really unimpressive.
How did I miss this? Laziness is part of it; I just use what I've used as long as I can get away with it. I still do control keys mostly, because I type a LOT faster if I don't have to move my hand to the side to use a mouse. But I also looked, and my old Word program on my laptop has nothing like this, and I do a lot of word processing at home. (My computer at home is from 2002, so it's got whatever program was available then.) Is it worth trying to upgrade a 7 year old laptop? Could it even run the newer program? (A new laptop is not in the budget.)