Young students don't remember a world without a search function. Teenagers likely completed high school assignments on cloud storage, not on local files. If they needed to access a report they wrote on the mitochondria, for example, the search "mitochondria" would yield files more easily than navigating folder organization systems. Gone are the days when carefully named files and meticulously organized folders were necessary. According to The Verge, organizing files into folders and subfolders is an increasingly lost art.
Princeton senior Joshua Drossman compares his file-sorting habits to a laundry basket. While some people may fold and put away their laundry into drawers, he has a laundry basket out where he can quickly find what he needs.
Peter Plavchan, an associate professor of physics and astronomy at George Mason University, spoke to The Verge about general differences in digital file organization.
"Students have had these computers in my lab; they'll have a thousand files on their desktop completely unorganized," he told The Verge, somewhat incredulously. "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."The Verge
Some STEM professors in the article mentioned that they now give lessons on nested hierarchies, a concept that still matters in many computational fields but isn't always intuitive for Gen Z. Still, the professors seemed to understand that the kids are alright.
"They use a computer one way, and we use a computer another way," said Nicolás Guarín-Zapata, an applied physicist and lecturer at Universidad EAFIT.