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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Is modern technology teaching our kids to be lazy?

Is modern technology teaching our kids to be lazy?

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62 Replies 2670 Views

I teach high school remediation. All of my students are juniors, and must pass the state test in March. The spelling and writing skills of many of my students are extremely below grade level. Some have rarely used a dictionary and don't know what guide words are. They have so much knowledge about the computer, and use spell check to correct mistakes. Hand them a cell phone, and they can text message all day long. Give them a calculator and they can figure out any problem, but hand them a pencil and paper and they go blank. I advocate for technology as a resource for learning, but it seems that this is the reason that so many students are unable to do things manually. I know that the basic skills should be mastered in elementary school, but my kids are juniors already and they haven't gotten there yet. Has anyone else experienced this? Any suggestions or comments are welcome.

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LaurenVan's picture

This is an interesting conversation. Technology is a growing resource so we need to adjust to its presence and use it for its good. Its not always available so I think we need to teach how to work without it. More important, though is for the students to understand why they're doing what they're doing on the calculator, etc. So I'll ask my students to explain their steps. (Whether they completed the task with or without technology, they've achieved the main goal). Maybe we just need to focus on teaching the difference between formal and informal writing so that they're ready to write a business letter for a job. Whether they type it or not, it needs to have good grammar (and that doesn't always get caught in a program).

Brandy Frame's picture

Mrs. N, I too rely on technology way more than I should. I type and hit the spell check to make sure my words are spelled correctly, whereas, before I would have used a dictionary. The main difference is that I can complete the task without technology, but will our kids be able to? You are right when you said that technology does not always work the way it should, so the students need to be able to complete the work on their own. I found it sad to hear that the students no longer had to learn to write in cursive. It has been taken out of the standards because they only need to know how to write their signature. This is due to the fact that everything has or can be done electronically. I still teach this skill becasue I think it is important.

Brandy Frame's picture

Mrs. N, I too rely on technology way more than I should. I type and hit the spell check to make sure my words are spelled correctly, whereas, before I would have used a dictionary. The main difference is that I can complete the task without technology, but will our kids be able to? You are right when you said that technology does not always work the way it should, so the students need to be able to complete the work on their own. I found it sad to hear that the students no longer had to learn to write in cursive. It has been taken out of the standards because they now only need to know how to write their signature. This is due to the fact that everything has or can be done electronically. I still teach cursive because I think it is important and the students love learning this skill.

Callie Bishop's picture

I believe students are becoming lazy because of technology. For example, I work the after school program at my school. The students do not want to play outdoors anymore. They would rather sit on the computer or they are so spoiled at home with their video games that being outside bores them. We have students beg and fight against us not to go outside. I think technology has taken over some of the simplier things in life that should be important. Also, I have math students that sneak ways to use the calculator. Our students are doing less and less "by hand" and more using technology. On the other hand, tecnology is also very engaging for students. I have a promethean board in my classroom and we use it daily instead of paper/pencil. I believe technology makes our kids lazy, but also prepares them for the tech world we are now becoming.

Michelle DeLoach's picture

I agree that in the world that we livwe in now technology is a must. However, I also feel that as a teacher and a parent that children must know the basics in every subject and I want them to be able to complete the assignment that they are given whether technology is available to them or not. So if at times that means take the calculator away from them or do not allow them to type an assignment so be it. By not making sure that they can complete assignments on their own we are doing our future generations an injustice.

Michelle DeLoach's picture

I know that in the world that we live in that technology is a must and it is a great thing. However, as a parent and a teacher I feel that our students must be able to complete any task given to them with or with out technology. They must be able to complete a math problem with "scratch" paper and they must know how to write a paragraph properly. So if that means that we as the adults must take away the calculators or not allow them to type a paper every once in a while so be it. I feel that if we don't fully prepare our future generations for the world then we are in for a "rude awakening."

Mrs. S's picture

I could not agree more....about teaching to the test. I also have students coming to me with terrible handwriting. When I ask the lower grades about it they just respond.."I do not have time to teach handwriting. It is not a tested skill so I cannot waste time teaching it. I understand that technology is on the rise but as a lower level elementary teacher I have to be able to read what they are writing right now.

Francesca Muraca's picture

I also agree with Mrs. N's idea that students must master the basics first before they focus on the help of technology. The use of technology should not be a necessity, but a useful tool in the classroom. As mentioned previously, technology has malfunctions and cannot completely replace the essential skills. I do not believe that technology makes students lazy, however, as educators it is our job to be sure that students use technology for the right reasons. I believe that the students will become lazy only if educators accept it. This is why it is essential for teachers to start with the basics before skipping over to technology.

Kimberly M's picture
Kimberly M
Third Grade Teacher, Georgia

I really don't believe that technology is making students lazy I believe that they are simply adapting to a new world. Unfortunately spell check, computers, and calculators are current technologies in our world. I recently recieved a promethean board in my room that has increased my students' success. They are able to interact and be involved in their learning. My students are still able to write and formulate their thoughts and answers with pencil and paper. Maybe this is because I am working with third graders instead of older students. But if we do not make these new technologies available to the students they will be lost in the future. As much as we might not agree with the overwhelming amount of technology available, we must realize that it is just part of the evolution of teaching and learning.

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