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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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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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Kristen Combs's picture

Our society is changing very fast. However education isn't changing enough to keep up. I actually had an argument with my own child about cursive handwriting. His handwriting was a mess and I asked him to redo his paragraph. He then responded with "I have to turn it in typed. Why would I write it neatly in cursive?" Well that may be perceived as lazy but I think kids are just finding the most productive and fast ways of completing the tasks we give them. I think more parents and teachers need to advocate for a change in what we expect our students to be able to do. Can your students perform the writing process on a computer? Do they know the steps to finish the math on a calculator? If they do they are using the technology of today and they will change it in the future.

Carrie Benson's picture

This is a constant struggle of mine. My students' writing suffers because of technology. They are required to blog about the books they read. As much as I stress that they are still to use proper grammar, spelling, etc., I still see things like "idk" on my computer screen. I think it's all about finding a balance. My students write in their composition books frequently without the luxury of spell check and automatic formatting. My goal as a teacher is to help my students eventually succeed in the real world. Unfortunately things like hand writing are becoming antiquated, and typing has become a necessary skill to survive in the real world.

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