This was a web clipping update that Jeff Utecht took “Colorado schools are beginning to write off cursive handwriting” found here at Coetail@Bkk.
I thought the clipping was interesting and also agreed. In fact, I was just talking with another teacher about how I don’t usually allow students to hand in assignments that are hand written. I like to read assignments that are typed “10 or 12pt Arial, Helvitica, Garamong or Times, single-spaced, narrow margins, double-sided”.¹ The reason for this is that I like the standard, easy to read font and the lest three traits are to save with paper.²
In my class I most often have students using a digital device to write notes. More recently I have had a few ingenious [read: crafty or possibly even lazy] students who have asked if they could just take a photo of the board after I have written or typed notes, so just as this title suggests, they are no longer taking notes in my class.
Now that I allow students to be friends with me on Facebook I also often notice that notes, book clippings, photos of the board and many other things pertaining to assignments in classes are turning up as photos on walls.
It’s definitely a different world that we are living in. I can’t even imagine if I asked my teachers back when I was in high school or elementary school if I could take a photo of the board and how they would have reacted.
As a teacher I can see the benefits of writing the notes. Writing things down means that we are visually and physically processing all of the information. Still, due to time constraints I will allow students to take photo notes with their gadgets … AND some actually even seem to refer back to these photos. Cool.
When all is said and done I don’t think we should throw the baby out with the bath water. I counter my argument with the fact that everyone will need to pick up a pen or pencil to fill in a form or write something down the old fashioned way. In these cases, students do need to have knowledge of how to write with their hands.
I ponder this thought about the future, but what will happen to synaptic connections in the brain and also to our hands fine motor skills due to the fact that we are using them less and less for holding a pen? I know that the art of penmanship has gone out the window, but will there be other consequences?
I think, as with everything, there is a time and a place. Technology is allowing new and useful ways for students to change their habits. It is up to the educator to decide in what amounts they will teach or allow certain skills. I look forward to seeing the next ingenious and crafty strategies my own students bring to class, as it usually brings humor to my day and also makes me think.
¹I also insist upon: Headers with ‘Class – Assignment Title – Student’s Name‘; Footers with Page Numbers styled bold2 ‘Page 3 of 42‘; the use of Headings and Subheadings to be referenced with a Table of Contents; and a Conservative Title page with an Abstract
²Most of the time I try to have students hand things in digitally through one-note, a wiki, a Ning, or through Google Docs.