I think that technology is important in classrooms today, and that we need to continually better the technologies we use because it benefits learning greatly.  Is it possible that we are pushing out "old fashioned" ways though that are helpful to the student too because of the heavy emphasis we are putting on technology?  Will our future students be able to write, not just type?  What about cursive... will it even exist?  Just wondering what everyone else thought about this.

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In order for today's students to be prepared for tomorrow's workplace, they must be tech savvy or they will not succeed.   I really think the writing is on the wall as far as the world moving forward in this way.  Instead of feeling threatened by technology, I think students will benefit immensely from parents and educators embracing and utilizing the unbelievable possibilities technology brings.  I recently participated in a Webinar that discussed how innovators need the opportunity to "tinker" with technology and have innovative experiences as they grow-up, as Steve Jobs did, in order to appreciate and stimulate the inventor in them.  Online learning and Open Source Textbooks as well as various apps engage students in a unique and valuable way.  Sometimes in the classroom, stimulating a class' interest in learning is the most challenging part.  What child isn't fascinated by technology?  I don't think in any way technology should replace direct instruction from a trained teacher.  A nice balance must be struck.  As far as writing, I find that my middle-schooler is more interested than ever before in her writing projects because of the ease in which she can gather information online, edit it and refine it with help from writing programs she has access to at home.  She then posts it for her classmates to see and further refine.  She'll stay up late some nights wanting to perfect her writing.  That has never happened before!  I am a Kindergarten teacher and we recently published an online class book.  The students wrote the sentence in their journals (using paper and pencil) but then we posted it online using a program and sent a link to their parents.  They were so engaged and careful about the quality of their work (yes, even at 5 yrs. old) because of the publishing aspect I believe.  As a teacher, it was much less time-consuming and easier for me to accomplish this activity thus allowing me to move on to another standard.  I also believe that technology allows me as an educator to provide quality content that I may not have had access to otherwise.  For example, some units in Social Studies or Science can be difficult to collect concrete examples for.  My students can easily scaffold information and analyze new concepts.  Perhaps most importantly, my students can participate in performance based assignments more easily, allowing them to use their higher-order thinking skills. Overall, the benefits to our students definitely outweigh any negative side. 

I agree with your concerns completely! Technology is everywhere and all students, even young students, come into contact with technology on a daily basis.  Students who become familiarized with various types of technology at a young age will be much more successful throughout their educational careers.  I teach first grade at Carrcroft Elementary School in Wilmington, Delaware.  This is my 5th year teaching and I am blown away by the capabilities of my students to navigate the web, use computers, type, etc--even at 6 and 7 years old.  My current students are much more capable of completing technological tasks than my students from 5 years ago.  Why? I think this is because technology is everywhere nowadays. Students see technology at home, on TV, in the car, on their video games, etc.  They are becoming more and more successful.  

I think that we should continue for the push of new technologies into our classrooms.  I believe as our world changes, we should change our instruction to meet the needs of the students we are currently teaching. The concern is that we may be hurting the students in terms of preparedness for their world.  I think in some cases, pushing out old technologies would be beneficial to students, but in other cases, the effects could be detrimental.  A few benefits I see is that I think "pushing out" old forms of technology will help the students to see how our ever changing world works.  It's important for students to see that as new things are invented, others become obsolete.  Just as we no longer use VCRs to watch movies,  someday all students may have laptops rather than notebooks one day.  On the other hand, writing is one aspect of life that will never be obsolete.  Therefore, I feel that students must continue to be taught how to write and the importance of this in our world-even though our world is so technologically advanced.  I have heard of some schools who no longer teach cursive, I wonder how people will write their signatures in the future.  I know my 5th grade students from years ago could not read cursive (cursive is supposed to be taught in 3rd grade.) What I am trying to say is that I think that technology should be incorporated into the classroom whenever possible, but we as teachers need to work hard not to leave children in the dark when "pushing out" old forms of technology.  

Cursive writing seems to be becoming a thing of the past.  As a middle school teacher who learned how to write in cursive during 3rd grade it has been interesting to see less and less students who know how to write in cursive each year.  I understand that there is less need for it as more and more communication is done through technology, however does that mean that in the near future people will sign their names in print?  I think cursive writing found it's basis in formal writing.  Today, we sent emails and instead of letters and texts instead of notes.  In college classrooms students are taking notes on laptops and iPads instead of in spiral notebooks.  I think that we will see some "traditional" skills and concepts become less and less used however, that is to be expected as times change.  Learning how to write in cursive has not allowed a student to better understand the concepts in a classroom but using new technology has.  Personally I would love to have a classroom where students were not reliant on a pencil as they seem to never have one. 

Hi Ashley,

Great question! I agree with you that technology is important in the classroom, but I also wonder sometimes if it is a little too much. I use my Smartboard all day long, and have other technology resources at my fingertips (document camera, iPad's, netbooks, computers, AlphaSmart, ec). But, I worry that our students today will put too much emphasis on the use of technology and rely to heavily on it. I think that students need to be well rounded; they need exposure to the technology and all the benefits of it, but they also need to be able to read and write without using it.

I believe that it all comes down to usefulness and progress.

Since cursive was brought up in specific, consider this:  We originally wrote in pictures, then developed more complicated and direct forms of writing.  At the advent of these writing forms, we did not look back and wonder if those who learn letters were ignorant compared to those who drew pictures.  Similarly, Writing in older lettering forms were made to be easy to discern from each other; 'blocky'.  But the more we write, the more there was a natural need for a smoother and faster way to write.  Introduce Cursive (and d'nealian), which provided just that.  However, When computers came around, particularly the querty keyboard and easier to press buttons, writing became even faster than cursive would allow.  It is a natural progression in speed.  

Similarly to how I wouldn't think kids should be required to know a Mayan animal image for each word sound, I don't think they need cursive.  I don't think its bad to teach, but Block lettering is typically easier to read than Cursive.  Basic printing and typing I believe is sufficient.


So really, the question needs to be on an individual level, to ask if the technology is a natural progression.  Calculators for instance; they are valuable, but at what level of schooling is it wise to depend on them?  It seems after the student knows how to manually do all of the features a calculator does, particularly once the equations they are working on go beyond the abilities of a calculator.  

A second question is the method of learning.  There is not too much argument to occasionally showing a video in class that helps explain something with animations, and expressed from experts.  And much of what we use is simply an interactive form of that.  Then the question is more about making sure the teacher is not dependent on the technology.  If the computer's wen't down for the day, would the teacher still be able to teach the class using books and a white board?

Back to Cursive, If a computer failed, and printing wasn't available, and student who did not know cursive, could still effective write down the same messages by printing the text.  A teacher could still convey the message by speech, or by writing on the board (whiteboard/blackboard/whatever)

I think cursive is something that can go away at a grade school level, and become more of an elective class depending on your interests.  I've heard the argument that the Constitution is written in Cursive, and the Bill or Rights, and kids should be able to read that.  But it also uses a variety of large words, and speech patterns based on legal jargon from the seventeen hundreds.  Not many grade school students are expected to know that.

However, I've seen teachers that barely knew the technology, and primarily depended on tutorials and google to teach their class.  But that's not really a technology issue.  I'm sure we've all seen a teacher at some point that depended on a book, or a prepared syllabus to teach, rather than experience or real knowledge.  


Its a great question, but its probably best addressed item by item.

I've wondered about this too. I feel that technology is very important for our students to learn to use effectively. We need to promote participatory culture and in doing so, create collaboration with our students. However, the "old ways" are still important. Maybe, instead of having a separate 'computer class' like some schools still do, we have a 'handwriting class'.  To make sure our students still have handwriting capabilities, I'm sure there are some apps where you scan your handwriting, and then it translates the writing into typed font. Could we maybe use these apps or other similar software in our classes as part of our lesson plans?

I've read some student work in this forum that is unintelligible and wonder how they will ever be employed.  At the very least, a basic education should provide all students with the literacy skills to set them up for a future in the workforce.  I'm not seeing that here or in the greater world of social media.      

Teaching technology is  definitely important.  Our classrooms need to keep up with the times.  I think it is going to depend on the teacher if our students will be dependant only on typing.  Handwriting is important but i do not think it is as important as it used to be. When i was in school we were given handwriting books to learn print and cursive.  But we did not have computers in our classrooms.  So many teachers post homework online or via twitter.  Technology is all around us, social media is expanding so it is important to keep up with it just not become too consumed in forgetting important aspects of a child's education.

I believe we need to improve instructional/assessment practices using the most appropriate materials that are at our disposal.  Materials can mean any objects, technologies, etc. that facilitate some educational need.

It's impossible to talk about technological promotion without appreciating all the factors that go into teaching and learning at a local level.

One can still use technology to maintain traditional teaching techniques - I see it all of the time.  The question is, do these traditional instructional practices best serve the learner?

Take writing as an example.  The question is not whether students can write out a story by hand or type it out.  It's whether they are able to translate an idea to text.  Context will determine whether this process needs to be done with a machine or by hand; context will determine the type of preparation they will need.  If we are talking about high school students, that'll be a tough decision since predicting future jobs is a challenge.  What I can say, that learning how to type in high school . some 25 years ago, turned out to be by far, the most important class I've ever taken.

Our best bet is to predict which literacies are most important then decide which materials, objects, technologies, etc. best fulfill those literacies. 

One last thing, we can't assume that students learn best based on the way we learn (or learned) best.



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