Is the Internet a barrier or a bridge for young adults?

By Christine Rogers

Is literacy in danger because of technology? Will students stop reading and writing all together because they spend lots of time on the computer?

I have talked to some parents who legitimately worry about their children slipping away from the traditional ways of books, pen and paper. Afraid of change and yearning for a return to the “good old times,” some worry that technology they do not understand or use will destroy the children’s motivations to read and write. Not familiar with sites such as Facebook, Twitter, deviantART, YouTube and other blogs or forums, some parents cannot participate in the activities of their children, adding a fear of being disconnected from their children and leaving them with feelings of inadequacy.

Along the same lines, science fiction shows such as Syfy’s upcoming Caprica, will display a world where technology is run amok, used by a lazier younger generation. Yet it’s doing the exact opposite in our world: it’s sparking a definite, driven creativity that’s enabled by technology, rather than hampered or perverted by it.

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Comment by Steven David Pearce on December 18, 2010 at 8:52pm

Two key areas to address here:

1. Education for adults (parents and some teachers).

2. Literacy is not in danger because of technology.

 

Education for adults (parents and some teachers) -  more schools and society as a whole, need to educate parents about technology as a tool for children at school and at home. My children read far more books now through iBooks than they did before with paper based books. eBooks are easily accessible, some are beautifully animated with wonderful pictures, children don't have to carry lots of books, but can store them in their iPad/ Laptop etc. Parents can even review the books online and purchase books that they would like their children to read. Children (or anyone) can easily create their own online eBook for everyone to read.

Students can now have educational blogs through their school. These Blogs are fantastic at getting children to write and develop their own blogs. For example, I have seen many student become even more motivated to write on their blogs, because other people have commented on them. Some of my students who used to rarely write anything have transformed into literacy wizards, writing everyday on their school blog pages, which have been commented on from hundreds of different students around the world! What a way to get students motivated?

So I am very happy to get rid if the paper and pen and Literacy is definitely not in danger of dying.

What do you think? Lets hope we always have a power source to keep my laptop running!

Comment by KellyAnn Bonnell on December 18, 2010 at 9:04pm

There's a reason we don't speak or write Latin anymore. There is a reason we don't speak or write olde English anymore. Language is continually evolving. I believe someday future generations will look back on this time and marvel at how antiquated we were. I think we need to engage children in the wholistic use of language. I think we need to engage them in contemporary technologies instead of holding on to the past. Sure there are days I lament that kids have lost the art of longhand and cursive writing. But then I look at kids whose entire worlds have been opened because they aren't hindered by longhand. Whatever we teach we need to teach it in a manner that is relevant to our students. It's a huge learning curve on our part but it'll make them well rounded adults in the future.

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