We are in an age where electronic devices have consumed our lives. You can’t even think of leaving your home or office without some kind of electronic gizmo. Think of how these electronic devices and technology have changed the way we think, computers and portable devices are doing all the thinking for us. Students today rely on these gizmos and have forgotten about the core fundamentals of learning and are not learning the basic skills. As you read through this research paper I will cover electronics in today’s schooling, lack of penmanship, social bearers, and online schooling. Walk into any school classroom today and they are filled with laptops, projectors, smart boards, and other electronic gizmos. Schools are relying more and more on technology to teach our students. There is nothing wrong with technology, but have strayed a way of teaching the basic fundamentals of spelling and writing.
Computers today have embraced our classrooms with kids becoming accustomed to them in everyday life. Between September 1984 and September 1997 alone, the number of computers in America’s K-12 schools increased to more than 8 million units. By 2014 it is expected there will be over one billion computers available to students worldwide. In 1994 only 3% of schools had internet access, by 2005 that number had reached 94% and the ratio of students to instructional computers with Internet access in public schools was 3.8 to 1. Even with all these high tech gadgets, children still having to go to computer labs or the back of classrooms (Budig 2010). Books are starting to become a thing of the past as schools look to laptops, tablet, and eBook computers. Tablet computers allow a student to digitally write and erase their work, while allowing a student to also use it as a computer to do word processing, view books and search internet.
A laptop just allows a student to do word processing, view books and the internet. Over the last couple of years a new device called an eBook has taken over. It is allowing schools to replace classroom books with one device, the average eBook can store over 160 books saving schools millions of dollars. California spends over 350 million annually on schools books and is looking to eBooks which cost only 300.00 (Tran 2009). Today kids are turning in their pencils for keyboards. Penmanship is starting to become a lost art as schools teach less writing and focus more on computer keyboarding. In 1995 adults were resorting to printing instead of cursive to make their correspondence understood. As of 2002 only a quarter of 12th grade students could write a decent essay. Even worse only 2 percent wrote really well (Brush 2011).
In Canada children in first grade are expected to compose and edit simple text documents. By the third grade they are expected to type an email. “If it’s keyboarding vs. penmanship, I think penmanship loses out, just because of the packed curriculum. It’s something that you need time to do,” says Susan Whelehan, an elementary school teacher in Toronto (Schmidt, 2005). Students are relying more on computers today to do the work for them and practicing penmanship less. Social media and video games have taken over our lives and kids are interacting less with each other. Fifteen years ago kids would play outside and use their imaginations, today they sit in front of a TV or computer.
On average 2-5 year old spend 32 hours a week in front of TV while 6-11 years old spend 28 hours (Boyse, 2010). According to the “Kaiser Family Foundation that for more than 7 1/2 hours a day, American children ages 8 to 18 are tethered to computers, plugged into MP3 players, watching TV or playing video, computer or handheld games — and for much of that time, doing several at once” (Healy, 2010). With all that time kids are also turning to sites like Facebook and MySpace. These sites are causing kids to stay in front of a computer which they are losing interaction with children and causing social barriers. Online learning has taken over the classroom with its flexibility to teach students.
Schools have come a long way from the slide shows and reel-reel video, today they have turned to Computer Based Training (CBT) and Multi Media. In 2004 it was estimated that 37 percent of school districts had students taking technology-supported distance education courses. Today over a million high school students are enrolled in some kind of distant learning.
CBT training has become a standard in training students from reading to math and has been very effective. CBTs give a student a fun way to learn without them knowing it. Flexibility is the key with CBTs. If students are having trouble in one area the program can focus more, if a student is excelling it can push the student harder. CBTs have become a great assessment tool for teachers and allows them more flexibility.
Another great tool in the classroom has been slide shows and smart boards. Years ago teachers would print material out on transparencies and project them on screens. Today teachers can build slideshows which provide more detail and flexibility. When you incorporate a smart board this allows the ability of interaction with the slideshow.
Over the past 20 years our learning environment has seen a complete over all. We demand information at our fingertips and on a moment’s notice. Electronic devices fill our daily lives from social media, information at our fingertips, and having them do simple tasks. We have become a nation that wants things easy. Our lives are disrupted if we can’t check Facebook every minute of the day. With that technology has done great things for our schools but has hindered some also. Students are relying on computers to do everything for them and we are losing key elements of learning. Penmanship, spelling, and grammar have been lost to word-processing. Teachers are being replaced to Computer Based Training, but with new technology changing everyday you never know what maybe robot teachers is next!
Schmidt, S. (2005, January 22). Keyboard threatens writing skills: For next generation. The art of cursive writing may be a dying one. The Gazette.
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