After having considered Postman’s 5 things to know about technological change and e-learning, David goes and throws in this little gem –
“Will children always be required to learn how to write with their hands?”
Probably not much to some, but just enough to send MY brain on a detour for a while! Didn’t take much, did it? Pretty much on a daily basis, the children I work with (children with ASD) develop a seemingly immediate allergic reaction to pencils and paper at the mere mention of writing, even just a couple of words. A recent blogpost in Autism Asperger’s Digest discusses this very thing, noting the way a simple writing task can trigger a major meltdown. Mostofsky et al. (2009) explains that for someone with ASD, messages do not get sent from one section of the brain to another with the same frequency or as efficiently as it would in a neurotypical brain – impacting on a student’s ability to write. The blog suggested a range of strategies to support the writing challenges faced by students with ASD, some of which I plan to start implementing from 9.00 am tomorrow!!
Saranna accepts that different technologies can be used to support different forms of learning and suggests that as Teachers, we need “to understand the proof, potential and promise of technology”.
With the increased use of technology in classrooms, the art of handwriting is fading. An interesting article by Gwendolyn Bounds, How Handwriting Trains the Brain, cites research suggesting a real value in learning handwriting even as we increasingly communicate electronically with keyboards. The article discusses how writing by hand engages the brain in learning. With this in mind, handwriting curriculum creators have developed many digital handwriting tools and apps which can be used on iPhones, iPads and computers assisting children to trace letter shaped on the screens with a finger or stylus.
Even though keyboarding is a necessary skill for 21st century classrooms, Bounds records a teacher saying “you still need to be able to write and someone still needs to be able to read it”.