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Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Tracey Holden-Quinn has developed and written content for communications plans and websites, social media applications such as Facebook and Twitter, and blogs. She is experienced with conducting needs analysis, establishing goals, recommending and scheduling tactics and strategies, and evaluating results.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

No more pencils, no more books....

Right now there is a student in New Brunswick who can keyboard 60 words per minute – in Grade 2.  A classmate wrote about a video, 21st Century Education in New Brunswick that predicts blackboards, desks, grades, textbooks and report cards may be obsolete in 10 years.  They go even further to say “today’s pen and paper have changed”.

True, but let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater. Today’s curriculum content will be irrelevant before the child graduates, however it’s not about what they are learning it’s about how they are learning.   I believe that children need to be taught to put a traditional pencil to a traditional piece of lined paper well before introducing a keyboard or SM (Social Media) instructional techniques. I’m not a teacher or a parent.  Societal norms dictate that my cats don’t count. I did however work in public relations at a private school for 10 years.

 At this school there is a time and place for technology and SM, but first and foremost students learn how to write using their cute little hands.  A foreign concept I know. 

The students are taught cursive writing as early as SK. (No this is not a Montessori School).  Why?  It has been scientifically proven to not only assist in eliminating issues such as letter reversals and poor attention, but it teaches them how to learn.   

Young kids are easily distracted.  That is their shtick. They are busy paving the pathways between their left and right brain hemispheres.  This is how information is processed. Using the actual hand and not a keyboard, exercises the neurons that facilitates the travel and speed of information between the two hemispheres.  The right- hand/left-brain connection and vice-versa is physical and visceral. The brain is being trained how to efficiently absorb, make sense of, learn, and eventually retain information.  No wonder they go to bed so early!

Having said all this, the use of computers and SM in the classroom can't be ignored and in my opinion must be part of the curriculum.  I say this as I throw a dash of salt over my left shoulder.  Or is it my right?  Never mind.

Let’s do  the next generation a favour and give them the opportunity to develop healthy and well- defined pathways in their brains before adding keyboarding speed to the grade 1 marking rubric. 

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