I feel a little guilty for encouraging use of the course online discussion group. I hope students also have face to face conversations to exercise critical thinking. Although I teach at a university I see the same issue: lack of conversational skills and focus on the phone.
I recently had a disagreement with a book publisher regarding “adaptive learning smart books” (or something like that). I suggested students should do the now unthinkable: go to the library and read the book. The publisher point of view is “meet the students where they are, in front of a screen and on Facebook.”
Sorry, I may receive bad teaching reviews, but I will not meet students there. I am of the belief that students can and should step away from the screen and read a book, form a study group, and have conversations in person with real people. Call me old fashioned.
First came word processing programs that check grammar and spelling. As a result, society’s grammar and spelling ability may have taken a hit. Then there was GPS. When hurricanes like Sandy take out cell towers on the east coast people can’t find their way around. They were not paying attention to their surroundings. They were just following a screen. Now I understand writing is slowly being removed from primary school curriculum. But writing exercises areas of the brain and improves motor skills. If one no longer writes what happens to those areas of the brain and associated motor skills? Atrophy? Finally, as pointed out in the article below, the online push is diminishing society’s ability to have face to face conversations.
How do you feel about these trends? What are you doing to help the situation? Please make your children write, even in cursive. Please have face to face conversations with them as opposed to texting them all day. Or, let grammar, spelling, writing, critical thinking, and the ability to carry on a conversation be damned and hope the US can remain competitive.