Pen and Paper

Grammar and the perils of technology.

Mizgin Yumusak, Staff Writer

I grew up with textbooks as the basis that teachers used to teach from. My first experiences with educational technology began in high school when my teachers began to incorporate PowerPoint presentations. I was taken aback by this because I hadn't really even used computers before this. I didn't even know what PowerPoint was and yet they can now be seen in practically every classroom.

Imagine walking into a third grade class and seeing students using PowerPoint to create presentations. How are they correcting their material? They use spell check. What ever happened to the good-ole’ dictionary? Yes, a dictionary. The book that's probably now stored somewhere in your basement or probably nowhere near your house. Students are missing out on the chance to use this wonderful resource because they're relying on technology to fix their mistakes. Not only that, the spelling and grammar check isn't always accurate and students are relying on it to get their work done.

As a tutor, I’ve often had to sit with students and review basic grammar because they don't know how to revise without a computer aiding them. It's as though we are going backward even though technology is meant to take us forward. Many of my students struggle with their writing because of their reliability on technology. If you notice students in your classrooms experiencing similar issues due to the technology break, they too may require additional support. Luckily, the city of Toronto offers a variety of tutoring services, both private and public. Although parents may not like the idea of tutoring, it can drastically improve a student's performance in school and in all aspects of their lives. A few of my students have even gone on to publish their own articles in their school's newspaper. One of my students is also writing his own novel using pen and paper! This is coming from a kid who used to eat his meals while using his iPad.

What happens if these gadgets and devices suddenly don’t work? It's up to us as teachers to set the limit on how much time our students are exposed to technology. This balance is what will help our students become a unique generation that will note the significance of technology and practical writing methods to apply in their studies and future careers. Remember that we need to build those reading and writing skills with a combination of traditional and contemporary practices. Don't forget, we build the student and it's our job to help them climb the ladder to success.

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