Paradise Lost: Writing a Revolution’s Wrongs

Having spent most of my career  in the English classroom, the state of writing in today’s society is always in the forefront of my professional mind.  So it is distressing to me when I find that so many educators believe technology and writing to be at odds with each other.

It is true that many students today have developed poor habits from certain technologies.  Yet the story does not have to end at the doorstep of “u” vs. “you.”  When Johannes Gutenberg introduced moveable type in the 15th Century, it revolutionized the written world predominantly through the democratization of information flow.  More authors came to share more ideas with more people.  The road to the information superhighway began with Gutenberg and continued through the Digital Revolution of the 1990s.

Today, as we prepare to shift from a Web 2.0 (sharing) to a Web 3.0 (collaboration) environment, educators need to harness the prevailing winds and use them to chart in course towards improved student achievement.  The collaborative nature of technologies such as Google Docs, SharePoint, and Moodle create a treasure trove of resources that can inspire an information flow unparalleled in human communications.  The Revolution is over – now is the time to build new ways of writing.  This generation of educators has a responsibility and an obligation to guide the formation of that paradigm.

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4 Comments

Filed under Educational Technology, School Leadership

4 responses to “Paradise Lost: Writing a Revolution’s Wrongs

  1. I personally look at it this way. Back when kids used to not be paying attention it was because they were just staring off into space or talking. Now with texting, they’re reading and writing. Not necessarily reading and writing well, but they’re still practicing their skills. I’m not saying to actively encourage texting during class, but I think it’s possibly worth letting slide more than we realize.

  2. Texting can absolutely be harnessed as a classroom tool. Students just need to be directed on how to use it effectively in an academic setting. When it comes to classroom management, far too many educators believe texting to be a distraction than an alarm it should be – that the lesson simply wasn’t very engaging! Rather than disrupting class further and drawing attention to what probably should not be a disciplinary issue, a master instructor will find ways to either integrate the texting into the lesson or make other aspects of the lesson more engaging to the student. The bottom line is that if the student isn’t paying attention to the lesson, the student might not be the only one at fault here!

  3. Chris McCullough

    I found that with the advent of netbooks, more computers are entering the classrooms, which is an invitation for students to be surfing, IM-ing via skype (which they have done with me while they are in class), looking at facebook, or any other series of off topic electronic adventures. It is a challenge to catch that behavior in process and turn it around. I regualarly walked the room or when I saw other student’s eyes diverting, I would ask the student what they were doing. That was from the angle of curbing activity, but for the better, I would try to plan places where I wanted them to search for something on the internet, which encouraged the use of that tool for the good of the class.
    This does not get at the point of reading and writing, as directly, but we are in an age where typing does not need to be taught anymore, because students know how via computer usage. To that end, students are reading and writing more, even if it is not Shakespere, due to their electronic wanderlust.

  4. Behavior management is a huge challenge in the digital age! Technology in the classroom can certainly seem like a Trojan Horse at times when we invite it into our learning environments. Striking a balance between the possibilities and the pitfalls ready access to tech in the room provides is a major challenge going forward!

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