Technology vs Pencils
Senior paediatric doctors in England have growing concern about whether kids have developed enough to hold writing instruments in school, or if they're stunted by technology. Instead of preparing for the "dynamic tripod" technique used to write properly kids may be more suited to the swipe and tap method of tablets and smartphones.
Yes, according to Donna Kozak, an early learning consultant with school district 23, some kids are coming in with under developed pencil muscles, but teachers are prepared for it. "We have to respond to children where they're at when they come to us but it doesn't mean that they're not ever going to learn penmanship or handwriting or printing. That's very much an essential literacy skill that we build in their first four years of school. It's extremely important."
Kozak, along with Lisa Wilson, a literacy teacher with the district spoke about a recently-updated BC curriculum. Wilson addresses what's taught in each grade, "It's in the cirriculum to teach printing in K, 1, 2, and in 3 handwriting. Then in 5 teaching both handwriting, printing and keyboard."
Wilson says by the time they've reached grade 6, the focus is no longer on learning the skills, it's using all three. "We know adults now who have learned to keyboard, they've learned to handwrite and they've learned to print...they have the choice because they know all 3 ways of communicating. That's our goal, to offer children a choice by teaching them all three options."
Kozak adds, "A pencil is a tool and so is a keyboard. Looking towards the future, our children as adults of tomorrow are going to have more choices than we ever did. It's going to be up to them and whatever they're comfortable with, and whatever their career has insisted they do."