The true meaning in a message

Hi Catherine, I have written (word for word) the content of two letters I received from a Government Department some years ago which I have kept, because I just find it so amusing really. It is a good example of critical literacy in my opinion, because it certainly made me wonder, what the real meaning was that they were trying to send me.

Both letters have been written by the same person. The first letter was dated 13th April 1996 and is as follows.

We have a new approach to customer service. From May1 1996 you will only ever have to to talk to one person in New Zealand Income Support Services – someone you know and knows you.   My name is XXXXX and I will be your Personal Manager. I will contact you shortly to arrange a meeting. An appointment system will apply from May1 1996.

From this date you must contact me to arrange an appointment before coming into the office.

Yours sincerely

 

The second letter from the same person which was dated on the 15th May 1996 read as follows

I recently wrote to you about your personal customer service and asked you to call me and arrange a meeting. I note that you haven’t called yet.

I’m sure you will find the meeting helpful and informative. We must meet if you want your payments to continue.

Please call me on XXXXX to arrange a meeting time and place, within seven days.

You are welcome to bring someone with you.

I look forward to meeting with you

Yours Sincerely.

 

I think this is a good example of functional literacy gone wrong and an even better example of critical literacy, as I mean , what was the message that the writer was really try to send me. I certainly know the message that I took from it and shook my head in dismay.

Cheers Mike

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Reply to Ben (Critical Literacy)

Re functional literacy…what determines the acceptable level of ‘function’…?  is functional literacy the same for all members of a society?

Re critical literacy: what sorts of things determine ‘the different meanings a text may have?  Can you (or someone) elaborate on that a bit please?

I think that everyone in society operates at a functional level. What determines an acceptable level of function depends on each individuals requirements to undertake and fulfill the chosen or required activities in their day to day lives. We all undertake certain activities each day that are common to us all. We all have thoughts and feelings which are similar at some time or other.I think functional literacy follows on from this and is the same for everyone in society in as much as we all participate in similar day to day activities. For example we all converse with others, read to some extent , have opinions, feelings, and are able to think. Therefore we are all capable of reading something and take some form of meaning from whatever we do. I think to be functionally literate one needs to be able to understand, contribute and participate in today’s world in whatever role your life undertakes. A person needs to be able to actively contribute to society and interact with others, to accomplish whatever task or action they need or desire to undertake. When it comes to reading one “needs to be able to read well enough to function in a complex society” (SIL International, 1996).

That may include reading at a level where you can understand what is written on the page, or have the knowledge to find out any information that you are missing. For example, if while reading a page of text, you may read a word that you don’t understand. You would need to know how to go about finding the information needed. Then decide on the meaning of the word and have the ability to understand that meaning and how it fits into the context. Then when you have finished reading the page of text you then understand the basic message that the writer intended. Being functionally literate is described as “the acquisition of the appropriate verbal, cognitive and computational skills to accomplish practical ends in culturally specific settings.(McArthur, 1998)

Functional literacy incorporates reading materials that relate directly to community development and to teaching applicable or useful life skills.(SIL International, 1996). In relation to critical literacy and what determines “the different meanings a text may have” I believe that the writers reason for writing the article the intention, attitude, knowledge, life experience, prejudices, morals all play a part in how an article may be written and the possible meanings the article may hold as a result.. Those same things then play a part in how the reader interprets the article and determines what meaning the reader takes from the article.

 

References

SIL International, (1996). What is functional literacy?. SIL International: Retrieved October 6th, 2010 from http://www.sil.org/lingualinks/literacy/referencematerials/glossaryofliteracyterms/whatisfunctionalliteracy.htm

McArthur, T., (1998). Functional Literacy. Encyclopedia.com. Retrieved October 6th, 2010 from:      http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O29 FUNCTIONALLITERACY.html

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Critical literacy

Discuss the importance of critical literacy in the 21st Century and distinguish it from functional literacy. Discuss the changes in technology, education and society that have created the need for critically literate learners.  You may refer to examples from your own life or learning experience to support your case.

Critical literacy is important as a means to evaluate what is written. We are able to formulate an opinion and take appropriate action if required, based upon our understanding. Critical literacy has to be important if we are to live independently and undertake our daily lives in a self sufficient manner. Critical literacy is the ability of the reader to analyse and understand and then possibly discuss what is written and consider the different meanings a text may have. At the heart of the approach of teaching critical literacy is the belief that while literacy enables students to make meanings from texts , critical literacy will empower them to understand how texts are trying to influence and change them as members of society. (Wikipedia)

The ability to be critically literate is more important today than it ever has been. People now live in an information age where everyone is exposed to a greater influx of information from a number of sources on a daily and ongoing basis.Students are required to use the internet which has a vast array of sources of information. The student needs to able to establish which pieces of information are relevant to them and which pieces of information are factual. There needs to be some kind of analysis made on the part of the student, before that decision can be made about the information. People are being constantly bombarded with information from business and other sources to manipulate them or influence their behaviour in some way. The information may be trying to sell you something, or make you decide to do something or have a particular opinion on something.

The Auckland local body candidates are currently lobbying for people to vote for them and those people are required to make a decision on who to vote for. The information provided by those candidates will need to be analysed and given some serious thought to make an informed decision on who to vote for. To be critically literate we need to analyse the information and take into account the fact that the information may be contaminated by views and opinions which are either incorrect or biased and the reader may be swayed in some future action or opinion.Government bureaucrat’s use language to change public opinion and their ways of thinking or doing things on an ongoing basis, through tactics of scaremongering and manipulation.A common phrase that is used to imply the need to be critically literate is the phrase “reading between the lines”. In other words the ability to see the hidden meaning or have other knowledge available to you, that either agrees or disagrees with the information. The judgement skills need to be instilled at the earliest stage possible, to give people time to become familiar with how to critically analyse information. I think to be critically literate it is summed up best for me by saying that critical literacy asks us to second guess what we believe is true. (Molden 2007)

. Functional literacy is seen as the basic literacy for everyday life.: The level of skill in reading and writing that a person needs to cope with everyday adult life. (MSN encarta, 2009). A functional literacy approach is a method used to teach people how to read well enough to function in a complex society Functional literacy incorporates reading materials that relate directly to community development and to teaching applicable or useful life skills. (SIL International, 1996). The ability to write out a cheque, to pay an account, to converse on the telephone, or other media With the increased reliance upon technology I believe the need to be critically literate has increased dramatically, as we are now mostly dealing with the written word, rather than verbal interaction. There is a need to evaluate what is written and without critically analyzing the written information our actions may be different than what we may have otherwise done.

 

References Molden, K. (2007). Critical Literacy, the right answer for the reading classroom: strategies to move beyond comprehension for reading improvement. In Reading Improvement. V44,1. Pp50-56.

MSN encarta, (2009). Dictionary, MSN encarta. Retrieved October 6th 2010 from http://encarta.msn.com/dictionary_1861690879/functional_literacy.html

SIL International, (1996). What is functional literacy?. SIL International: Partners in Language Development. Retrieved October 6th, 2010 from http://www.sil.org/lingualinks/literacy/referencematerials/glossaryofliteracyterms/whatisfunctionalliteracy.htm

Wikipedia, (2010). Critical literacy. Wikipedia The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved October 5th,2010 from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Critical_literacy

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The diversity & nature of literacy in the information age

People have a wider choice in how they communicate today, than they ever have in the past. It isn’t long since our choices in communication were restricted by distance and time. Message transmissions have evolved from a process that may have taken months to something that is now virtually instantaneous. Our choices in how we transmit a message are now mostly done via some form of technology, ie telephone, fax, radio communication, television, or the internet. Our choice in who the message is aimed at is now wider also. We have the option to send a message to a single receiver or a wider audience.

With the new modes of message transmission new language has also evolved and been invented. New names for technical devices, new names for procedures and actions that are undertaken by those that use and talk about technical devices. Some of the new language has been invented by manufacturers to give a user friendly name for a particular product and that name may then be also used for some function related to that product. An example of this would be email (Electronic Mail).

It is important to realise that people read and write in different ways. (Goettel, 2010). People from differing cultural backgrounds will use different language to communicate their message. For example a Politician will use different words and actions to describe a situation than how a Gang member would express himself in the same social situation. Differing levels of comprehension will have some bearing on how a message is interpreted and understood. The understanding will then have an effect upon the meaning taken from the message. (Christie, 1990, cited in Sensenbaugh, 1990).

Specific language has evolved with technology users as well. To be literate with some forms of technology, new, names, terms, phrases may need to be learned and understood. Bureaucrats , business and industry sometimes use language that is specific to them. They may use new names and acronyms to supposedly make communication faster and easier to understand and make life easier for themselves and others. An acronym like EFTPOS (Electronic Funds Transfer at Point Of Sale) for example then becomes the widely used and understood term, and the original longer name is largely forgotten. People need to be conversant with the abbreviations and terms used by various organisations to be able to effectively communicate with them.(Belena, n.d.).

Messages may need to be encoded by certain industries to further disguise a message meaning to ensure that the message content is only read by the intended recipient. The use of anagrams were practiced in the 17th century to disguise scientific discovery. (Kaufer & Carley, 1993) this means that only certain people were able to understand what was meant by the new word or term. Different social groups, and age groups do a similar thing with the language that is often used by them (slang, text messaging) and if a message is sent to an outsider of the group that meaning may be lost or difficult to interpret.

References

Goettel, D., (2010). What is Literacy? WiseGEEK. Retrieved October 5th 2010 from: http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-literacy.htm

Sensenbaugh, R., (1990). Multiplicities of Literacies in the 1990s. The Educational Resources Information Center. Retrieved October 5th 2010 from: http://teach.valdosta.edu/whuitt/files/literate.html

Belena, R., (n.d.). Reasons to avoid business jargon and acronyms in communication. Helium. Retrieved October 5th, 2010 from: http://www.helium.com/items/1745422-when-to-avoid-business-jargon-and-not-to-use-an-acronym

Kaufer, D.S. & Carley, K.M., (1993). Communication at a distance: the influence of print on sociocultural organization and change. Hillsdale, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc., Retrieved 5th October, 2010. from: http://books.google.co.nz/books?



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Critical literacy

What is critical literacy? The ability of the reader to read texts in an active, reflective manner. Source (learn.nc) The ability to realise that all texts represent someone’s view of the world and that if that view is close to our own, it will seem natural and normal. Source: (Highbeam)

Critical literacy is the ability of the reader to analyse and understand and then possibly discuss what is written and consider the different meanings a text may have.

At the heart of the approach of teaching critical literacy is the belief that while literacy enables students to make meanings from texts , critical literacy will empower them to understand how texts are trying to influence and change them as members of society. (Wikipedia)

All written work has a purpose to, in some way influence the reader. That may merely be to entertain, but it may have other purposes also. The aim may be to persuade or manipulate as advertising does. There is no one way a text may be read. Texts will be read in differing ways by different people. The different readings will be determined by factors such as, the context and the readers discursive background. (wikipedia)

Critical literacy is important as a means to evaluate what is written. We are able to formulate an opinion and take appropriate action if required, based upon our understanding. Critical literacy has to be important if we are to live independently and undertake our daily lives in a self sufficient manner.

Critical literacy draws on skills other than just word recognition and gives one the ability to process the information in the following ways. To analyse, use your intuition, logic to extract meaning from what is being read, evaluate the contents usefulness, use it as a point of reference to agree or disagree with, pass judgments on, take action on as a result of information gained.

The website, www.readwritethink.org gives a straight forward outline of a lesson of how students are to not merely read a story “The big bad wolf” but to question what they are reading by providing them with the language and skills needed to analyze a text. Students learn to look at the authors purpose, examine multiple viewpoints and also recognise gaps in the text. By reading two versions of the same tale and completing an interactive Venn diagram, students recognise that there are not only different versions of a story, but also different viewpoints to consider when reading.(source: readwritethink)

In the journal article “Critical literacy as comprehension by Maureen McLaughlin & Glenn DeVoogd the statement that “critical literacy helps teachers and students expand their reasoning, seek out multiple perspectives and become active thinkers” sums up the concept for me.

Everything we are doing in this course involves critical literacy. We wouldn’t be able to learn any of the new technologies or undertake any of the tasks outlined in this course if we didn’t have the ability to be critically literate. Life would be rather boring to I feel, if we didn’t have the ability to analyse text. Critical literacy encourages readers to be active participants in the the reading process.

Molden states that critical literacy asks us to second guess what we believe is true and isn’t that what learning is all about?

References

Harison, R. (2008). It’s my think:exploring critical literacy with low level EAL students. Thesis, M.A, AUT University. Retrieved September 12th 2010 from:

http://repositoryaut.lconz.ac.nz/handle/10292/737

McLaughlin, M. & DeVoogd, G. (2004). Critical Literacy as comprehension: Expanding reader response. in Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy.V48,1.pp 52-82.

Molden, K. (2007). Critical Literacy, the right answer for the reading classroom: strategies to move beyond comprehension for reading improvement. In Reading Improvement. V44,1. pp50-56.

Statkus, S. (2007). What is critical literacy (and how do I use it )?(classroom activities) Highbeam Research. Retrieved September 12th 2010 from

http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-195069867.html

University of North Carolina, (2008). Critical Literacy, LEARN NC. Retrieved September 12th, 2010 from: http://www.learnnc.org/lp/pages/4437

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Kiwi Culture

Kiwi Culture

ANZAC : This has been a part of our history since 1915.

D.I.Y : Has long been held as a Kiwi Tradition. Number eight wire technology , can do attitude, with leaders in their feilds like John Britten (Britten Motorcycle) Bill Hamilton (Hamilton Jet) Burt Munro (Land speed record holder) Richard Pearce (Aviation)

Swandri : 100% wool, waterproof work shirt that was developed in 1913 by Taranaki Tailor William Broome. The grmane kept you warm in winter and cool in summer. The name Swandri came about due to the way rain ran off the back of the person wearing the Swandri

Gumboots : The gumboot is the traditional footwear of the majority of rural folk in New Zealand. The Gumboot has become an iconic symbol of the rural way of life in New Zealand and this has bought about  the important question of …………….If it weren’t for your Gumboots, where would you be?

Fred Dagg : A comic figure invented by John Clarke. The black singlet, Gumboot wearing farmer with several brothers named Trev.

Pavlova : Named after Russian Ballerina Anna Pavlova who toured Australia and New Zealand in 1926. The pavalova is a light meringue dessert made from combinations of egg whites, castor sugar, vinegar, water, vanilla essence, cornflour and topped with lashings of cream and fruit.

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British Primary Pupils given tuition from India

A lesson from India: Primary pupils given maths tuition… by teachers 4,000 miles away

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1310682/Primary-pupils-given-maths-tuition-teachers-INDIA.html#ixzz0zAD0i4kv

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Reading 13

Technology, learning and visual culture: by Ron Burnett

Pedagogy: Teachers actions promoting student learning. Students learn best when teachers,create a supportive learning environment encourage reflective thought and action enhance the relevance of new learning facilitate shared learning make connections to prior learning and experience provide sufficient opportunities to learn inquire into the teaching–learning relationship.

Source: http://nzcurriculum.tki.org.nz/Curriculum-documents/The-New-Zealand-Curriculum/Effective-pedagogy

Pedagogy: The strategies or style of instruction.

Source:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pedagogy

Pedagogy: The art or office of a pedagogue. The teaching profession.                                                                               Pedagogue: A teacher of children. A headmaster.                    Source: The Concise English Dictionary (pp. 298)

Learning never progresses along a simple one way road from ignorance to knowledge (Felman 1982: 27)

The balance between where students have come from and where they are headed is rarely linear and is often not clear.

Popular culture provides a central if not crucial foundation for the lives of students. Often in not recognising the centrality of popular culture teachers may be missing some of the most elements in a students understanding of their own lives.

In 1913 Thomas Edison predicted that books would soon be obsolete in schools because of motion pictures. Similar predictions of epochal change in education accompanied the diffusion of radio in the 1829s and 30s and television in the 1950s (Starr 1996).

Visual cultures are about different orders of knowledge and knowing. Visual cultures depict,criticise and sustain the contradictions in they are immersed.

Learning now takes place in so many different ways and venues, that we need a far more intergrative and holistic approach to pedagogy.

There are some fundamental guidelines that provide a foundation for a integrative approach: these guidelines may both form and inform the development of pedagogical strategies in literacy education.                                                                                      1)Popular and visual cultures are immersed in technology. Learners are both the progenitors and creators of technological innovation.                                                                                              2)  Resistance and acquiescence drive learning. Cultural phenomena are part of a complex system through which a variety of central narratives are constructed. These narratives are the content of the media and if we are to connect learning to context, we need to know and understand these stories.                                3)  Classrooms are public arenas of exchange. Networked learning does not eliminate the contradictions, potential and pitfalls of the classroom experience. Technology is never a substitute for interpersonal exchange and I say this even Internet technologies are redefining what we mean by public discourse and public spaces as well as interactivity and human conversation.                              4)  The search for meaning occurs through patterning: learners construct meaning through creating patterns of connections (Marshall 2000)                                                                                     5)   Connections mean connectivity, which cannot be achieved unless there is a genuine understanding of how the process of communication works. This means that students must participate in the creation of the learning experience. This is not only for themselves, but also for the teachers who teach them. Communication is about an exchange among equals and/or those that strive for equality.                                                                         6)  An interdisciplinary or transdisciplinary approach is needed if a new paradigm of learning is to be created and the use of technologies must be factored in at all levels (Stephens 2000)

Semiotics: The study of sign processes. The significance and communication signs and symbols.                                          Source:   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semiotics

Semiotics can include: road signs, pub signs, starsigns but also paintings, drawings, artworks, but it also includes, words, sounds and body language                                                                        Source:    http://www.aber.ac.uk/media/Documents/S4B/sem01.html

In 1993 online learning was virtually non existent. Today private investment in this area has reached over 2.2 billion dollars (Werry2001)

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Pop Culture Debate Submission

Does Pop Culture provide a common ground for teachers and learners

“Popular culture is what happens around us every day.”(Flagel, n.d.). It is what society favours and chooses to perpetuate. It is what is popular in our day to day lives.

According to the New Zealand dictionary (1989) culture is the distinctive practices and beliefs of a society.

We are being constantly influenced by events, media, people and the times we live in.Society is ever changing and what is popular, is also constantly changing. We only need to look back a few years to see how trends change. That change can come from Industry with new fashion or new models of appliances, motor vehicles etc. Or the change may come from peoples attitudes and beliefs and how people do things.

The most obvious recent changes of how students learn, is as a result of the introduction of technology, into their day to day lives and learning environments. Students are said to be Digital Learners, that use televisions, cellphones and personal computers on a daily basis, both for social interaction and to further their learning. “Today’s average college graduates have spent over 10,000 hours talking on cellphones, around 20,000 hours watching television (Prensky, 2001, cited in You Tube Pay Attention) and today’s children and teens spend 2.75 hours a week using home computers.” (Institute of Social Research, 2004, cited in You Tube Pay Attention).

Learning can now be done in different ways and not restricted solely, to the classroom environment. The learning of WWW, Whatever, Whenever, Wherever is often the norm. (Institute of Social Research, 2004, cited in You Tube Pay Attention). The learning can be developed to involve the student in what they are interested in, what they actively participate in.Surely it makes sense to construct lessons to be of interest to a student and what better way to do that, than to relate it to something in their daily lives.

The question for this assignment is, “What could be incorporated into this course in the future to provide a basis for shared learning”

Before that question is answered, we need to know, what interests young students today?. What do they interact with regularly that has stood the test of time and is not merely a passing fad?.What one thing is common to all peoples, regardless of ethnicity? One thing that comes to mind that could be incorporated is music.

Music is timeless and knows no cultural boundaries. Sure trends change and music tastes change and differing age groups have differing tastes in who and what type of music they listen to, but there are still similarities. Music has been with us for generations, or possibly from the birth of man. A quote by Falk certainly indicates this, where he says. “Because music and language are so neurologically intertwined, it is hypothesized that they evolved together as brain size increased during the past two million years in the genus Homo” (Falk, cited in Nils, 2000).Music has been with us ever since man first struck a hollow tree trunk with a stick and then stretched an animal skin over the two ends and created the first drum.(Old & Sold, n.d.)

Some things remain constant with songs and music and that is, they are all conveying some kind of message. As stated by Johnson (1999) music is one of the most powerful ways to influence, enhance, educate or destroy ones mind, especially young minds.

The course could be developed with the emphasis being on what is being communicated and how the message is being communicated. The lyrics of songs could be examined and compared with other forms of literacy and how styles, structure differ. Students could be asked to source songs that they believe are relevant to whatever subject is being discussed and to give an analysis of the song or music and how it relates to the subject. Technology can be bought into the mix, by discussing how music and songs are produced or written and how music styles and instruments have evolved as a result of changing technologies. .The evolution from acoustic to digital and the increasing use of electronics and computers to produce and reproduce music and other effects related to the music experience. Research could be done on the Artists, the instruments, the lyrics and the other areas that make up the experience of listening to music. After all music and the message being conveyed by that music is another form of information.

A statement made on the You Tube video to indicate the attitude of students to learning was, “When I go to school I have to power down.” (High School student, n.d. cited in You Tube Pay Attention) Surely by incorporating the things that they think they know and believe they like, may remove some of the arrogance from that statement.

Society is made up of individuals, participating in activities that at times are done as individuals and at other times, done in large numbers of people undertaking the same activity. Sometimes these activities are passing fads and others remain, whereas others may evolve and change into something new and what thing has stood the test of time? Music.I believe the teacher and student should be able to find common ground within Popular culture, as after all aren’t we all living in the same place and time and influenced by the same things.

References

Flagel, B. n.d. What is Pop Culture? Retrieved September 8th, 2010 from:  http://www2.ucdsb.on.ca/athens/popculture/Whatpc.htm

Orsman, H.W. (1989). Heinemann New Zealand Dictionary (2nd ed). Auckland: Hienemann Reed. You Tube. n.d. Pay Attention. Retrieved September 8th, 2010 from:       http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gT2E2F0DmyE&feature=related

Nils, L. Wallin, Bjorn, Merker, Brown, S. (2000).The Origins of Music. Retrieved September 8th, 2010 from:http://dannyreviews.com/h/Origins_Music.html

Old & Sold, n.d. Origin of Music.Retrieved September 8th 2010 from http://www.oldandsold.com/articles30/music-essays-1.shtml

Johnson, G. V. (1999). Understanding the power of Communication with Music. in exodusnews.com. Retrieved September 8th, 2010 from:                  http://www.exodusnews.com/entertainment/Entertain037.htm



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Debate Entries

Should Keyboarding be taught in schools instead of handwriting

No I don’t believe that keyboarding needs to be taught in schools instead of handwriting.

As we know children are inquisitive by nature and a fair percentage of them seem to seek out electronic devices and are soon investigating how something works, or how to insert some unrelated object in some aperture of some electronic device or other.

A child will soon master how to operate a new technological device to some level, given the opportunity to investigate and play with the device. After all, aren’t the devices designed to be user friendly and simple to operate?

Or is that just hype and what the manufacturer would have us believe, to enable them to sell the product?

It makes me wonder actually. The reason I say this is. I tried to tune in a combined video/dvd player to a television yesterday, for a female friend of mine. Even though I have tuned in several video recorders in the past and had an instruction manual to refer to, this one (at that time) had me stumped, but as Arnie would say, I’ll be back!! and will have another attempt.

I believe that the computer is an effective tool to aid with so many things and learning is one of those things. The scope to gathering information on any subject is huge and maybe that in itself can be a problem. I find at times I will put a subject in a search bar and the things that appear are at times totally irrelevant

To rely upon computers more heavily and to do away with students learning how to write using a pen or pencil would be an inadvisable direction to follow in my opinion.

We speak of upskilling, but to dispose of one way of doing things and replace it with another is merely change and the possible loss of one skill for another. This has been evident with so many things.

Think of the skills that are being lost due to society thinking that the new way to do something is the better way.

Artisan crafts over the centuries are lost due to mechanization and technological advances giving us the ability to produce something cheaper and faster and to a higher standard commercially, rather than to make it ourselves.

Not all skills are lost as a result of there being another way to do things of course, but the majority of people will take the easier option. For example some people still sew their own clothes and bake their own bread but there are now mechanical devices available to assist with these tasks.

Some things are becoming so technologically advanced that the ability of someone without specialist knowledge is unable to undertake some tasks they used to be able to. Think of the car and how it used to be possible for the average DIY person to tinker and maintain their vehicle to a satisfactory standard. That ability is slowly being removed. This is mainly due to how complicated the electronic componentary has become and that is mainly due to the inclusion of computer controlled management systems for the various functions needed today for your driving safety and comfort. There is now a need for mechanics to plug a vehicles computer into a diagnostic machine to analyze a fault.

Will the same thing happen if the way students learn to write is changed or writing is not taught at all?

Will this principle work in practice? As we know, the education system is mostly reliant upon Government funding and will the greater reliance upon computers also increase the reliance upon Government funding and increase the detremential effects to students learning as a result of manipulations to that funding.

I believe students need to learn the basics like I did, like the times table, how to spell to a reasonable level and be able to calculate basic equations without the aid of a calculator and the same applies with the ability to write.

Just imagine how lost a person would be once the technology is removed. Remember the last time there was a power cut from 5pm to midnight on a week night.

Have you ever asked a young shop assistant how much the three items you have selected costs to buy when they can’t rely on a computer to tell them the answer? Have you ever tried to make a purchase at a business during a power cut? Does anyone remember the power cuts in Auckland a while ago and the problems that caused for so many?

Why is society so hell bent on becoming more reliant on things that cost us financially, rather than to do the opposite when alternatives are available?

Conclusion

My view on the issue remains unchanged in as much as. The skill of handwriting has been and will I believe, remain to be, an important skill and should not be removed from the school environment, now or in the future, regardless of technology or the advances made with it. Society needs to evolve with technology and mostly society has no choice in the matter. The pace of change is such that we are unable to know if there is always only benefit in that change.

I had replies from four other people and their input covered areas such as, schools reliance upon Government funding and the ongoing funding problems that can arise. Changes in Government policy and the funding level manipulations that have ongoing detrimental effects for students and teachers alike. Teachers and schools will be constantly needing to upgrade both their equipment and knowledge to keep pace with change and if history is anything to go by, they won’t be able to, due to a lack of funding. Equity issues between schools in different areas were highlighted.

The lack of basic maths and literacy skills of some has also been acknowledged and this was further discussed in other threads by myself and others

The reliance upon power was mentioned and the impact of any loss in power supply was acknowledged as an issue that others were well aware of and had obviously experienced. The difference in quality of supply between urban and rural areas in both power supply and internet connection quality was covered and how the difference in supply quality affected the ability to use the internet as effectively and access data as freely as those in urban areas.

The invasion upon our lives by technology and our overall lack of choice but to conform to a new way of doing things and our ever increasing reliance upon technology in all areas of our daily lives.

My opinion was asked on whether I saw advantages with both teachers and students using computers and some specific tasks that technology helped them perform to make writing both faster and easier. Reference to computer shortcuts (quick keys) and copy & pasting, editing and the advantages of not having to re write entire pieces of work was made and how this affected the thought process’s of the student and the length and quality of the work presented by students. Examples were given on how students showed interest in technology and used it in preference to handwriting and how the student saw technology as an advantage to them in the work they produced. Mention was also made of the different ways in which students learned to type and the advantage to them of being taught correctly.

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