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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

January 16, 2014 at 7:00 AM

Education and technology: The value of modern skills in the classroom

Illustration by Donna Grethen / Op Art

Unplugging can be a good thing, but there’s still value in some tech

I thoroughly enjoyed your article on Issaquah High School students unplugging from technology for three straight days [“Dump your cellphone? High-school students to unplug for three days,” Education Lab, Jan. 14].

First, I think this is a great idea not only because the younger generation has become so reliant on technology but also because, like Claudia Rowe wrote, it allows them to see how it was like for their parents to attend school and the ways in which they were forced to interact face to face.

Although I completely agree that texting should be limited or completely removed from the educational sphere, I would like to point out that other technologies, including the Internet, should remain very prominent in youths’ lives today. I feel this way because almost everything that current youths will have to do in the future to make connections, get jobs and more will involve current technologies.

If students are not able to surf the Internet for research, use Microsoft products such as Excel and PowerPoint, and effectively send emails and keep contacts, then ultimately they will not be able to keep up with the times.

George Robert Howard, Bellingham

Teach real-world skills in school

As a parent and grandparent of children in the public school system, I am extremely disillusioned with the pace of educational changes [“Targeting education: Washington state legislative priorities for 2014,” Opinion, Jan. 4].

Most public schools no longer teach handwriting or typing, now called cursive and keyboarding. Being able to communicate is critical to success, and today’s students lack skills in writing, spelling, grammar and efficient typing.

Far too many are dropping out, and far too many graduates are not able to submit a proper resume or successfully complete an application. Today’s youths spend hours on keyboards on all types of high-tech devices, but the schools no longer teach this basic skill.

With the leaps in technology, money spent on outdated textbooks would be better spent on iPads for all, as some enlightened school districts provide. Is geometry and algebra really required to function in society today? Or do students just need to know basic mathematic concepts and where to find the answers to larger questions?

Are today’s educators asking the right questions and making appropriate changes? It seems that curriculas have not kept pace with reality.

Brenda Bogdanovich Berlin, Shoreline

Comments | More in Education, technology | Topics: Issaquah High School

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