Should cursive writing be taught in schools?

Who uses cursive anymore? That’s for old people. This is the mental state of some of the students in the 21st century. As schools in North America have started phasing out the cursive writing lesson for students, there have been enormous amount of debates and discussions on whether the school systems are making the right choice or not.

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What is cursive writing anyway?

Cursive, also known as script or handwriting, is a style of writing in which the letters are joined and written in a flowing manner. I remember being taught how to write in cursive in elementary school, and coming from Korean and no english background I found this to be one of the coolest things I have ever seen. Learning the alphabet was hard enough, but learning to write it in cursive reached a new level of challenge. This style of writing is common in doctors notes and is used for the purpose of making writing faster. Cursive writing has been around and used in English before the Norman conquest, and have been extremely popular until technology started changing the way we live. 

Why are some schools phasing it out?

With the new technology on computers and the way we process, retain, edit information, most schools in North America have started phasing out their cursive writing skill lessons recently. It’s evident in most lecture halls in university: despite evidence suggesting that taking notes on laptops results in lower exam scores than taking notes by hand, almost all students take notes either on their laptops, tablets, or cellphones. Taking notes by hand is by far too inconvenient and unnecessary with the amount of technological options available nowadays. However, students are not the only ones not using handwriting. Adults and even seniors are getting accustomed to using social media sites such as Facebook, Skype, etc to communicate with each other. Say goodbye to getting handwritten birthday cards from your grandparents! As technology continues to exert more influence now than ever before, school systems are preparing their students for the future by replacing cursive writing lessons with computer and typing lessons instead. Is this a good idea? Is cursive writing a valuable tool in our society?

Yes to cursive!

Here are some reasons as to why I think cursive writing should be taught in schools:

– Develops motor skills. Learning to write in cursive activates a different part of your brain than learning to type or print, this is crucial because early education plays an important role in brain development. As well, children learn to use different hand muscles when learning cursive than print.

– It is a form of art. As more schools are cutting their funding for art programs, it is vital that students get exposed to as many different forms of arts as possible. Cursive writing has the potential to bring out a student’s inner creativity. 

– Needed to read historical documents. These documents are mostly written in cursive, and as an important piece of a country’s history, if students cannot read cursive how are they suppose to feel connected? 

These are only three reasons out of hundreds. I personally believe that cursive writing is an extremely important skill to master and learn at a young age. Printing is a part of everyone’s daily lives no matter how much technology takes over our world. Some schools have acknowledged their mistakes and have brought back cursive writing, which is a relief. My hope is for other schools to realize the importance of cursive writing and integrate it in their teaching.  

In a survey of 612 elementary school teachers in the United States, 67% of them said they plan on teaching cursive in the future. As well, 63% of teachers stated that they think cursive writing skills is important. This shines new light onto this topic where technology is proving to take over the world. What is your opinion? Do you think cursive writing should be taught in schools? 

Here is a video on third grade students speaking on their views on cursive writing

 

 

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Life without technology

What if you were challenged to live a week without any technology, could you do it? With social networking websites and search engines such as Google and Yahoo dominating the economic landscape, humans have come to depend (more than we should) on such technology for literally everything. 

What/who is Google?

Google might as well be an official word in the dictionary – oh wait! It is! The word is defined as using the Google search engine to obtain information on the World Wide Web. Not only is Google known for their main search engine, they are also one of the top leaders in the technology world, leading the new innovative driverless cars and the new google glasses. It is crazy to realize how one corporation can dominate and shape the culture we live in; Google has the power and the ability to change the way we interact with each other and how we live. 

The convenience of the Internet

Technology definitely has its ups and downs, the Internet has allowed us to live extremely comfortably with everything we need just one quick and easy click away. Online shopping is increasing at a rapid speed, and humans depend on Google for anything and everything including searching how to boil eggs (Yes..I’m guilty of this one). Why bother going through trial and error when you can do a quick search and find out how to do it in less than a minute? Professionals have come to the conclusion that technology has made humans lazy. It’s true though, one may never need to leave the house with all the right technology in the house. 

Our lives before Google

It’s hard to imagine our lives before Google became the “thing.” What did we do when we were curious about something? How did we manage to write a research paper? Back in those days we needed to use our brain and figure out on our own to fulfill our needs. In some cases, maybe we were better off in that era. People needed to see each other face to face to talk, leave their house to get things they needed, and actually visit the library to get the resources they needed. 

Check out this just for fun cartoon:

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Why do we depend on technology so much?

Almost everything we do in our daily lives has some connection to modern technology – whether we are using computers for working, texting a friend halfway around the world, or simply streaming a TV episode online. Our smartphones allow us to keep track of our daily schedules, provide directions to new places, keep us from being bored, and connect us to the virtual online world where anything is possible. With quick and easy access, no wonder humans are so dependent on technology. That’s it, the reason why we depend on these gadgets so much is because of their quick and easy access. With 58% of American adults owning a smartphone, humans have come to depend on our little sidekicks way too much than we should be. But come to think about it, living in such a fast paced society where everything needs to be done right away, our little sidekicks are always right beside us to provide us with everything we need. Obviously things aren’t the same as the olden days where everything was much slower and were under less pressure, and so humans have evolved with the ever changing times. Why bother asking another person when you can search everything you want to know with a phone right next to you right? 

In a study where 500 American college students were surveyed on studying without tech, 78% of them said they would not be able to study and 38% said they could not go past 10 minutes without checking their laptop, phone, etc. Going back to the beginning of this post, can YOU go a week without any technology? 

Here is a thought provoking video on what technology means in our lives

 

 

Pirates…piracy..huh?!

Let’s face it… I bet you everyone has been involved in some part of pirating at least once in their lives. If not, either you are an angel or just flat-out a liar. I am unfortunately guilty of this phenomenon that has been on the rise lately. But to be fair, going out to movies costs way too much and with Blockbuster and Rogers Video stores closing down, it’s hard to find movie rental places. I remember as a kid going on a little trip to Blockbuster was the highlight of my day, my sisters and I would choose 3 movies (because it was a deal) then get a couple of snacks and spend the night cuddled up under blankets watching and rewatching the movie as much as we could before we had to return it. Now, virtually everything is online – which makes it that much easier to download illegally.

When I hear the word pirates, the movie Pirates of the Caribbean come to mind. Piracy and pirates are very similar in that piracy is an act of robbery or criminal activity at sea, but it is a term used in people illegally downloading music, media, softwares, etc. With the rise in technology, the society has made it extremely easy to find anything and everything online. To put things into perspective, here are a couple scary stats:

1. 70% of people find nothing wrong in online piracy
2. $12.5 billion in economic losses each year due to piracy
3. $59 billion of softwares were illegally downloaded in 2010
4. 2/3 of torrents available online are illegal
5. An average iPod contains pirated music of $800
(http://www.go-gulf.com/blog/online-piracy/)

Now, what do we do about this?

The police are taking this issue seriously and many people have been arrested/charged due to pirating a content off the web. However, there are still a large number of people getting away with this crime – which a large percentage of these people don’t even see it as a crime. So then, what are our responsibilities and what can we do to stop this trend? I do admit to pirating and had no clue it was this intense; however, after researching this topic I feel guilty and ashamed of even taking part in such a crime. I think a lot of people are in the same boat – they do it because it’s convenient and everyone else is doing it. If everyone else is doing it why would they get caught? We need to increase the awareness of illegal downloading, whether it is using social media to grab your friends interest or simply not taking part in pirating. It may seem one person in the world doesn’t make that much of a difference, but although the outcome cannot be seen, it does make that 0.00001% difference, and anything is better than a 0. As well, I feel the authorities need to step up and hike up the fines, go after the websites, or just do anything to scare people off of pirating. They are the ones with power and the authority to make a difference.

Will you join me in boycotting illegal downloading?