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[Gadgets] My Turn: Tech gadgets and the classroom


Douma

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The recent column “Chalk Talk: An AI earthquake in eduction” (Recorder, Jan. 21), betrays the peculiar assumption that whatever new toy tech has trundled out has to be worked into the nation’s classrooms whether we like it or not. This nearly automatic reflex has skewed education funding wildly in the past two decades, a time that also has seen a steady erosion of academic achievement. While it would need detailed study to determine how complicit tech is in this decline, it is clear that tech in the classroom has utterly failed to bring about any improvement in the education of American children. And yet shoehorning the newest gadget into the classroom continues to be a trend few seem even to question, much less buck. 

Generating ideas: Wait a minute, that is the fundamental work of good writing, digging up the what or the why of what it is you need to say. If you don’t have any ideas of your own, you have no reason, no motivation to write. To write well, to want to write well, you have to be invested in what you are saying. Finally, ideas come free to anyone attentive enough to read, or listen, or talk, or even just ponder all of which can be done without touching the school budget.

Provide inspiration for their own writing: That’s why we (hopefully) assign literature to students, stuff other people have written that has proved challenging and inspiring in the past and that offers them the same today. There are huge volumes of literature to pick from and most schools actually still have access to them you know, in their libraries … already paid for. 

Suggesting revisions: ChatbotGPT spits out the revision “here, this is better.” Appallingly, this trains children not to argue or defend what they have written. Even if revision is clearly called for, students still need the opportunity, and should be trained to expect the opportunity, to be given a “why” when a correction/revision is indicated by the teacher. With ChatbotGPT, the student is left with the option of shrugging, “whatever,” and adopting the possibly dubious or even ludicrous AI revision or turning in the paper as is. If the teacher sees a problem, then the two can work things out but, in the interim, ChatbotGPT has wasted everyone’s time.

Suggesting names, situations of characters, and settings: Again, what is surrendered here is the very work of imagination, inspiration and even passion that generates the best writing, and, worst, forfeits genuine ownership of the end product. Writing well, and being able to think carefully enough to do so, is a skill that must be given steady hard practice, and careful, prompt feedback. So how about next writing assignment, students receive a pad of paper, a pencil, and eraser and use class time to compose. This gives the teacher steady time to observe students at work and for students to have the teacher as a ready resource. It also opens class time for students to discuss the work of writing, to gripe and commiserate, but, finally, to delight in progress that they see in work that is indisputably theirs.

https://www.recorder.com/my-turn-Hussey-Chalk-Talk-Article-49674948

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