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Debate Topic #3

Topic #3: Schools should no longer teach skills that can be easily carried out by technology (e.g., cursive writing, multiplication tables, spelling)?

The groups did a great job of this debate! I can see both sides of the debate, but am still on the side of needing to learn the fundamentals and basics before taking on the harder tasks. You have to walk before you run, you have to get your feet wet before you swim. If we don’t need to teach printing or cursive, then does that mean we should skip typing lessons too??

I asked both groups a question about self-driving vehicles which sparked a great conversation and a few direct messages saying “Good one!” … Does a driver need to be able to have the basic skills of operating a motorized vehicle before being able to operate a self-driving one? My car has lane assist, pre-collision stuff, and radar cruise control, but if I am not paying attention to what is happening, there are many complications that can arise that could be very dangerous and/or life-threatening.

I think the key to this debate is there are good ages for both “old school” and technology integration in the classroom. As I just mentioned on Kat’s blog, the use of cursive and keyboards do not need to exist in vacuums excluded from each other. I feel that education allows people to be good and bad at both concepts. What is wrong with giving a Mad Minute and then having students jump on Mathletics, KnowledgeHook, or IXL for more supplemental learning?

I think about my students that THRIVE in Arts Ed, and the others that thrive in other areas like PE or Science. We teach it all. Students can grab on to what they really enjoy and appreciate.

Photo by Ivan Samkov on

When giving students the option of doing an assignment with pen and paper or typing it up on our devices, I would say that 90% submit work done in MS Word, but that 10% just love writing and expressing on paper. Why not allow both?? Go back to the self-driving car for a second. While the self-driving car concept is awesome, there are still instances where you will NEED to know how to drive when technology doesn’t quite work the way we need (take, for instance, Saskatchewan’s crazy winter driving needs!)

Photo by Harsch Shivam on

Today, I was doing a very high-level, difficult, and procedure-based Arts Ed. assignment and I was amazed at some of the lack of fine motor skills my grade 7&8s had when cutting, gluing, measuring, and colouring. It was a great assignment and they ultimately did really well… but some of my elite students that submit crazy good work using a laptop really flopped on this assignment (which is both a positive and negative).

How do you balance the use of tech and traditional means of education in your classroom? I am nowhere near perfect, but work through these trials and tribulations everyday. Leave a thought!


7 thoughts on “Debate Topic #3

  1. Oh no, Dalton! After reading your post, I think that I credited the idea of the self-driving car to Nicole W. I apologize, and will fix it in my post! I think that stayed in my brain because she elaborated on having one. I for sure will fix that, but please know that I am not trying to discredit you in anyway lol.

    But yes, that was a great example and really helped some people put the debate to a ‘real-life’ example. That was awesome! I have to say that it was a really good example for me too, and helped guide my reflection for this week. So thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Dalton –

    I am with you, in pondering what the correct balance between new school and old school is. Similarly, I believe that there is definitely a place for both. Just because we now have cars, doesn’t mean we don’t use bikes anymore. There are occasions when it makes way more sense to push some pedals and other times where the car is required. While cars obviously dominate North American life, we have not completed abandoned the older modes of transportation. As you alluded to with the Mad Minutes, Mathletics, IXL, etc., there are, and should be multiple ways of learning and doing.

    As for driving skills, I think we will always need those skills. I think of the aviation industry where much of a flight is guided by “auto-pilot”, however, all the pilots know how to fly the plane at all stages of flight (or at least I hope).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I really hope that pilot can fly the plane if all technology shuts down. Technology is great, until it isn’t! We have new tools at our disposal, it would be silly to solely rely on them, or write them off completely! Thanks for the comment!


  3. Great read Dalton – Balance. That seems to be the key to life – Just like not eating crazy amounts of sugar or spending too much time on the couch. The children we teach need to be shown several paths to follow to allow them to pick the path that feels right to them.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yes, I totally agree Dalton, we need to give students choice. Essentially they do need those skills then can supplement with technology. I love your example of students cutting and gluing. If we don’t teach those skills, what do we replace them with? I don’t think tech is quite ready to replace some of these skills. Good summary, Dalton!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Was a tricky one, for sure. I know I threw a wrench into your debate by mentioning self-driving cars and still have the skills to actually know how to drive the thing lol. Your group did a great job of diving into it and making it work for your debate. What a difficult debate to have. Thanks for an engaging class!


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