From Creative to Corrupt: The Evolution of Life with Technology
An issue that matters to me is the replacement of traditional education by technology. I have learned in school through both writing on paper and through typing on a computer, and I learn much more when my work is handwritten. Some would say that this information may not be accurate for all cases, but the control that technology is having over the average human’s life nowadays is astounding and can be demonstrated through the reliance on a screen to complete simple everyday functions. People spend hours of the day in front of a screen, whether it be texting, playing a game, surfing the web, typing on a computer, or watching television.
They could be making much better uses of their time by reading a book or going outside. When I was in fourth grade, my teacher insisted that my class needed to writeour narratives by hand, while every other class typed theirs in the computer lab. She informed us that there are psychological studies proving that you will better remember and comprehend what you are writing if you do it by hand in comparison to typing. This claim of hers intrigued me enough to do my own research on the topic. I encountered an article published in The New York Times that seconds the statement of my knowledgeable teacher.
Our society’s handwriting in general has been deteriorating as computers gain more control over our day to day lives as well. Just last week when we were taking our PSAT tests, our proctor told us to sign our names in cursive, and I watched four students in my class inform him that they did not know how to write in cursive. I found this appalling because I so vividly remember all those nights in 2nd grade that I spent at my desk writing my cursive letters 20 times each for my writing homework. The fact that students are losing the simple ability to write in cursive is a clear indicator that we are relying too much on the ability to simply press buttons on a computer. Not to mention the endless ways that technology can be utilized for cheating in the classroom setting. Although student’s grades may not change sufficiently over time as technology usage increases, their understanding of what they learn surely decreases.
I’ve done some research in the past to back this claim and it is true that not needing to undergo the process of thinking and activating the brain to get the desired result will lessen your understanding of the results since all that was required to access them was a click of a button to receive an instant answer. Another personal experience I had that makes me feel even more strongly about this issue is that when I went to get an eye exam at the optometrist, I was informed that my vision is 20/20, but that since I look at a screen for more than 6 hours per day, it was recommended that I get glasses that reflect blue light and have a bifocal so that my eyesight does not deteriorate over time with my excessive use of screens. What infuriates me most about this is that the majority of my screen usage is not due to personal pleasure, but instead through looking at a screen constantly for the entirety of each school day to be meeting the requirement of my teacher’s lesson plans. Whether it be through typing notes on a computer, watching a class video, or viewing a powerpoint, every class that I am enrolled in except for Pre-Calculus incorporates technology to nearly every single class period. I think this is one reason why I love math so much, because it is so difficult to replace with technology.
It requires thinking and writing out a problem via hand, and there are minimal ways that a computer can assist with this, or at least efficiently. In the big picture, I believe that reliance on technology is just making us a lazier and less self-sustaining species. We rely on Google to gather information for us and not explain the process that goes into receiving these results, we rely on a keyboard to write our papers, we rely on online planners to keep our work on task and reminded of what to do each day, and we rely on cell phone apps to keep us entertained. What would happen if all of the computers and phones in the world just stopped working? Humans would act frantically, like blind mice, in a state of confusion due to the lack of this tool that has become so crucial to their everyday lives. I know this from personal experience because I see my peers get their cell phones taken away temporarily by their parents as a form of punishment, and I see how much this irritates them and how lost they seem without their beloved device.
Centuries ago, humans would rely on pen and paper to write for them. We mastered the art of having good handwriting and knowing how to spell. Ah yes, spell check. If I were to choose one aspect of this issue that frustrates me the most, it would without a doubt be spell check. Ever since I could read and write, spelling has always been my favorite skill taught in school. I was an avid participant in spelling bees, and loved the simple pleasure that came from memorizing the pronunciation of a word and what letters join together to build this word.
For this reason, spell check makes me incredibly frustrated. Humans are developing to be sufficiently worse at spelling as time goes on because of the increase of keyboard usage. I could write “paycience” on a keyboard, and it would automatically correct to “patience”. In no way should a student be under the belief that it is acceptable to spell the word patience as paycience! As a pedant speller and high school student, I can confidently state my belief that I think that the American education system would be much more successful with the removal of computers for all students. For future options to help ease this issue, I think that schools should stop issuing students personal laptops and return to the methods of taking tests, writing notes, etc. with paper and pen.
I believe that education rates, eyesight, vocabulary, and spelling accuracywould all begin to skyrocket while cheating rates and reliance on technology would begin to fade. Though this issue is growing to be more pressing, ditching our reliance on technology can allow us to return to our traditional methods of success.