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Why bother learning to spell? Your smartphone can do it for you. Good grammar? That may have been useful 100 years ago, but nowadays, no one cares.
Believe it or not, those sentiments don’t come from a slacker student, but from a professor at Newcastle University in the U.K., according to this article posted on MailOnline, part of the London-based Daily Mail.
Professor Sugata Mitra said that mobile phones and other technology have replaced the need to teach spelling, grammar, and punctuation.
But are cryptic, auto-corrected, abbreviated phrases tapped-out on a phone equivalent to carefully composed, well-constructed sentences or paragraphs? And isn’t it important to know the difference? What happens to a society whose members have lost the ability to be eloquent, articulate, expressive, or even literate?
In this Los Angeles Times article, reporter Michael Hiltzik examines the pitfalls of online learning (which, in many schools, is beginning to replace honest-to-goodness education). “Anyone who has come into personal contact with an inspiring professor . . . knows that the experience can’t be reproduced by remote control,” Hiltzik says.
Or as Professor Christopher Newfield, who teaches English at UC Santa Barbara, points out in the Times piece, “Learning is not the same as watching TV or playing video games.”
Technology has made our lives easier in many ways, having taken over such tasks as balancing our checkbooks, booking airfare, and researching where to find the best pizza. But do we really want to turn over our ability to correctly communicate — or to think?
I’d love to hear your thoughts.
by Maryann Hammers