From books to tablets: the new challenge

Hello! I’m sure that you have heard the following headline on news: “Finland will stop teaching handwriting to children and they will start to teach them typing”.

I have to be sincere and tell you that the first time I heard it I thought “that’s a joke and it can’t be true, how we can’t teach children how to write with pen and paper? Are the Finnish teachers crazy this morning?”.

Then I start thinking deeply about it and that it could be a reasonable option to change our methodology of learning how to write because we do almost everything with our “smart-devices”, so practically we don’t need to write in a paper. Also in schools, nowadays with the ICT in class we don’t need to spend lot of time making photocopies to class, we just find a webpage and the classroom projector do all the effort for us showing it to all the students, and to fill it, the students only have to stand up and touch with their finger the digital whiteboard and write the correct answer.

Finnish government said that they will make that change in September 2016 (for the 2016/2017 course). Maybe in Spain we need more time to apply it in a school. First of all, we need to apply at all the ICT in schools because not all the classes have one and not all the teachers know how to use it correctly, so first we need to improve this.

When we had done it, the next step could be the tablets for every child, so they can do their homework at home or in class in their tablet, so they don’t have to carry to class and go back home with a lot of books and notebooks, they only need their tablet!

Then, the third step could be the one the Finnish people will do in 2016: starting to teach children how to write in their tablets rather than in paper. Because they will use more those devices than paper at that year.

Apart from the children learning, we have to think that how much words do we write in a paper and how much do we write in our “smart-devices”. If you think on it, I’m sure that we spend more time writing in our smartphone or in our computer than writing in a paper. For example:

  • We can write our grocery list in our Google Keep app rather than in a sticky note
  • Create a mind map using the Evernote app rather than doing it a paper
  • Talk to our cousin in France by the Skype app rather than sending him a letter
  • Write a post to tell the world our thinking about something using a WordPress blog rather than publishing it in a newspaper

Do you imagine the next step of the education to implement the ICT in schools? Do you imagine a world without school bags? And without “physical” schools? We can imagine, but there is something that will never disappear: teachers.

4 thoughts on “From books to tablets: the new challenge

  1. Hi Jaime,

    I have to say that, although I found your post quite interesting, it doesn’t arise positive feelings on me. And I will explain myself better. I consider it a pity that Finnish pupils won’t be using handwriting (or maybe the piece of news is incomplete, or I got it wrong).

    Some studies have shown the importance of handwriting in terms of cognitive development, like the ones you can find supporting this article from The New York Times (2014):

    There is also another article (2010) published by the Wall Street Journal, that supports the benefits of handwriting in terms of neural connections improvement.

    Maybe the Finnish idea includes handwriting using an ICT device, and it would be different. Not perfect for a pen-and-paper lover, but closer to what is considered as brain-friendly.

    Nevertheless, thanks very much for sharing the information with us, it is always interesting to read you.

    Have a nice week,

    • Hi Loli!
      I agree with your comments to my post, because days after publish it, I see that the news that come from Finland was a little bit changed and they didn’t tell us all the truth about it.
      In Finland they teach 2 types of handwriting: one called “printer handwriting” which the common one; and the “traditional handwriting” which is less used by the students, and this is the one which is going to be as an optative subject outside the compulsory one which will continue being the printer one, so the Finnish students didn’t stop writing with pen and paper, they just leave the useless method away and “replace” it with the digital method of writing.

      Here you have the link to the ABC article that talks about the mistake:

      Thanks for comment on my post because it makes me think more about the topic and find the mistake.

      Have a nice week,

  2. Hello Jaime,

    I have to say that I also find that your post is very interesting and I wanted to comment about my feelings about it.

    On one hand, I agree with you in the fact that when I first heard this new I thought it would be a good step to make in schools. It is true that we are using more and more technological devices instead of “pen and paper” and, therefore, schools should take this into account and develop the way in which they teach their lessons.

    Other advantage that I see about implementing these devices instead of using the normal handwriting is that, as I have seen with my own experience, it is much easier to “erase” things in a Word document than doing it with your normal rubber and it takes you also less time to do it.

    But… is it really an advantage that the future generations write EVERYTHING in devices and they forget about doing it with their pens and pencils?

    I have to say that after thinking more deeply about this topic, I am more in Loli’s perspective, I also feel a little bit sad about it. I am sure that we have to take into account that the world is changing and we have to change with it, but I also think that we can not delete the positive things that we have.

    Thank you very much for sharing with us the information you have!

    • Hi Yolanda!
      I agree with you and with Loli about that this news makes me a little bit sad because students will lose the chance of handwriting and replace it by writing on a computer.
      I agree with you also in the advantages of writing on a computer because it is easier to delete the mistakes and you have so many advantages that you don’t have with handwriting (possibility of checking the grammar while you’re writing or keep your ideas clear), but I think that although we start to release that kind of writing, we have to continue teaching how to do it properly because it is the base to other multiple things and skills. For example, taking a pen with your fingers is part of the “fine mobility” (in Spanish, motricidad fina).

      Thank you very much for your comment and have a nice week!

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