This week I read two articles:
- “DIY Media: A Contextual Background and Some Contemporary Themes”– Lankshear and Knobel (2008)
- “Why Handwriting Is Still Essential in the Keyboard Age” – Perri Klass, M.D., The New York Times
“DIY Media: A Contextual Background and Some Contemporary Themes”
Before I started reading this article, I had a different understanding of the meaning of “DIY” (Do It Yourself). I often find myself browsing Pinterest and come across hundreds of DIY projects, most of which are aimed at crafty women that want to make something fun for their home or make something pretty to wear. For this reason, I was thankful as well as surprised when the chapter explained the origin of the DIY idea/phrase. I had no idea it originated in the 1950s and mostly referred to home repairs made by men! Either way, this explanation and the description of how DIY has evolved over time helped in my further understanding of DIY Media.
As a teacher, and an individual not exactly well versed in all things technology/media, I was pleased with this chapter. Right from the beginning the authors state that the desired audience is that of educators who wish to learn not only how to create media but also to become an insider in the groups that are experts at creating media. Additionally, the authors hope that educators are able to take what they learn and use it in the classroom to make connections to their students and make the learning more engaging. This is great!
Included in this introduction, and apparently throughout the book, is a section in each chapter that addresses how one can “learn by doing and create while learning.” This sentence really stuck out to me. Firstly, I think this is a great way to approach teaching people how to use new communication processes (such as media), and it is also the goal of every teacher. So, ideally, many of the people reading the chapter are able to use this method with their students in their classrooms.
Although this chapter is an introduction to the ideas covered in the book, I found it interesting and helpful in understanding the idea behind DIY Media.
“Why Handwriting Is Still Essential in the Keyboard Age”
In continuing my focus on Health/Nutrition, this week I chose to look at brain health and our use of technology.
To start this article, Klass brings up the “tendency to dismiss handwriting as a nonessential skill.” I have found myself in conversations with people who agree with this notion. My opinion, however, is more similar to the author of this article and the scientists behind several studies that show the importance of developing this skill.
In this article, several important factors were mentioned:
- learning to write engages the brain in a different way than typing on a keyboard
- students with “good early fin-motor writing skills in kindergarten did better later on in school”
- brain scans showing activity while reading indicate that process of reading may be related to motor process of forming letters
- previous study demonstrated that college students that used keyboard (computer) to take notes had a tendency to remember less content than those that hand-wrote their notes
Of course there are benefits to using a keyboard that need to always be kept in mind. For example proper use of a keyboard uses both hands which in turn uses both sides of the brain.
I think that the most important idea brought to light in this article was the call to create “hybrid writers.” Young children that learn to write and focus on strongly developing this skill, and eventually turn to adding the skill of typing. The motor skills that accompany the development of writing is not necessarily more important than the life skill of being able to effectively and efficiently communicate using a keyboard.