Too much technology?

As educators we are always striving to help students be a well rounded participants in society.  We have to look at balancing many different concerns in education, including the global society we live in and educating the entire child.  I have found in my experience that it is very easy to get wrapped up in using technology in all disciplines and neglecting other crucial aspects to a child’s development.  I LOVE web 2.0 tools and teaching my students to blog and be useful members of a global society, but it is also important that we teach children basic skills such as writing and cutting on a line!

I know it sounds intuitive but I think as technology driven educators we must balance where we use technology and where we decide pencil, paper and scissors are also a good choice.  This week in class I gave my students the option of using mind-mapping technology or using paper and colored pencils to create a mind map about nouns.  I was surprised when about 7 of my students chose to use paper and pencils.  We are also working on a writing assignment right now, journaling as a slave on the underground railroad.  My students asked if I was going to allow them to use computers and I explained that computers didn’t exist in the 1800’s and they were all disappointed!  However, as an educator I know the important of students being able to write in pencil on paper and cut out an object on the lines!

I wonder if research will come and prove that maybe too much technology too early is developmentally inappropriate for younger students.  I know my fifth-graders do not have very good scissor skills and the ability to color inside the lines.  I haven’t just seen that pattern in one class, it has been multiple classes over multiple years.  I think in our curriculum driven society we lose fact that these students still need help in basic fine motor skills.  I think as educators we need to plan our technology use and the lack of technology use, intentionally as we look at educating the entire child.  As much as it pains me to say we should be unplugged from technology for a bit each day, I think we need to offer our students a balance of technology with the basic cutting and pasting – with glue and paper – not ctrl X and ctrl V.