The time is long past when math teachers could simply ignore the existence of calculators. Now they must develop thoughtful relationships with these technologies.
Similarly, teachers will soon be forced to determine how much or how little writing via computerized dictation they prefer in their classes.
At issue, ultimately, is the value we see in more traditional means of writing, especially typing.
To what degree should we value the skill of typing in itself?
Should typing be understood as a valuable means of composition for its own sake, or as essentially interchangeable with any other means of producing text on a screen?
How important should it be for students to develop typing skills in a world where dictation technologies have become a widely-used alternative?
Are there advantages and drawbacks distinct to dictation that are relevant to pedagogy?
Dictation technologies will bring their own distinct benefits to writing instruction.
If the future of writing lies in dictation, then it would be important for teachers to help students refine their dictation-based writing skills.
Since individual students respond differently to different teaching styles, we may find that writing through dictation helps some students to learn composition skills better. Such technologies are already proving to be of assistance to visually impaired students.
Lessons that include writing through dictation may additionally train students’ speaking skills. That is, the activity of thoughtfully composing text through voice may have the added effect of helping students to become more thoughtful speakers.
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