Friday, April 29, 2011

Is Cursive Really a 21st Century Skill ?

The Case for Cursive
NY Times: 4.27.11 by Katie Zezima

The sinuous letters of the cursive alphabet, swirled on countless love letters, credit card slips and banners above elementary school chalk boards are going the way of the quill and inkwell. With computer keyboards and smartphones increasingly occupying young fingers, the gradual death of the fancier ABC’s is revealing some unforeseen challenges.

Might people who write only by printing — in block letters, or perhaps with a sloppy, squiggly signature — be more at risk for forgery? Is the development of a fine motor skill thwarted by an aversion to cursive handwriting? And what happens when young people who are not familiar with cursive have to read historical documents like the Constitution?

Jimmy Bryant, director of Archives and Special Collections at the University of Central Arkansas, says that a connection to archival material is lost when students turn away from cursive. While teaching last year, Mr. Bryant, on a whim, asked students to raise their hands if they wrote in cursive as a way to communicate. None did.

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Students nationwide are still taught cursive, but many school districts are spending far less time teaching it and handwriting in general than they were years ago, said Steve Graham, a professor of education at Vanderbilt University. Most schools start teaching cursive in third grade, Professor Graham said. In the past, most would continue the study until the fifth or sixth grades — and some to the eighth grade — but many districts now teach cursive only in third grade, with fewer lessons.

“Schools today, we say we’re preparing our kids for the 21st century,” said Jacqueline DeChiaro, the principal of Van Schaick Elementary School in Cohoes, N.Y., who is debating whether to cut cursive. “Is cursive really a 21st-century skill?” READ MORE !

Mourning the Death of Handwriting
Time: August 2009

Tossing the Script: The End of the Line for Cursive?
ABC News: January 2011

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Google Blogger: Broken Unusable

Google’s “Simple-to-use interface” on Blogger hasn’t worked since about March 28, 2011. Every New Post is automatically formatted as a paragraph –and there’s usually a space of 2-3 lines between more than 1 paragraph. The result: Blogger looks ugly Blogger is quite useless Blogger is currently a disservice to readers, followers and those of us who blog. I haven’t posted a single post about literacy or libraries since March 28. Google has not explained or addressed this problem When is Google Blogger going to FIX THIS ? IS Google Blogger going to FIX THIS ? Suggestions that using Chrome, Firefox, etc. is a solution -NOT ! Suggestions that the ‘ Updated Editor ‘ is a solution – NOT ! -the Updated Editor has been and continues to be AWFUL, AWFUL, AWFUL . Explorer worked fine as of March 28th. The “ Old Editor “ worked fine as of March 28th. It is April 13 and still nothing works.