The Final Reflection
As I look back through my first semester in college I want to reflect on what I feel I did well and what items helped to do well. Specifically English 1103, which has provided a lot of tools and resources to help me achieve success. What I believe helped improve my skills was the ability to rejuvenate my long hand writing skills through the drafting process, scrabble Fridays, and maintaining a blog.
Writing long hand is nowadays seen as a skill of the past. With the emergence of computers and the convenience of typing long assignments more quickly with the help of endless information, it is clear why people make that assumption. I also made that assumption, until I started the English 1103 course. Throughout the course I learned the importance of being able to turn off the computer and put pen to paper. One specific way it helped me was being able to put all my thoughts down without having the ease of the delete button. What that did was allow me to go back and look at what I wrote and go off that even if I didn’t find it useful at the time. As I quoted in my midterm reflection , “the brain remembers and understands more. This also allows for the brain to be more creative in writing because of the slower pace.” (qtd. in The Benefits of Handwriting vs Typing.) I still believe this to be true because devices cause me more distraction. The more the distraction, the more difficult it is for me to concentrate on what I want to write which leads to either rushing or putting together a basic paper.
Much like in the first half of the semester, scrabble Fridays continue to be a big source of help in my development as a writer. One way it helps specifically is as a stress reliever. During the process of writing big papers it’s very relieving to have a word play day instead of working on the essay. Scrabble specifically gives me the mental break while also allowing me to use my critical thinking skills to assemble the words that can get the highest points. Another way it helps is, using the dictionary, I develope a larger vocabulary and better spelling skills. Knowing that if a word is spelled wrong can lead to loss points or a missed turn, it makes it more important to spell the word right. Just like Claire Legeron says in the Fox Magazine, “Players’ spelling skills can advance at a rapid pace when playing Scrabble regularly because not only do they practice their own spelling, but they also learn from up to three other people’s words.”
The last big item that helped me improve my writing skills is being required to maintain a blog. Maintaining a blog has allowed writing to become more fun. The way it does that is through the ability to share what you’re writing, not just with your teacher, but everyone who wants to read it online. It makes your writing feel more important and valuable. It also makes sharing what you want to write easier. I have used my blog not only for school assignments but also for writing about things that interest me. For example I wrote an article on why I think the Knicks will finish as the first seed. I believe that without the blog I would have no reason to write such an article and post it. It has allowed me to want to write more, thus improving my skills outside of the classroom.
The first semester of college has provided me with a lot of tools to help improve all parts of my life. Specifically in English I have been able to learn the truth about writing long hand that I would have never known, develop simple spelling and critical thinking skills in a fun stress free way, and actually make writing long papers fun. Before this class I always saw writing as just another part of life that is boring and tedious, but this class not only developed my writing skills but also developed the way I view literature and writing. The skills I have learned in this class will not only follow me through college, but also throughout the rest of my life.
Legeron, Claire. June 5, 2020. 4 benefits you can get from playing scrabble. https://thefoxmagazine.com/dreaming-bigger/4-benefits-you-can-get-from-playing-scrabble/
Gupta, Arnav. Midterm Reflection
Blogs vs. Term Papers
Matt Richtel, in “Blogs vs. Term Papers,” brings up a highly debated subject, should students be leaving the academic research paper for a blog post. The beginning part of the article is taken up by Cathy N. Davidson, an English professor at Duke, at the time of the hiring, who favors the blog. She argues that a blog is a better way of sharing information and is something that is enjoyable for the students. Some would also argue that blogs are a way of the future and it is time to adapt. On the other side, William H. Fitzhugh, author of the Concord Review, says there is no question that writing is being murdered, but believes blogs are not the answer. He thinks that kids should read more and stick to “old literacy.” “Old literacy” refers to anything not on a digital platform, like hardcopies of books and newspaper articles along with writing with a pencil and not on a digital device. Andrea A. Lunsford ,the director of writing for Stanford, strives to figure out what part of the old to keep and how to incorporate the new. She has collected 16,000 writing samples from 189 students in six years, and believes students are more empowered by new literacy. She says, “ They love writing for an audience, engaging with it” (qtd. In Richtel.) She has students write a fifteen page paper, then use that to build websites/ powerpoint presentations. This shows how both old and new literacy can be incorporated into a lesson plan. The question should not be about either, but should be how to incorporate both writing styles so students can benefit from both.
I believe the way to solve the problem is to incorporate both styles of literacy. One method is to have students write out rough drafts and then type them later, hence practicing both skills of writing and typing. Instead of a rough draft being typed, writing “long hand” can help students achieve more critical thinking. Since writing long hand is more tedious and requires more time and effort, “the brain remembers and understands more. This also allows for the brain to be more creative in writing because of the slower pace”( qtd. in The Benefits of Handwriting vs Typing). Typing also becomes an advantage in this method because after the rough draft is revised, it is faster to type its more formal and finished version. Another method is to do what Professor Andrea A. Lunsford has done, which is to have students write their term papers and then use those to build informative powerpoint presentations. This way the students are getting the practice of writing while also being able to interact with the information in a more fun way.
If it were up to me I would use the method that was first presented. Like Professor Andrea A. Lunsford said, “ Blogs are an easier way of sharing information” (qtd in Richtel). Since we are in the digital age it is important that we adapt to the times, but as William H. Fitzhugh says, “ Writing is being murdered. But the solution isn’t blogs, the solution is more reading. We don’t pay taxes so kids can talk about themselves and their home lives,” (qtd. In Richtel”). Both these quotes show how both styles should be incorporated. Blogs don’t mean that the information presented on them are any less important than a term paper, and term papers are not just an outdated form of literacy, both need to be used so that we can adapt and maintain skills that are necessary for the future.
The fact that Matt Richtel, Blogs vs. Term Papers, which was written in 2012 shows how
we need to do both now. Since 2012 new literacy has become even more prevalent in the world, it is key that the next generations do not go on without learning both ways. No matter how advanced technology gets it is always important to practice and maintain skills from the past while also being able to maintain up to date skills. The term paper provides a more structured, thoughtful/creative process to writing, while the blog adds presentability, and the ability to share it easier. The idea is to improve and advance writing, not to replace/ get rid of parts of it. It should not be Blogs vs Term Papers, but instead Blogs and Term Papers.
National Pen. https://www.pens.com/blog/the-benefits-of-handwriting-vs-typing/
Richtel, Matt. Jane 22, 2012, New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/22/education/edlife/muscling-in-on-the-term-paper-tradition.html
Writing an essay that is long has never been hard, but writing an essay that is meaningful and impactful is. During the first weeks of the college writ/public life course at High Point University I have developed a better understanding of proper processes and techniques through the lesson plans that are taught. Those lessons include in depth studies of the readings we have in class, collaborating with teammates on wordplay day, and by writing longhand.
The in depth studies of readings we have in class help improve my overall thinking skills. Unlike most readings, I find the ones we have discussed in class rather interesting and being able to write thoughts and underline important information helps in processing the information for later understanding. They also help my writing because they make finding information easier. In my work Blogs vs. Term Papers I quote straight from William H. Fitzhugh by saying, “Writing is being murdered…the solution is more reading.” I find that statement accurate because this part of the lesson plan allows us to think and annotate a text with our bare hands and not a computer that can distract us during the process. My natural response would be that using devices is helpful and easier, but being able to read and understand what he is saying through practicing it helped to change my opinion. Specifically I have been able to develop opinions based on information that I would not have paid attention to if the process was different.
Another part of the lesson I find to be helpful is the weekly scrabble games. The scrabble games from a distant look to be nothing but a game, but in close you can tell we are deeply using our thinking skills and imagination to put letters into words. This part has helped tremendously in vocab improvement and being able to think of ways to score the most points per word. It has also helped us to become very creative in the way we place and use the letters we have. We have to think about ways to get points but also possibly set us up for more points in later turns. For example I have learned that spreading the board is very key in trying to win the game. Being able to spread the board allows for more possible places to put words and also allows for bigger words to be used. It also gives you a chance to get more of the double word or triple letter squares. All this is a process of using our brain power in different ways yet fun ways.
Lastly I believe writing longhand has helped my writing improve since I have arrived at HPU. As, (qtd. in The Benefits of Handwriting vs Typing), “the brain remembers and understands more. This also allows for the brain to be more creative in writing because of the slower pace.” I believe this to be true because allowing you to write long hand allows you to think more about what you want to write vs distractions that can be presented when going online. Whenever I write online I tend to get distracted which makes zoning back in harder and it also makes finishing the assignment on time harder. One of the final things I like about writing long hand is that it allows you to write down all your thoughts without the ease of erasing them. One of the habits I got into was whenever I felt something didn’t work I quickly deleted it. That may be helpful 9/10 times but I find that one time I deleted it, I could have used it later on and it takes me a while to remember and write it all back.
Using these techniques that we have been practicing for a few months have been very helpful. Being able to use both styles of literacy in learning has helped me to improve my writing even more, than if I only used ones. I believe that the articles helped me the most and then writing long hand, but implementing activities such as the scrabble game make learning more interesting and it allows me to engage in it more. I believe these lessons are the best way for me to improve my writing now and in the future.
Elementary School Writing
In elementary school the worst assignment always came towards the end of the year. For some it was the end of the year test, but for me it was the end of the year writing assignment. The assignment which would be 2-3 pages in length, would take up all of the day, even if you were finished early, and made it the worst day to go to school. The second worst day would be when we practiced doing this assignment the days before. At least as soon as we were done we got to move on to something else and not sit there in boredom. Although I did not like these tests, there were some good things that came from having done them. For example I became better at thinking about what I’m going to say, and how I’m going to say it. I also got better at spelling words that I found especially hard. The one major issue that came out of it though, besides the pain of writing it, was that I hated writing long hand and never wanted to do it again. It was not until this class that made me realize how important writing long handed is and it made me possibly miss out on doing better on some writing assignments if i had started off writing with a pencil. I guess those writing assignments were not as meaningless as I thought they were.
What are some of the effects of living in a technological world?
Our electronic devices have become our family members. Over the years we have developed a bond that no one can break. They know all our favorite songs, what we want to buy, wake us up, and even tell us what we should wear. Technology has helped us in a lot of ways such as making communication easier, access to information, and improved education. Technology is not all good though, as its side effects can cause too much dependency, increases depression and loneliness, and makes us value human workers even less.
The ease of communication, one of the many features of technology we use everyday. Specifically on the phone which has many forms of communication including, facetime, messaging, emailing, snapchat, instagram, ect. Messaging has become quicker and easier allowing there to be many benefits. One of those benefits is it widens the area in which you can talk to someone. Before someone would have to call up and talk to multiple operators to finally reach who they want to call, just to be charged insane prices per minute. Now with a few clicks you can call whoever you want to call, wherever they are, and talk for hours with no extra charge. Another benefit is businesses can reach larger audiences and make more profits. They are also able to fix problems and make quicker decisions. For example the CEO of Goldman Sachs, Harit Talwar, recalls a time during the beginning of the pandemic when he realized customers will need help paying off some of their loans. He specifically says, “ The real news is not that we did this, but that we took just 72 hours from the time we realized customers needed our help to when we rolled it out.” Without the advancement of communication this process would have taken a lot longer, and in this instance a lot of people could have suffered financially. The ease of communication also creates a health benefit. Studies show the ease of meeting someone online limits social anxiety. The National Institute of Health describes social anxiety as, “ a strong fear of humiliation and embarrassment during exposure to unfamiliar people or possible scrutiny by others.” They continue to describe how technology can fix that by saying, “Communicating online may be considered as such a safety behavior that allows those with social anxiety to communicate with others, while minimizing the potential threat and associated anxiety.” They concluded by saying, “For socially anxious individuals, communicating with others on the internet in a text-based manner may allow them to avoid aspects of social situations they fear, while at the same time partially meet their needs for interpersonal contact and relationships.” In simpler terms communicating online for people who suffer from social anxiety, helps ease the pressure and the stress of having to create relationships with potential backlash.
Technology also helps bring easier access to information. For personal consumption there are many ways you can get the information you want to hear from blogs and wiki pages to podcasts. These new forms of spreading information allow for people to find anything they need easier. They also allow information to be spread in a more fun way. Andrea A. Lunsford, a director of writing at Stanford, has collected thousands of writing pieces over the years and knows what makes students more passionate about their writing…blogs. She says, “ They love writing for an audience, engaging with it” (qtd. In Richtel.)
Education has improved vastly with technology, and without it we might not have had any school over the past year and a half. Online education, which has become very prevalent recently, has been a big step for reaching larger audiences. For example people in South America can listen in to a lecture being taught in Germany online without having to move. It allows education to be available to those who might not be able to access it. It also improves education because the access to technology provides accelerated learning, practice for difficult assignments, and it allows them to gain skills needed for the workplace. According to the Pew Research Center, “92% of teachers said that the internet has a major impact on their ability to access content, resources, and materials” (qtd. In Top 5 benefits of technology in the classroom by Walden University.) Not only do the teachers get help in assisting their students but, “According to a CompTIA study, nine out of 10 students indicated that using technology in the classroom would help prepare them for the digital future” (qtd. In Top 5 benefits of technology in the classroom by Walden University.) The statistics show that education and technology not only make the learning environment fun, it makes it better for both teachers and students.
Although advancements in technology are good, they can bring some downside. One of those downsides is that it causes too much dependency. You might not think this is not a problem because we always have our devices near us whenever we go anywhere, but if phones or computers were to stop working instantly for some reason we would be in trouble. The average global user spends about 390-400 minutes online. While some of this time can be used gathering information, this amount of time in the long run causes memory loss and loss of natural skills. Studies show how overuse of covenant apps can lead us to forget how to do things without them. For example an app that can tell you how much water you should drink can overtime lead you to forget how much water you should drink. Studies also show that too much dependency can lead to a lowered IQ. One study showed that a teen is exposed to 858 mJ/kg of radiation per day when their average call time is 10.6 minutes. Over time this can seriously hinder our brain function and lead to memory loss.
Another issue with technology is that it causes high levels of depression and anxiety amongst its users. Depression from technology use is also in direct correlation with dependency. Jean Twenge, a researcher who studies depression in young teens, says, “It’s an excessive amount of time spent on the device. So half an hour, an hour a day, that seemed to be the sweet spot for teen mental health in terms of electronic devices. At two hours a day there was only a slightly elevated risk. And then three hours a day and beyond is where you saw the more pronounced increase in those who had at least one suicide risk factor.” What this also means is that social media, which is what teens spend most of their time on, is causing a lot of the problems. Since social media is the highest use amongst teens on their devices, the more time spent on those devices leads to more time being spent on social media. As said by the Child Mind Institute, “ users who spend the most time on Instagram, Facebook and other platforms were shown to have a substantially (from 13 to 66 percent) higher rate of reported depression than those who spent the least time.” They also say ,“An increase in depression occurred in tandem with the rise in smartphone use.” Lastly they say, “ the connections social media users form electronically are less emotionally satisfying, leaving them feeling socially isolated.” All this information shows that as personal electronic devices become more prevalent, their long-term effects are seen now by users who are overusing them and gaining depression symptoms as a result. Social media may be the main reason causing such feelings but it is the new era of personal devices that is helping make it more common.
Another problem of living in the digital age is the value of human workers is decreasing. Especially in the United States being able to operate business cheaper and quicker is key to making profits and updated machines are able to do just that. Machines are able to do the same work that human workers can do, just faster and much cheaper. What this results in is human workers being left jobless or having to take lower paying jobs. An article written by MIT management says, “ The researchers found that for every robot added per 1,000 workers in the U.S., wages decline by 0.42% and the employment-to-population ratio goes down by 0.2 percentage points — to date, this means the loss of about 400,000 jobs. The impact is more sizable within the areas where robots are deployed: adding one more robot in a commuting zone (geographic areas used for economic analysis) reduces employment by six workers in that area.” They go on to say, “ Improvements in technology adversely affect wages and employment through the displacement effect, in which robots or other automation complete tasks formerly done by workers.” This is specifically shown in the auto industry where the most automation has taken place. The article says this about the auto industry, “ The automotive industry has adopted robots more than any other industry, the researchers write, employing 38% of existing robots with adoption of up to 7.5 robots per thousand workers.” This shows not only how very few robots can do the work of many workers, but also how industries like the auto industries are beginning to adapt and start even more automation leaving human workers out in the cold.
The digital age is a new era that the world has entered and along with it comes great advancements and difficult problems. Technology has helped us by making communication easier, access to information easier, and improved education a lot. Technology has also caused too much dependency, increased depression and loneliness, and makes us value human workers even less. A world without technology nowadays is unimaginable. Technology makes everything easier and more convenient yet it also leaves us frustrated and angry. As time goes on we will see even more effects of a Technological world, some negative and hopefully more positive.
Brown, Sara. July 29, 2020, MIT Management
DTE Staff. September 18, 2018, Down to Earth.
Miller, Caroline. Child Mind Institute
Richtel, Matt. Jane 22, 2012, New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/22/education/edlife/muscling-in-on-the-term-paper-tradition.html
Unknown. December 17, 2017. National Public Radio
Unknown. April 2013, US National Library of Medicine https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3650589/
Unknown author and date. Walden University