government · slice of life · technology

Sometimes Pen & Paper Is Better

I’m not the kind of parent who typically drops everything to help my fourth grader complete a study guide. However, I had a feeling, based on how she’s done on some of the assignments, that she needed some help to prepare for her upcoming test. Therefore, I took an hour out of my day to sit beside her to help her complete the study guide.

Isabelle began learning how to type a couple of months ago. She completed her final module on yesterday! While she has improved her knowledge of where the keys are and her accuracy, she still types slowly. Therefore, when I noticed her social studies (U.S. Government) study guide was on Seesaw, I groaned. Audibly. It was going to be a s-l-o-w process to get the answers typed in. (Good thing I had some time!)

Isabelle was able to squeeze some of the responses onto the form by using a stylus. However, most of the spaces were too small for her to use the stylus.

Once I read through the guide, it became clear to me that I’d need to do some teaching since Isabelle didn’t remember most of the information off of the top of her head. Whatever needed an exact answer (e.g., how a bill becomes a law in PA), we located in the textbook or in the packet her teacher provided. Then, I read and discussed it with her. Next, I waited as she typed things in, letter-by-letter, using the Seesaw text function. While she typed I checked email on the sly. I even threw in a load of laundry while she typed a longer response.

Eventually, I suggested, “Why don’t you use Siri to dictate your responses? Then you can just edit the capitalization and spelling.”

“Good idea!” Isabelle replied.

But. That. Also. Takes. Time. To. Do. Well.

Once Isabelle was two-thirds of the way finished with typing the study guide responses, I flipped through her social studies packet and discovered the printed study guide was in the packet. Whaaaaat?!?!?!

“Did you know it was in here?” I asked.

“Yeah. Kind of,” she replied.

“Next time, I think you can save yourself a lot of time if you write your responses by hand, take pictures of the pages, and then upload them for your teacher to Seesaw. Technology doesn’t always make things faster. Sometimes pen and paper is better. What do you think?”

“Writing it would probably be faster,” she admitted.

Yes. Yes it would be, I thought. But I let it rest. Isabelle was calm, despite spending an inordinate amount of time typing and dictating her answers sentence-by-sentence. I bit my tongue. Being righter-than-right wasn’t going to return the extra half hour she spent laboring over her keyboard today.

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