Are we smarter than a 5th Grader?

Is technology taking away our ability to use our brain?  We have all come to rely on technology for almost everything in our day to day life.  Need a phone number?  Find it in your phone, click and call.  Forgot the person’s name?  Scroll through the pictures in your contact list.

Let’s talk simple math- addition and subtraction.  You can’t get much simpler than that.  The cash registers used in retail stores, and especially fast food places, calculate the amount of change to be given to the customer.  If you give the cashier a $20 dollar bill, as long as they key in the amount of the purchase and the amount tendered correctly, you will get the right change.  But . . . If the purchase is $13.28 and you give them a $20 dollar bill and 28 cents in coin as an afterthought, you have just thrown a monkey wrench into the mix.  I can’t count the number of times I have watched cashiers struggle trying to figure out the right amount of change.

Yes, I know that a large majority of kids in school have good math skills, I hope, especially if they are planning on advancing to college.  But, unfortunately, there are those who don’t like school and either quit or graduate with a general diploma.  Typically this leads them to jobs at retail stores or restaurants.

I am totally in favor of technology being taught in the lower grades, even Kindergarten, but there should be a backup plan.  What if they lost their calculator, should they not know what to do with pencil and paper?  What if spellcheck malfunctions, do people know how to spell and punctuate?   And God forbid, if they lose their phone, can they still communicate without texting? 

Yes, technology is making our lives much easier, but we are relying on it too much causing brain cells to shrivel up.

2 Comments on this Post

  1. Diana Kempton

    Excellent points, Nancy. I get that blank stare all the time when I’ve given them exact change so all they have to do is count out some singles. It’s amazing. So many of my community college students can’t make change, balance their checking accounts, do long division, add/multiply fractions, figure 15 or 20% tips in their heads, or even read cursive writing, much less write a nice thank-you note using it! If schools don’t want to teach basic life skills, maybe they should be required to show up in the auditorium while their teachers are on one of the many work days away from the classroom, and have someone else teach it. Like maybe the school secretary.
    Believe me, it would only take one day. I know, because I have to teach them a full class of basic math and simple geometry (how much stone gets installed in that bay window or circular entry?) in order to read construction documents and figure flooring and counter tops in estimating and materials classes.
    It’s not that hard, but no one teaches them these things anymore, not even their parents (and we won’t go into why many parents can’t…).

  2. Ken Behrmann

    Good Morning Nancy YOU are so right on!


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