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Technology And Today's Youth

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Long gone are the days of spending numerous hours of the day keeping yourself occupied with nature. This new era has been filled with high-speed computers, game consoles, cell-phones and two-way messengers. In today's classrooms, many youth are plugging formulas into their graphing calculators rather than working it out on a piece pf paper. This era is very different than that of our parents'. Pen and paper have gone to the wayside and laptops are the new notepad. Is technology helping the youth of today or turning us less intelligent?

When computers started showing up in the late seventies and early eighties they took up a whole room. Now they fit easily into a small book bag and many colleges are even beginning to require students to have one. Approximately ninety percent of people ages 5 to 17 use computers and approximately fifty-nine percent of them are online. Even younger kids are become computer savvy with one out of four 5 year olds using the internet. Computers have brought many things that our grandparents or parents thought they would never see. From online archives, libraries, databases, to being able to connect to people from all over the world. The downfall of all this "connectability" to this other digital world could lead to today's youth doing much less of their own work and more cutting and pasting with the click of a mouse. Plagiarism is becoming a large problem in today's schools because today's teen tend to procrastinate until the night before a paper is due and stoop to logging on to their home computer and copying someone else's time and hard work. I believe today's educational system is going to have to alter their teachings slightly and lead teens to come up with their own ideas and use other's work to support their own. The internet is supposed to be used as a tool to enhance your own beliefs and thinking, not to steal someone else's. What has the internet done to help students who aren't looking to take someone else's idea? Online libraries give us access to resources we may have never had any other way. Word processing programs make that five page paper much easier to type up and look much more professional than that IBM electronic typewriter could have ever thought of doing. Those charts and graphs used for backing up your data are done much easier on a computer than anything else.

When our parents were in school things like PDAs and TI-89s were never heard of. Everything they did was worked out with a pen on a piece of paper. You learned how to add, subtract, divide and multiply all in long hand. Today's youth is all these simple things on electronic devices. Calculators have become a big help of say you're in calculus and trying to work out a problem that would take you hours to complete and multiple pages of paper. So when adults say that calculators have not helped us, just hurt, that is a false prediction. I know of many time's in my geometry, calculus, or trigonometry classes that a calculator has been of great assistance to me when solving a very hard problem. This shows they are a godsend if used in the right manner. The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics recommends the integration of calculators into the school mathematics program at all grade levels. They believe though that calculators need to be taught as an extension of the student's mathematical knowledge. I agree with this idea, but they need to be used only in the situations the have to be.

So we've covered the internet and calculators in an educational sense, but what about the aspect of technology and entertainment with today's youth? Long gone and the summers spent entirely outdoors. With the invention of Playstation 2, Nintendo Gamecube, Microsoft Xbox, and many others, today's youth are trading fun-in-the-sun for hours spent in front of a television screen. Even road trips and



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