Another blow for the "handwriting is important" crowd: Check out this Miami Herald article about a paperless 5th grade classroom, where each child has a computer screen built into his or her desk.
..."When [the teacher] assigns students a report on Civil War heroes, the students take off on their own using websites like Google and Dogpile to do research, cutting and pasting photographs into documents and saving their work on disks.
''Instead of writing with a paper and pencil and your hand getting tired, we can do it on a computer,'' said Robert Toledo, 10, as he read a site about Abraham Lincoln. ``It's faster and better.''
Here in Miami-Dade's only paperless classroom, websites are used in lieu of textbooks, PowerPoint presentations substitute for written essays and students get homework help from their teacher by e-mail.
''I can use the skills I learn here in sixth grade and in college,'' said Marissa Seijo, 10."...
Pretty cool, huh? I think written (as in word-processed) essays should supplement PowerPoint presentations to encourage actual development of ideas. In my experience, PowerPoints tend to favor regurgitation of images and sounds pulled off the internet, rather than promoting critical thought and development of ideas. Then again, we are talking about fifth grade. ;-)