Top 2014 Posts – #5 – Stop the presses. Literacy isn’t important. Technology is.

To end the year, I’ve decided to spotlight my top 10 blog posts from 2014. I went into my stats page and looked up those articles, stories, and other published pieces that had the most number of views. Some surprised me, others did not.

And look at that! We’ve made it to the halfway point! Here’s my 5th most popular blog post from 2014: Stop the presses. Literacy isn’t important. Technology is.

IMG_4057This was one of the few posts I wrote that could be considered a “rant”. But, come on, what writer and/or book nerd isn’t passionate about literacy and gets revved up when someone says it “isn’t important”?

…Yes, I’m still fuming over this matter.


“Literacy isn’t important. Technology is.”


Believe it or not, a guest speaker actually spoke these words to over 3,000 teachers last week during an in-service event for one of the nation’s top performing school districts. As you might suspect, the reaction wasn’t positive. In fact, many in the crowd booed this man’s mind-boggling words: Literacy isn’t important.

Literacy. Isn’t. Important.

How…? Why…? How?

This guest speaker went on to declare the four core subjects (math, science, English and history) weren’t a priority either. Furthermore (yeah, there’s a furthermore), he said teachers shouldn’t teach content. They should be motivators. According to him, “Students shouldn’t learn. They should become.”

Yeah

Ironically, this man has written a book about this entire topic. Yet, when asked how anyone could read it if they didn’t know how, he responded, “No worries. It will be read to them.”

Yeah

Screen Shot 2014-01-22 at 2.18.05 PM

Did you know Mr. Guest Speaker that:

  • The United Nations considers it a human right to be literate?
  • “67.4 million children who are out of school are likely to encounter great difficulties in the future, as deficient or non-existent basic education is the root cause of illiteracy.”?
  • According to the CIA, “Low levels of literacy, and education in general, can impede the economic development of a country in the current rapidly changing, technology-driven world.”?

Let me repeat that last quote for you, Mr. Guest Speaker:

“Low levels of literacy, and education in general, can impede the economic development of a country in the current rapidly changing, technology-driven world.” I don’t know about you, but it sounds to me like literacy and technology go hand-in-hand. Doesn’t it? They work together to keep this world spinning. Moving. Progressing.

occupational-therapy-and-assistive-technologyAs you can see (and most of you already know), I’m passionate about this subject. I’m a literacy advocate, a book lover, and an imagination builder. I have hundreds of books lining my shelves at home (each cherished dearly), and I don’t go anywhere without a pen or a notebook (ya know, just in case I get a sudden idea for a story). When I visit my nephews, I always encourage them to read a book, put a puzzle together, or take flight on the wings of their imagination. And when I see my friends, I always tell them about a book they should read (okay, okay, I sometimes tell the stranger standing in line behind me at the grocery store about a great book, too). And I never stop clapping for those who go to work everyday to teach and motivate our future generations.

But, besides being pro-education, I’m also pro-technology. I love technology. I don’t know what I’d do without it. And I firmly believe it plays a vital role in our society, our educational systems, and our future. If used properly, technology can improve communication, share knowledge, expand worlds, and connect globally. My God, just look at this blog! I’ve reached thousands of people across the planet with it. I have followers in Australia, Japan, England, Nigeria, Sweden…It’s astounding. I couldn’t do what I do without the technology to back me up. I couldn’t.

However, I also couldn’t do what I do if I didn’t have a strong literate background. And, let me tell you, that literate background wasn’t technologically driven. Most of my schooling took place in the 90’s and early 2000’s, so besides TVs and overhead projectors, my teachers didn’t have much to utilize in the way of technology to educate me. I didn’t even have my first computer class until 7th grade, and I didn’t own a cell phone until my junior year of high school. My classes looked pretty much like this:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA(According to Mr. Guest Speaker, this is a “sad picture”…Yeah, he got more boos and hisses for that one.)

Yet, despite my less than “techie” upbringing, I’ve managed to adapt to our technology-driven society. Well, I’ve more than adapted. I’ve embraced it and made it a part of my life. I’m blogging. I’m active on Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites. I’m a whiz on a Mac, and I just got my first Nook. But do you think I could’ve figured all of that out if I wasn’t literate to start?

Let’s take a moment to think about a couple of things, shall we? Without literacy:

  • This blog wouldn’t exist. How could it? I wouldn’t even know how to type the words I’m typing right now because I wouldn’t know how to s-p-e-l-l them. I also wouldn’t have the critical thinking, problem solving, or certain social skills I needed to get this site up and running. Even those pesky math and science classes I swore “I’d never ever need” played a part in the creation of this blog.
  • Technology wouldn’t exist. Who do you think created all of these wires and circuit boards in the first place? An alien who visited Earth for a summer vaca? An extraterrestrial being who generously decided to share a drop of its genius with humankind?

alien_in_UFO_cartoonSeriously, guys. Traditionally educated–literate–individuals were the ones who got us to where we are today. They used their reading, writing, math, and science skills to create our gadget-filled world.

  • Future technology won’t exist. We have fancy-schmancy technology now thanks to those smarty-pants who created it in the first place, but what will happen if schools and educators stop promoting literacy? What new and improved devices will we have in our hands in ten years? 20? 100? What unexplored paths will remain unexplored because nobody had the map to find them?

Okay, so I’m sure by this point some of you might be thinking, “There’s been a miscommunication. Surely Mr. Guest Speaker didn’t really mean literacy isn’t important. He must’ve been trying to prove another point that just didn’t translate well.” Some of the teachers in the audience thought the same thing, so they decided to attend his afternoon session…and they left it even more letdown and confused than before.

 Still not sold? Well, consider this: Mr. Guest Speaker was supposed to be live-streamed on the district’s website for the community to watch. Within five minutes, the plug was pulled (ironic?). Almost a week later, a video has finally gone up, but it isn’t the video filmed that day. If that’s not a red flag, I don’t know what is.

red_flagThis is obviously a subject I’m extremely passionate about. And normally I don’t take on such controversial topics, but I couldn’t let this matter drop without bringing it to other people’s attention. To think there is someone out there declaring literacy is a thing of the past isn’t right. It needs to be stopped. We can’t let future generations be deprived of a well-rounded education. It’s inconceivable and, really, a travesty.

So, if you believe literacy has and always will play an imperative part in our society’s future, please share this article and information with those you know. Blow the whistle and put an end to the idea, “Literacy isn’t important. Technology is.” How about instead we promote, “Literacy and technology work hand-in-hand.”? Or, “Literacy equals technology. Technology equals literacy.”?

One last food for thought: Did Mr. Guest Speaker ever stop to wonder what would happen if the big, almighty plug got pulled someday? Not to get all dystopian and apocalyptic on you guys, but let’s face it: there’s a chance the power could go out someday. Our phones, computers, iPods, Kindles and everything in between might stop working. What will happen then? What will we have? What will society fall back on? Hmm?

Be an advocate for future generations and support literacy!

Previous Top 10 2014 Posts:

#6 – How to Write a Novel Synopsis: 5 Tips

#7: Into Paradise

#8: Music Monday – Love The Way You Lie

#9: Operation Disney

#10: Over The Edge

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Join 454 other followers

Sources

UNESCO

The World Factbook – Central Intelligence Agency

Vote For A Dedicated Teacher – AKA My Sister

If you follow my blog regularly, then you know I tend to talk about my family often. It’s hard not to when they’re the most important thing in my life (yes, even more important than writing and reading, believe it or not).

I’ve also mentioned my sister a few times. I can’t begin to tell you how lucky I am to have her in my life. Not only is she my best friend, but she is an amazing supporter of my dreams. When times are rough, or my motivation begins to wane, she’s there to give me a swift kick in the booty and tell me to pull it together and keep going.

577926_10100751935137943_1237997427_nMy sister is truly a dedicated and hardworking individual. On top of raising three boys (infant, 2-year old, 4-year old), she’s a business education teacher at ThunderRidge High School. She’s also the advisor/organization sponsor of the school’s DECA program. (DECA is a highly competitive business marketing club for secondary and post-secondary students). Her passion and commitment to her job and her students constantly astounds me. I find myself always telling her, “I wish I’d had more teachers like you.” Simply put, she cares. Genuinely, completely, 100% cares about her students and their current and future successes.

536244_10101235410339763_1575530403_nHer students have recently recognized her dedication to them by nominating her for the Celebrate Teachers contest. After a preliminary round, my sister advanced to the finals and is now in the running to win. Yay!! But she needs votes. Lots and lots of votes.

So I’m asking you, my dear blog followers, to take a minute to help her out and cast a vote. All you have to do is type in the mall name (Park Meadows), and then look for my sister’s name (Katharine K from ThunderRidge High School)You may vote once per day until April 22nd.

I can’t think of anyone more deserving to win this contest than my sister. So, thank you in advance for your help and support!

VOTE HERE

A proud sister today – Colorado Marketing Education Teacher of the Year

Oh, boo. It’s Monday. Why is it Monday? Why, why, why?

Yeah, I’m not gonna lie, I’m on the cranky side today. However, I’m also on the proud side. The VERY proud side.

Last night, my amazing sister received a prestigious honor at the Colorado DECA state competition. She was named the “Colorado Marketing Education Teacher of the Year”. (For those of you who don’t know, DECA is a highly competitive business marketing club for secondary and post-secondary students).

1959774_10101442256478443_1975669596_nWhat made it extra special was my brother-in-law also received the Friends of DECA award for being such an outstanding supporter of the organization. And what made it extra-extra special was neither of them knew they were going to receive these awards. Well, my brother-in-law knew about my sister’s, which was why he secretly asked me and my parents to drive down with their two kids to The Broadmoor (where DECA state is taking place) to surprise her.

Not wanting to let the cat out of the bag early, my family and I hid in the very back of the conference room, way, way out of my sister’s eyesight. (Thank God the auditorium was so big, so dark, and so loud, otherwise I’m sure she would’ve heard my 4-year old nephew’s constant stream of, “Where’s mommy?” haha). Once her name was called and she made her way up to the stage, my family and I hurried forward to where she’d been sitting with her 52 DECA students to surprise/hug/congratulate her upon her return.

Listening to the 3,000 students, advisors, and other educational supporters cheer for my sister as she walked up on stage was overwhelming to say the least. I was so happy and so proud to see her hard work pay off. For years, she has poured herself–her heart–into her job, and she has always gone beyond the call of duty to teach and prepare her students for the real world. She truly deserved to be named the “Colorado Marketing Education Teacher of the Year”.

By the time my sister made her way back to her seat, she was crying (not a huge shock considering she’s eight months pregnant 😉 ). And when she saw us waiting for her (especially her two little boys), she cried even more. We all got a little weepy. It was hard not to. The tears, however, were worth it (as was the super late night and the grouchy Monday morning, haha.)

Congrats, “Sista”! You’re an amazing teacher, and your students are so lucky to have you in their lives. And I’m so proud to call you my sister!

1920472_10101439328615903_920191368_n

Thank You For Sharing

Today, I simply wanted to say thank you to everyone who read my Friday post, Stop the presses. Literacy isn’t important. Technology is. And thank you for sharing it with your friends, colleagues, social media followers and everyone else in between. Not only does your support mean a lot to me, but it means a lot to those fighting to encourage and improve literacy worldwide.

0f37dd8d1cca3944223f5cb0fafb0d76

If you missed this post and would like to read it, click here. Thank you!

Stop the presses. Literacy isn’t important. Technology is.

“Literacy isn’t important. Technology is.”


Believe it or not, a guest speaker actually spoke these words to over 3,000 teachers last week during an in-service event for one of the nation’s top performing school districts. As you might suspect, the reaction wasn’t positive. In fact, many in the crowd booed this man’s mind-boggling words: Literacy isn’t important.

Literacy. Isn’t. Important.

How…? Why…? How?

This guest speaker went on to declare the four core subjects (math, science, English and history) weren’t a priority either. Furthermore (yeah, there’s a furthermore), he said teachers shouldn’t teach content. They should be motivators. According to him, “Students shouldn’t learn. They should become.”

Yeah

Ironically, this man has written a book about this entire topic. Yet, when asked how anyone could read it if they didn’t know how, he responded, “No worries. It will be read to them.”

Yeah

Screen Shot 2014-01-22 at 2.18.05 PM

Did you know Mr. Guest Speaker that:

  • The United Nations considers it a human right to be literate?
  • “67.4 million children who are out of school are likely to encounter great difficulties in the future, as deficient or non-existent basic education is the root cause of illiteracy.”?
  • According to the CIA, “Low levels of literacy, and education in general, can impede the economic development of a country in the current rapidly changing, technology-driven world.”?

Let me repeat that last quote for you, Mr. Guest Speaker:

“Low levels of literacy, and education in general, can impede the economic development of a country in the current rapidly changing, technology-driven world.” I don’t know about you, but it sounds to me like literacy and technology go hand-in-hand. Doesn’t it? They work together to keep this world spinning. Moving. Progressing.

occupational-therapy-and-assistive-technologyAs you can see (and most of you already know), I’m passionate about this subject. I’m a literacy advocate, a book lover and an imagination builder. I have hundreds of books lining my shelves at home (each cherished dearly), and I don’t go anywhere without a pen or a notebook (ya know, just in case I get a sudden idea for a story). When I visit my nephews, I always encourage them to read a book, put a puzzle together or take flight on the wings of their imagination. And when I see my friends, I always tell them about a book they should read (okay, okay, I sometimes tell the stranger standing in line behind me at the grocery store about a great book, too). And I never stop clapping for those who go to work everyday to teach and motivate our future generations.

But, besides being pro-education, I’m also pro-technology. I love technology. I don’t know what I’d do without it. And I firmly believe it plays a vital role in our society, our educational systems and our future. If used properly, technology can improve communication, share knowledge, expand worlds and connect globally. My God, just look at this blog! I’ve reached thousands of people across the planet with it. I have followers in Australia, Japan, England, Nigeria, Sweden…It’s astounding. I couldn’t do what I do without the technology to back me up. I couldn’t.

However, I also couldn’t do what I do if I didn’t have a strong literate background. And, let me tell you, that literate background wasn’t technologically driven. Most of my schooling took place in the 90’s and early 2000’s, so besides TVs and overhead projectors, my teachers didn’t have much to utilize in the way of technology to educate me. I didn’t even have my first computer class until 7th grade, and I didn’t own a cell phone until my junior year of high school. My classes looked pretty much like this:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA(According to Mr. Guest Speaker, this is a “sad picture”…Yeah, he got more boos and hisses for that one.)

Yet, despite my less than “techie” upbringing, I’ve managed to adapt to our technology-driven society. Well, I’ve more than adapted. I’ve embraced it and made it a part of my life. I’m blogging. I’m active on Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites. I’m a whiz on a Mac, and I just got my first Nook. But do you think I could’ve figured all of that out if I wasn’t literate to start?

Let’s take a moment to think about a couple of things, shall we? Without literacy:

  • This blog wouldn’t exist. How could it? I wouldn’t even know how to type the words I’m typing right now because I wouldn’t know how to s-p-e-l-l them. I also wouldn’t have the critical thinking, problem solving, or certain social skills I needed to get this site up and running. Even those pesky math and science classes I swore “I’d never ever need” played a part in the creation of this blog.
  • Technology wouldn’t exist. Who do you think created all of these wires and circuit boards in the first place? An alien who visited Earth for a summer vaca? An extraterrestrial being who generously decided to share a drop of its genius with humankind?

alien_in_UFO_cartoonSeriously, guys. Traditionally educated–literate–individuals were the ones who got us to where we are today. They used their reading, writing, math and science skills to create our gadget-filled world.

  • Future technology won’t exist. We have fancy-schmancy technology now thanks to those smarty-pants who created it in the first place, but what will happen if schools and educators stop promoting literacy? What new and improved devices will we have in our hands in ten years? 20? 100? What unexplored paths will remain unexplored because nobody had the map to find them?

Okay, so I’m sure by this point some of you might be thinking, “There’s been a miscommunication. Surely Mr. Guest Speaker didn’t really mean literacy isn’t important. He must’ve been trying to prove another point that just didn’t translate well.” Some of the teachers in the audience thought the same thing, so they decided to attend his afternoon session…and they left it even more letdown and confused than before.

 Still not sold? Well, consider this: Mr. Guest Speaker was supposed to be live-streamed on the district’s website for the community to watch. Within five minutes, the plug was pulled (ironic?). Almost a week later, a video has finally gone up, but it isn’t the video filmed that day. If that’s not a red flag, I don’t know what is.

red_flagThis is obviously a subject I’m extremely passionate about. And normally I don’t take on such controversial topics, but I couldn’t let this matter drop without bringing it to other people’s attention. To think there is someone out there declaring literacy is a thing of the past isn’t right. It needs to be stopped. We can’t let future generations be deprived of a well-rounded education. It’s inconceivable and, really, a travesty.

So, if you believe literacy has and always will play an imperative part in our society’s future, please share this article and information with those you know. Blow the whistle and put an end to the idea, “Literacy isn’t important. Technology is.” How about instead we promote, “Literacy and technology work hand-in-hand.”? Or, “Literacy equals technology. Technology equals literacy.”?

One last food for thought: Did Mr. Guest Speaker ever stop to wonder what would happen if the big, almighty plug got pulled someday? Not to get all dystopian and apocalyptic on you guys, but let’s face it: there’s a chance the power could go out someday. Our phones, computers, iPods, Kindles and everything in between might stop working. What will happen then? What will we have? What will society fall back on? Hmm?

Be an advocate for future generations and support literacy!

Related Articles

Musicians kick off campaign to boost literacy

Using Technology to Support Literacy

ENTREVESTOR: Fighting illiteracy is in her genes

Why Learning to Read Early is Crucial for Young Children

Sources

UNESCO

The World Factbook – Central Intelligence Agency