One thing I’ve really been struggling with lately, is the idea of assessing some students who are strong speakers, but weak writers. I know in our curriculum, oral communication and writing both are worth 25% of the student’s overall grade, but it really brings down the mark of a student if they are strong in one area, but weak in the other.

I’m wondering if our grading system needs an overhaul? With the advent of technologies like Dragon Dictation and the voice to text application on the New iPad, are we really going to need to know how to physically hand write or type? I’m sure some people will still prefer these methods, but the technology is already here so that those skills are becoming antiquated. I mean, my toddler won’t really need to know how to physically write since we already have verbal means for her to communicate and have it be turned to text.

So it leaves me wondering. Are we giving these students grades lower than they deserve because they can’t express their ideas well in a written format? Do we need to revisit the curriculum standards?

As a disclaimer, this message is not meant to suggest that writing is becoming antiquated. The ability to coherently express one’s ideas is always an important skill. I’m more so suggesting that the physical actions of hand writing and typing, in my opinion, will become antiquated skills at some point in the future.


6 thoughts on “Speaking vs Writing

  1. Don’t forget that every Windows computer, and every Android Phone, has Speech-To-Text embedded in the operating systems. One need not spend $1200 on Apple Computers plus $200 on Dragon to have access to this

  2. I love that you asking these questions. I think these are the questions that will move the system to an understanding that the world we live in is fundamentally different than that which we have in the passed. Technology has changed some of our “constants”
    That said, the Ontario curriculum doesn’t distinguish between the various strands in terms of a percentage. Growing Success outlines that the evaluation of a student is not necessarily a calculation at all. Therefore, you are free to use your professional judgement in determining whether a student has justly demonstrated their abilities in the various streams.
    Keep asking the questions.

  3. I love technology and the advantages it brings to our students, but I think there is a point where we start to leave things behind. In my opinion, text-to-speech is one of those points. For one, I have read that the physical act of writing actually activates areas in the brain. More importantly, when I think of the rhetorical compositions I try to encourage my students to write, I don’t think that they are easily constructed through speed h patterns. It may work for clearly expressing basic ideas, but I fear it could also stunt writers. Thoughts? @Mr_Testa

    1. I agree that it does activate different parts of the brains, but in this particular blog post, I was thinking of my weaker writers who have really good ideas, but their actual writing skill holds them back. They can articulate their ideas in a verbal means, but putting pen to paper or typing just doesn’t allow them to fully explain their thinking. I think for these students in particular, text to speech will be really helpful.

      I also think about my own writing. I often hear my own voice in my head when I’m composing my pieces and wonder what it would be like writing-style wise if I just said what I was thinking instead of engaging in the physical act of writing.

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