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Editorial: Newspapers help students focus in an exciting digital world
Some compare newspapers to the dinosaur, but the local community newspaper is far from extinct -- nor should it be.
While it’s true that there are many sources of news and information, not all are reliable and not all give the complete picture. Certainly not all sources make a connection to the local community.
If anything, today’s technology-filled world of phone apps, tablets, iPhones, Androids, and iPads makes today’s world very exciting -- but very confusing -- for young people. They are growing up in a rapidly changing world of digital advances.
Whereas we went to school prepared to learn with classroom chalkboards, Big Chief tablets, Crayola crayons, and No. 2 pencils, today’s children must deal with learning, while being bombarded from all sides with technology. Instead of focusing on learning the basics and building a foundation, students are busy experimenting with the latest rapidly changing technology. They can play games, or text with the best of them, but cannot spell. Often, the basics are not there, which explains why we have to provide remedial classes for college students.
Youngsters can use these computers and smartphones comfortably, but by focusing on technology over basics, they could be missing out on critical thinking, logic, and debate. It’s too easy to jump into learning technology without ever absorbing reading and math concepts. They are tempted to think they don’t need to memorize multiplication tables, for instance, because they have computers.
They may fail to understand the importance of understanding concepts and developing basic common-sense calculations that are a foundation for long-term learning. Many never learn to balance a checkbook or make change without the use of computers. These simple skills give a person a better foundation for dealing with real life.
All this is leading me to my point, which is the importance of using newspapers in the classroom. It’s a concept that I firmly believe is helpful, and those supporting our Newspapers In Education (NIE) program agree. The local community newspaper gives students a firm grasp and a solid connection to the community in which they live, and that’s important before they set out in the big wide world.
Some newspapers have quit supplying print copies of their newspapers to schools because of the expense. Instead, students are encouraged to use an online subscription. We, at the Wilson County News, are firmly dedicated to print first. We believe that in a world where so much is digital, it’s important for students to have the tactile experience of holding a newspaper while reading about their own city council, school board, and community organizations. It connects them to something, whereas digital information is nebulous. It’s “out there.”
Thanks to all who support our Newspapers In Education program, it has been possible to continue providing print copies to those teachers and schools who request them. Thanks to all who participated in our 10th annual NIE Golf Tournament Saturday. It is because of your continued support that we are able to maintain this program.
For more information about NIE or if you would like to see newspapers in a specific classroom, please contact Wilson County News’ NIE coordinator Tiffany Polasek by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our NIE program has won many awards and has been recognized nationally. We will continue to focus time and energy in maintaining it and helping it better serve our community of young people.
Digital is fun, exciting, and useful, but print is an essential building block.
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