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Here’s The Writing Prompt I’m Using With “Smartphones Don’t Make Us Dumb”

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You may have seen Dan Willingham’s excellent Op-Ed in The New York Times last week headlined Smartphones Don’t Make Us Dumb.

It’s a very thoughtful well-balanced piece, and worth reading by everyone.

I think it’s also accessible to high school students, along with being a high-interest topic for them (and for us teachers).

Here’s the writing prompt I’ll be using with it in class:

In the article “Smartphones Don’t Make Us Dumb,” what is Daniel Willingham saying about the impact technology is having on our ability and willingness to pay attention to things? To what extent do you agree with what he is saying? To support your opinion, be sure to include specific examples drawn from your own experience, your observations of others, or any of your readings, including “Smartphones Don’t Make Us Dumb.”

I’m adding this post to The Best Posts On Writing Instruction, where I collect my prompts and prompts from others, as well as other useful writing resources.

I’m also adding it to The Best Posts & Articles Highlighting Why We Need To Be Very Careful Around Ed Tech.

Feel free to make suggestions on how I can improve this prompt and others!

Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.

2 Comments

  1. Thank you, Larry! This Op Ed piece is perfect for launching the Article of the Week with my new students. It’s engaging for teens, and will lend itself easily to modeling how to markup an article.

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