Saturday, June 22, 2013

The Need for Paper and Pen

Experience and time have led to the need to retire the phrase "you will still see paper and pen" when talking about classrooms in a 1:1 environment. The statement is antiquated and equivelent to the idea of continuing the use of a slate and chalk in post 19th century classrooms despite the advent of the paper and ballpoint pen.
We must continue to grow with the tools available and stop validating the tried and true tools of the past. The need to reassure others that despite the technological changes of today, despite the respectfulness of using a modern tool for modern learners, we honor and value the tools of yesterday.
In the early days of our 1:1 adoption we gave a lot of school tours and often found myself pointing out the use of paper and pen. You won't hear that statement from me anymore. What has changed? Time has been on my side. I've had 2+ years to grow in a dynamic environment filled with mobile devices and student choice. I've seen learners grow with a tool that expands the boundaries of their education and learning experiences. I've seen teachers shift control of content and decision making to their students. Mostly, I've seen information, paperwork, news, and social media explode in an online environment.

Weeks may go by without my need for a piece of paper or a pen. That doesn't mean I'm not writing, it just means the mode of writing is beginning to look very different from my experiences in the past and vastly different from the experiences of my parents and grandparents. And, it means, more than ever before, educators must begin to be aware, to accept and be willing to model, use and expect this new form of writing in the classroom and let go of the need to hold onto tools that are becoming irrelevant in our changing world.

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