Paper and Pencil

Paper and Pencil

Today I had a professional development meeting. We were “learning” about the “new” software program that we will be using in math. I put the words learning and new in quotes deliberately. We’ve abandoned textbooks and are moving towards an all online curriculum. What I saw today was your old school teacher’s manual for a math textbook, posted on a screen. Sure there were video snippets, songs and games but the bulk of it, the part that is included in every lesson is just the same “old” program. It was a textbook, you remember the kind, with the vocabulary words in the corner (now it’s in a tab that you click on), the lessons for differentiated instruction and the ELL lesson too. Exactly the same. So much the same that students can’t interact with the text. What I learned today was oftentimes in education we repackage the same ideas, the ones that have been working and call it new. And I sat shaking my head and wondering, what’s wrong with paper and pencil?

When did paper and pencil become the enemy in education? When did the idea of writing things down become a negative? And, why is projecting the same math textbook on a screen considered an advancement?

Does anyone have the answer?

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8 thoughts on “Paper and Pencil

  1. No answers here, but I appreciate you taking the time to share a sentiment I think we’ve all had, in a neat, precise little package. I love my paper and pencil…and my computer, too! Onward and upward!

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    1. Agreed. I love both. I really do, I just sometimes can’t wrap my head around “look at this new thing” presentations when I’m sitting there going, am I the only one who sees this as the same but repackaged?

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  2. That’s a tough question. I sometimes wonder why we think there really is anything new, or if we just always recycle what we’ve done before. In my classroom we have begun doing some of our assignments on Edmodo, on iPads and the students seem to be a little more interested than they were when it was on paper. The assignments aren’t much different, really, the mode of delivery has just changed I think. I think we keep on trying to do things differently but how many ways are there to do the same stuff, I wonder? Thanks for a thought-provoking post.

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  3. No answer from me. I prefer the paper and pencil, except when it comes to writing. Love the computer so I can revise and not leave tracks of my work.

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  4. I really don’t know. It is too bad, especially when there is so much we can do with technology. I am a fan of paper and pencil, much in the same way that I love books, reading on the Kindle or computer is not the same.

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  5. I love my computer, but I HATE doing math on a screen! I need to touch and manipulate and draw to do math. I can’t imagine this would be the best choice for very many kids!

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