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Pen and Paper

Discussion in 'Education news' started by PeterQuint, Jun 29, 2019.

  1. PeterQuint

    PeterQuint Lead commenter

    I’m not sure if this is what this area was intended for, but here goes.

    Why do schools insist on almost all of the students produce being done by pen and paper.

    In my life, even as a teacher, I use IT in its various guises to do almost everything.

    We wouldn’t need to fill schools with the best, most up to date computers. Very basic stuff, word, excel, something for maths.

    If I were to shape change for the future in schools, this would be a starting point.

    When I think of the exercise books, worksheets, information sheets, and text books which students must go through, year in year out, it’s ridiculous. Not to mention the environmental impact.
    Sally006 likes this.
  2. catbanj

    catbanj Occasional commenter

    Money. Pure and simple.
  3. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    And reliability. The school full of shiny IT in September becomes stockrooms full of broken stuff by Christmas.
  4. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    pen and paper is vital for learning. You can't so it on computer until you can do it by hand. As a dyslexc, I have followed very closely the fate of those students who are allowed to use word processing throughout their secondary career. It holds back their intellectual development. i have seen this for years, now it is being widely recognised. You can't learn organise your thoughts the same way on a computer, or to see the overall picture. You can't learn to read write either, and limit your reading.

    It is very poor educational practice to use computing throughout child hood. There is a place for it, but over use is very damaging.
  5. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    And of course, computers don't work, for a significant proportion of time. I would say 10-15 % of the time each, meaning that in every class of 30, 3-5 students unable to log in in any given lesson.

    ( although over the last few weeks in my school it has been more than 50 % of staff and student unable to log in at any given moment)

    We have 3 full time IT support, and they cannot keep up
    agathamorse likes this.
  6. becky70

    becky70 Occasional commenter

    I teach in a large primary, 3 form entry and we are broke. We can afford exercise books, pencils and pens for our children but no way could we afford a computer for every child.
  7. PeterQuint

    PeterQuint Lead commenter

    I wonder how much is spent on paper every year, including all of the things I mentioned. I suspect a special robust ‘school PC’ could be developed.

    Monitors tend to last. Keyboards and mice are cheaper than a text book.
    sbkrobson likes this.
  8. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    They don't as much as they used to.
    In our dept (Maths) all KS4 work is done on computers. Most homework in all depts is done electronically and submitted on Google Class. And we have a rather loosely adhered to school policy that every fourth lesson is to be conducted in a IT room. Some staff don't like this because it's contrived. Some staff just enjoy the sit down. And some staff never do it because they cannot align the principle with their subject.
    My colleagues in English probably use the IT rooms the most, because it assists in the marking load. The work is sent by Google Class, and the pupils can track the marking and respond to it while it's being done. I've visited one of these lessons in order to fine tune my use of the technology , and it spooked me a bit to see a kid writing some essay, and then a teacher comment popping up on it "Careful now!" in real time as they were writing.
    My reservations revolve around a general dislike of encouraging kids to be at screens. They do enough of this already in their own time, and some kids nowadays can also be doing all five of the hour long lessons in one day at a screen.
    I don't see this issue diminishing, even if a move to paperless study and interactive teacher response is a good thing.
    PeterQuint likes this.
  9. gainly

    gainly Lead commenter

    Do you mean they actually do all the working out on computers or that they work out on paper and enter the answer on a computer? I would be concerned that they won't show their working in the exam (which is still done on paper) if they are never required to do this in class.
  10. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    What I should have said is all KS4 lessons are done on computers, my bad. The kids have a book for working, although never submitted, just monitored during class.
    We do six yearly assessments, they are on paper, and showing their working is never more of an issue than had they had classroom lessons.
    The thinking behind computer room lessons is aligned with the concern in the OP-classroom lessons do actually cost a lot in reprographics and waste, resources and textbooks. And time. In previous years I would spend quite a lot of time at the end of the day shuffling and repacking resources
    It is also easy to double classes for cover purposes
    PeterQuint likes this.
  11. Stiltskin

    Stiltskin Star commenter

    Well, at about £34 a computer you probably could afford it, however it is not necessarily appropriate to.

    Besides pen and paper skills are still relevant as Norse Hydro will attest
  12. PeterQuint

    PeterQuint Lead commenter

    I’m not saying they should never use pen and paper. It’s just massively overused when compared with ‘real life’.
  13. Sundaytrekker

    Sundaytrekker Star commenter

    That’s interesting, dunnocks. Do you know anywhere I could follow this up further?
  14. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    OOOH, someone else who has upset the denizens of TES Towers and had their thread moved from the shiny new forum!

    Has anyone seen any T&Cs or rules for this new place?
    PeterQuint likes this.
  15. grumbleweed

    grumbleweed Lead commenter

    We had a family conversation about whether future generations will lose the skill of writing. Given that younger people can already hold an entire conversation in emojis, are we going full circle back to hieroglyphics, and will this be the way of the future?
    agathamorse likes this.
  16. Mathsteach2

    Mathsteach2 Established commenter

    Legible hand-writing should always be one of the skills which schools should include in their basic curriculum, along with reading and speaking. However, once acquired, it should not be used as the major vehicle to transmit knowledge and understanding of a particular subject area. Reading (and other visual experiences) and speaking should take equal priority in the learning activities of children, along with many other skills being acquired in their schooling. Drama, sport, music, art and craft, and science (etc. ) should all have a place in all subject areas.
    It appears hand-written work is still being used to keep classes quiet, seated and occupied in an apparently, but not necessarily so, useful educational activity. With Nuffield Science I abandoned it as a teaching strategy in the 1960's and did so ever since in my 40 year career.
    agathamorse likes this.
  17. maggie m

    maggie m Senior commenter

    Interesting you mention Nuffield science. I studied O level chemistry, biology and physics. The latter was the Nuffield syllabus. I passed it but had no idea what was going on. For me physics only made sense when I had to brush up on it during my PGCE using a good old fashioned textbook.
    Legible handwriting is needed. Increasingly I see year 7 students unable to hold a pen properly and consequently with poor hand writing. I have marked year 12 biology exams in the last few days and have given zero for some responses as they are completely illegible.
    agathamorse likes this.
  18. gainly

    gainly Lead commenter

    It looks like only threads started by TES are allowed on the new forum.
  19. averagedan

    averagedan Occasional commenter

    Good old Nuffield Science, I studied it as a student and had to work damned hard. I only found out on entering my teaching career that it was normally only offered by private schools with much more generous timetables.... The thing was unteachable in the time allowed.

    As to hand-writing, etc. There's quite a lot of research now that shows literacy is best improved without ICT and that increasing screen time has a measurable negative effect on outcomes. There's some evidence to show that it trains the brain to scan rather than read whole sentences, etc. IT doesn't always make things better.....

    It's also essential, that in an ever more connected work, we give students a respite from phones, etc. For most students it's the only time in their lives when they're not online, looking at a screen and this is something that should be valued highly.
    agathamorse and gainly like this.
  20. Happygopolitely

    Happygopolitely Established commenter

    Until exams are done on computer it makes little sense to drop paper and pen approaches altogether. Lets not forget how easy it is to do a copy and paste job either on computers should a student feel so inclined to.
    agathamorse likes this.

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