Ban p-learning now!

For this post I am indebted to Tony Wheeler for the following:

“If we had only discovered pencils 5 years ago, and it had taken till now for most people to get one? We all spent the first couple of years jotting down a few words with a stubby black IKEA sized pencil on post-its passing them to each other by hand. Then, Apple came up with its full colour i-Pencil set and David Hockney had shown us that you could also make small bright images on the post-its too and later stuck them together in a single sheet. Now everyone is sketching large colourful images on ever bigger sheets of paper at home, at work, on the bus, in the library…  everywhere the world has been transformed by this wonderful new technology…

But not at school… because:
– teachers have not been trained properly to use pencils
– pencils do not fit with traditional teaching methods
– pencils are expensive to buy and replace when they break or wear down so small you can’t hold them
– we have not budgeted for additional running costs of supplying paper, and pencil sharpeners
– they present a health risk through young fingers gripping too hard (and dust from sharpening)
– pencils need new suites/specialist pencil rooms where they can be used properly under supervision
– pencils can be used to cheat in exams (rubbing out and correcting mistakes)
– pencils are disruptive and children use them in class to write messages to their friends
– pencils are dangerous, they are far too sharp they can cause serious injury if not used carefully
– pencils can too easily be used as a weapons
– pencils are unreliable they are always breaking and blunting
– additional training is needed to service and maintain pencils in a proper condition
– secure storage and theft is a problem, special lockable pencil trollies are needed for class sets
– interoperability is a problem as colours from different manufacturers don’t blend together
– pencils encourage bullying as they can be used to write hurtful messages on books and walls.”

Meanwhile The Daily Mail continues to warn of the dangers of pencil abuse in schools, before things get out of hand.  Apparently, it claims, most teachers just can’t see any point in them, and would prefer to stick with slates which they maintain have reliably worked for centuries. There are also concerns that children will just spend all their time playing noughts and crosses with them. But most worrying is the threat of lead poisoning. Meanwhile other teachers have expressed concerns about falling standards, and consider the use of 2B pencils to be a soft option, insisting on a minimum of 4H pencils.

But elsewhere the Daily Mail has been quick to spot the potential of developing interactive apps for its readers, and recently introduced a new innovation not previously thought possible – the crossword puzzle.

2 comments on “Ban p-learning now!

  1. The main reason why (in 2011) this new device (PENCiL) won’t actually take off in schools is that it contains the ‘i’ character.
    Recent surveys coordinated through the Russell 1994 post millennium group shows that Teachers as a profession are selected for their allergic reaction to most ‘i’ words.
    Said a Union spokesman, “The trouble with the aforementioned letter is that it causes too much extra work for our members. Magination is fine, Ndustry works well for most, even Nitiative we can cope with, but when Heads stick the ‘i’ in, it’s the straw that breaks the camel’s back. “as for ‘Pad’ we were content with that, a cosy little place where we could settle after the rigours of 10 Nescafe strong brews, but add an ‘i’ and it becomes a 4 letter word” the spokesman added.
    Scientific researchers have yet to recall when the PENCL had the ‘i’ added. Founder of Vortex cleaners, James Dyson, said “ I didn’t get where I am today by sticking a loose ‘i’ any where and everywhere!”

  2. Pencils!?

    Don’t forget ‘Paper’, it can be dangerous and has many weaknesses:

    General issues:
    – Old technology; hasn’t been updated in centuries
    – Single-use limitations; often used only once, then stored or thrown away
    – Not hard-wearing; can be torn and crushed, degrades with use and time
    – Working surface can easily be damaged and marked
    – Often used inappropriately within the classroom (e.g. paper planes, passing secret notes)
    – May be used as a substrate for offensive words and annotated drawings
    – Often marked in an inappropriate manner with inaccuracies and errors
    – Can be used for cheating or copying other people’s work
    – No automatic spell or grammar check facility
    – Does not work with the Internet and Virtual Learning Environments
    – Doesn’t work well in the rain or underwater
    – Requires table or suitable backing to work properly (Laptop paper anyone?)
    – Not many colour options, mostly available only in white
    – Cannot be used or seen in the dark
    – Only available in two-sided versions (single-sided was abandoned after initial trials)
    – Offensive to trees
    – Dogs eat homework written on it
    – Excuse notes forged on it
    – Reports, audits and all sorts of data unnecessarily stored on it
    – Takes up infinitely more space than digital paper
    – Limited size availability; not easy to change size or make bigger
    – Requires expensive bulky equipment to copy sheets containing existing data (photocopiers etc.)
    – Not easily sent to others; requires envelopes, expensive stamps and takes a day or more to transport
    – Can get lost, stolen, filed in the wrong place or accidentally thrown away.

    Health & Safety, Accessibility, etc.:
    – Flammable
    – Could cause choking
    – Not accessible remotely, requires manual handling and manipulation (accessibility audit required)
    – Can cause severe pain via paper-cuts (suggest protective gloves and eye-wear)
    – Dangerous equipment often used to hold pieces together (e.g. staplers, hole punchers, ring-binders)

    Storage issues:
    – Large quantities can become burdensome and require filing
    – Overloaded shelves of paper may become dangerous (see Health & Safety)
    – Extreme quantities may require extra storage facilities (e.g. Libraries)

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