“Oh, get that one instead! It’s cheaper and it’s the same as the name brand!” Every day we hear people say this generic statement. Sometimes the cheapest brand is not always the best or the “same as” the expensive brand, as in the case of these two brands of pencils.
This cartoon is not just about two types of pencils. It goes deeper than that. This cartoon can be applied to our education system. Pencils, paper, and textbooks are cheaper than iPads, SMARTboards, MacBooks, and other PCs; however, they do not deliver the same education opportunities and preparation for our students. In a sense, the paper, pencils, and textbooks are the Papermate pencil and the iPads, laptops, and other technology are the Ticonderoga pencil.
However, after further reading, I believe this comic goes even deeper than technology versus basic school supplies. Papermate and Ticonderoga are both pencils and both can be used beyond busy work, worksheets, and unsubstantial writing. One may be more expensive and better than the other, yet we can use either one to open the doors to our students. We must be creative and not factory-like for this to effective.
Why Were Your Kids Playing Games?
Mr. Spencer’s story on how the principal of the school dislikes games and interactive “games” between students. Applying games to learning is too sketchy. The principal does not care if these students are engaged in learning and if they are learning. He focuses more on preparing them for a single test.
Mr. Spencer brings to light a very upsetting truth about our education system. Our education system is not always held back because of lack of training, money, and resources. It can be held back by the people who run the school. Although they mean well and focus on test scores, these authoritative figures can enforce views that hinder our students learning and opportunities. Instead of focusing on our students want to learn, ability to teach themselves, and future success on their own, they focus on test scores. I personally believe our society is reinforcing this view by constant wanting numbers and scores to show their level of achievement. It is concrete and less abstract than rating a teacher/school based on how much their students love to learn or apply what they learned.
When A Child Hates Pencils?
This post is about a child who hates pencils. He does not specifically hate the pencils, but the writing that comes with them. He hates writing because he always had to write unsubstantial assignments, received F-A-I-L in large stamped letter, and grew tired of the “peppy praise”, “colorful stamps”, and bribes. As a punishment he had to write words from the dictionary or write sentences over and over and over again.
On the second day of class, Mr. Spencer gives the student a pencil and told him to write whatever. He would receive no stamps or letters. Mr. Spencer would read them and leave comments, feedback, and corrections. This student produced a poem about flying and a origami dragon with a poem on its wings.
As future teachers, we need to keep in mind how we use writing in a negative and positive way. How do our students view writing? Does learning always have to be in assignment form and busy work? How can we execute effective head fakes in the classroom? Overall, we need to focus on our students more than teaching in a factory-like way.
The Meaning of “Adventures in Pencil Integration”
After exploring Mr. Spencer’s blog, I believe his title, “Adventures in Pencil Integration”, means to look past technology and look at the ways using a simple pencil can open doors for our students.
Scott McLeod- “Don’t Teach Your Kids This Stuff. Please?”
Scott McLeod, J.D., Ph.D., is the Director of Innovation for Prairie Lakes Area Education Agency 8 in Iowa. He is the founding Director of the UCEA Center for the Advanced Study of Technology Leadership in Education (CASTLE). UCEA CASTLE is “the nation’s only academic center dedicated to the technology needs of school administrators.” You can find more about him through his bio.
Dr. McLeod’s post makes a strong, sarcastic, yet clear point about our children with technology. Everything has ups and downs; however, we do not hide our kids indoors 24/7 because they might get kidnapped, nor do we take away pens and pencils because they are pointy and sharp. We must teach our child proper precautions with pencils, pens, strangers, and the internet! We cannot hinder our student’s and children’s success because we are not willing to teach proper use and precautions. I enjoyed this post. It made me think about how we avoid new advances and other things because of their possible dangers.