Technology seems to be taking over every aspect of education. The fact that we as a society are facing the widespread implementation of a new form of communication means we must assess the old ones. This even goes as far as to put the pencil in question. Is it time to retire what has been a staple in classrooms for decades?
What this debate comes down to essentially is whether schools should be emphasizing handwriting skills or typing skills. Even beyond that, at what age typing programs should begin. I personally grew up in an environment that emphasized both almost equally. Interestingly, the first part of my K12 education was spent learning to print and write in cursive perfectly. A task which I pursued as fervently as my teachers expected. Then, in about third or fourth grade, our computer classes became primarily typing classes. By the time I got to high school, I had teachers telling me that in-class essays and essays on standardized tests had to be legible lest we risk a worse grade than we deserved. It was also during this time that I learned to type more efficiently – not in prescribed typing lessons.
I see this debate as something that ought to be addressed, but I see no reason to retire the practice of teaching handwriting. Despite having mostly learned to type from extensive time spent on computers and smart phones, I still prefer to handwrite most things. Not only do my thoughts flow better, but I remember much more of what I have written whether it is notes or an assignment. I think administrators do need to push typing skills – as much as they push handwriting skills. Students have much more opportunity and drive to learn typing outside of the classroom anyway.
Where do you stand in the “Great Pencil Debate?” Let us know in the comments!