The above cartoon is from the blog, Adventures in Pencil Integration by John T. Spencer. It's describing, and somewhat making fun of, two different brands of pencils commonly used in schools. A Papermate pencil is just like the guy pictured, dumpy and safe. It's cheap but they ALWAYS break. A Ticonderroga pencil, on the other hand, is a very expensive, but good pencil. They aren't as popular because of their cost so the hipsters buy them to avoid being "mainstream".
Adventures in Pencil Integration
The blog Adventures in Pencil Integration is a satirical comment on the trials and tribulations of trying to implement changes to education. It takes place during the Industrial Revolution; a time when schools where becoming more urbanized. It follows the story of the educator Mr. Johnson as he tries to get a pencil into the hand of every student in his school.
In the post The Con Academy, a man comes in advertising a new style of "teaching". He claims it is flipping the classroom and will be a more effective way of reaching every student with every lesson. In reality, this method is nothing more than a bunch of worksheets designed to aid lazy instructors. It sounds so good on the surface that the principal agrees to it over the objections of Mr. Johnson.
The main message of this post is that what may seem like the easiest way to instruct is not always the best. These sure fire methods usually tend to stifle the most important thing that educators teach..creativity. Easy learning may seem like a blessing in disguise but it is in fact what Mr. Johnson thinks it is, a Trojan Horse.
Don't Teach Your Kids This, Please?
Scott McLeod is the Director of Innovation at Prairie Lakes Area Education Agency in Iowa. He's considered an expert on paving the way for technology in K-12 schools. He is also the Founding Director of the UCEA Center for the Advanced Study of Technology Leadership in Education (CASTLE). His blog, Dangerously Irrelevant discusses technology and leadership in schools today.
In the post Don't Teach Your Kids This, Please?, Mr. McLeod sarcastically asks parents, teachers, administrators, etc. to not teach kids today about technology. He asks that they just keep doing what they're doing and not change. He concludes with the thought that he's asking this because this IS what he's teaching his students and he wants to see who has it easier in the years to come.
I agree with Mr. McLeod. While technology shouldn't be the only focus in the classroom, it's an extremely important part of learning. It's important for students to not only master use of it, but for them to master the skills that technology can learn from the use of technology (i.e. collaboration, creativity, working in the public eye).