Would you consider a pencil a tool? If you said yes, then it should have its own rubric along with the rest of the technology requirements being given to students today.
I had some fun putting this rubric quickly together. Yes, it’s ridiculous, but so is the idea that technology will motivate students. The 16mm films didn’t do it, nor the filmstrips, even with sound; and when television and VCR’s were put into the classroom that technology didn’t motivate students. VCR were eventually replaced with DVD’s with the same results. Computers are common place today, students are quite comfortable with iPads and e-books. But, math scores are still low, reading is still average, and students are dropping out of school at all levels.
Bill Ferriter, who runs his own blog, recently did a simple hand drawing on the topic, “What do you want kids to do with technology?”, and posted on the Net (which got a pretty good response.) He pointed out that today’s students are motivated by opportunities created by the students not the technology they are using. I agree, and add that the mighty little pencil is still being used by the top designer, architects, and computer leaders today.
Interesting enough during the 1960’s, NASA spent $12 million dollars to develop a pen that could be used in zero gravity. Those pens were eventually sold by Fisher Pens and called, “Fisher Space Pens.” I remember buying one, it cost $1.98, which was expensive at that time. Meanwhile, our competitor for the space race, Russia, invested in pencils and mechanical pencils, and saved millions of dollars. Considering there is no place on our planet that has zero G, unless you are falling out of an airplane and writing your Will on the way down, there is no way a Space Pen can give you any clear advantages or better grades. But, better grades was one of Fisher’s selling points, along with the ability to close sales, think clearly, and clear up acne (Okay, the last one wasn’t in the original marketing makeup).
So, if you agree that a Space Pen, or any pen or pencil will not help you get better grades, what makes you think buying a computer, iPad, or e-book will? Some might say, “Today’s technology has access to the World Wide Web, Multimedia, it’s interactive, it has the ability to cross communicate with all kinds of digital devices, it’s…it’s…it’s a tool!” In the end, it’s simply a tool. I’m open to comments, send them.