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The Art of Putting Pen to Paper…

Posted by: | March 9, 2012 | No Comment |

I have placed this youtube video onto my blog because it has given me some “food for thought” that I think is worth sharing. I am the parent stating that I’m not sure I think the introduction of one to one laptops for students is a positive step for education.. I feel that we will have a generation of children who don’t know how to write. Therefore, I ask if you too hold this view then watch this video and see if you too have doubts about this statement..

To evaluate whether I am going to stick to my original belief I have decided that I need to first dig a little deeper into the history of writing..

Starting with the slate and chalk. Writing slate production has a long history going back to the 18th century (Gwynedd, 2003). Dunn, (2011) states that the school slate was used throughout the 19th century in nearly all classrooms. It is continued that in 1900 the pencil and paper began to replace the slate and chalk.. In the late 19th century, mass-produced paper and pencils became more readily available and pencils eventually replaced the school slate (Dunn, 2011).  An online community member of Yahoo asked the question. Did you get to learn to write on a slate at school? I found that the people who answered yes used the slate in their early schooling years in the 1950′s. “Yes, I did, at Infants school in 1954. It was great, but there was a terrible squeaking sound if you moved your chalk the wrong way – used to drive the teachers mad … ah! .. the good old days” (retrieved from http://uk.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20100829124447AAfnpux). During this time it was believed that pencil and paper would never replace the slate and chalk as paper was too expensive. In the 19th century, writing slates were made of slate, which is more durable than paper and was cheap at the time when paper was expensive (Wikipedia, 2012).  The use of slate soon faded from classrooms around the world and the use of paper and pencil was embraced..

It was in 1938 through to 1945 that the two Biro Brothers invented the ballpoint pen. While it was originally invented in 1888, it was not until 1940 that the ballpoint pen started to gain worldwide recognition as being a useful tool in the classroom and life in general (Dunn, 2011). The first patent on a ballpoint pen was issued on October 30, 1888, to John J Loud. In 1938, László Bíró, a Hungarian newspaper editor, with the help of his brother George, a chemist, began to work on designing new types of pens including one with a tiny ball in its tip that was free to turn in a socket (Wikipedia, 2012).

In 1996 I was in year 7. During this year I remember having to gain a pen licence in order to be allowed to use a pen.. To qualify for the licence I had to prove my penmanship with the pencil first.. My little brother is now in grade 7 and he has not had to complete the same requirements in order to use a pen.. My little brother is vice-captain at his school.. I know that he gained that title for his sporting and academic achievements. However, my mother is not happy with the quality of his hand writing or spelling.. She is continually going through his school books and correcting his spelling and commenting on his unreadable writing.. She feels that there was a larger emphasis on neatness and spelling during my primary years compared to today.. She feels that the education system may be heading backwards rather than forwards.. If you look back from a history perspective. Is our educational curriculum failing in this area? Or is it simply moving with the times? Are “us” parents blinded by the thought “that’s not how I was taught”. Does society struggle to use the past to predict the future? I would have to say “YES”. I think so in this case, I know I did.. This leaves the question is writing with a pen and paper a dying art? Is the Australia curriculum moving in the right direction by placing more emphasis on computer skills than on penmanship? After exploring this topic I have been lead to believe that “YES”. The Australian curriculum is heading in the right direction with placing more importance on computer skills.. With a little saddness from a member of the pen and paper generation. I also think that “YES” the use of pen and paper is a dying art and may some day soon be a skill of the past..


Dunn, J, (2011). The Evolution of Classroom Technology. Retrieved March 9, 2012, from http://edudemic.com/2011/04/classroom-technology/

Gwynedd Council, (2003).Slate – Writing Slates. Retrieved March 9, 2012, from http://www.llechicymru.info/writingslates.english.htm

Pen, (2012). Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia. Retrieved March 9, 2012, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pen

Slate (writing), (2012). Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia. Retrieved March 9, 2012, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slate_(writing)

Yahoo, (2010). Yahoo Answers Uk & Ireland. Retrieved March 9, 2012, from http://uk.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20100829124447AAfnpux

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