Flip the Pen in Learning


It was about a year ago when I came up with this idea of "Flipping the Pen". Having worked with so many teachers and seeing how exercise books and paper play a major part of initial projects or lessons, I asked myself why is this still happening in a 21st Century learning environment? Why are we as teachers using technology as a secondary follow up tool? With the tools teachers and students have at their disposal, surely the pen should now be the secondary tool?

Now before those pen advocates become up in arms about this idea, let me explain that I am in no means saying that the pen is obsolete. I understand that writing with a pen is a necessary skill and one of which should be taught extensively from a very young age. I also understand that most examinations are administered with the trusted pen (although that is a completely different argument and a perhaps a different blog post!). What I am saying is that technology should be where we start as teachers, particularly, when using a pen becomes an embedded skill.

Let me explain further. Many teachers I have seen on my travels as a Edtech workshop presenter and teacher are fixed with using exercise books, particularly in English and Maths. Each student has an exercise book and they write in their books. The teacher collects in exercise books, spends hours marking them and suggests improvements. They edit in their exercise books, crossing out or re-writing, which they don’t really do as it takes too long, and then at the end of editing the teacher tells them to get the computer out and type up this piece of work so it can be neatly displayed on the wall. With the technolog