Glitter Pens & Pencils

Photo Credit: Ariel Grimm Flickr
Photo Credit: Ariel Grimm

When I was a grade one teacher and Early Literacy Coach I used to always bring in Glitter Gel pens. It seems silly but the concept of a shiny new tool to write with seemed to just be that spark to entice my learners to write. Eventually over time the glitter pen lost it’s shine and it just became another tool along with the not so shiny pencils and pens.

I wonder if we have gotten past the ‘shiny new glitter pen’ stage with technology. It’s exciting to see what is possible and how people all over the world are using technology to help kids learn. But I struggle with the fact that often I still have to sell it, prove why we should use this new technology.

Another story:

My grandmother has worked for Bosch for 30 years now in inventory. When they first moved over to a digital system ten or so years ago she refused to use it; she would retire before she would ever use a computer. This technology could never be better than her system. Why did she need it? It is funny to look back now as she sends emails and types away at 70. From being so resistant to a new tool, it now was just a part of her daily work. Like the shiny new glitter pens they have assimilated and become just a part of her environment.

That would be my hope for technology in the classroom. No more debates on if, when, how but rather just a tool in our environment that we intuitively pick up or put down based on the learning task. Maybe we are already there and I have missed it. Maybe we will never get there with the constant change of technology. And like my glitter pens the initial spark of something new is often beneficial to engage students in a deeper learning journey.

My worry: If we never move out of the ‘glitter pen stage’, our conversations won’t move past the digital in a digital learning experience. Just like my glitter pens in class they will continue to be seen as OPTIONAL.

I continue to think of Jesse Brown’s words from a few years back.

Am I off base? Where do you think we are at technology integration? Are we at the shiny glitter pen stage or just another tool stage?

3 Replies to “Glitter Pens & Pencils”

  1. Same issues in secondary. If we start to focus on skills students need to have we might be able to move past the glitter peen stage. Also what drives tech use: Tt, Ss, curriculum, MoE, edtech, etc? We need a clearer, defined vision from the MoE. Targets need to be set.

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