Friday, December 30, 2011

2011 - The Year of #PencilChat

What started out as a small exchange on Twitter between middle school teacher and author John T Spencer (@edrethink) and technology consultant David Wees (@davidwees), using the hashtag #pencilchat in early December, turned into a viral banter with over 10,000 tweets that is still going strong. It all began with Spencer's book, Pencil Me In: A Journey in the Fight for Graphite, about using pencils as an allegory for educational technology. Some of the reasons the author believes #pencilchat went viral include: there was enough diversity of people spread across the web with friends to make it work; it moved geographically from the United States to Australia and around the globe, never stopping; it was a fun, quirky and creative mix about pencils from attitude to metaphor; and most of all, it was easy and approachable.

It was too much fun to resist and also oh-so-telling about the frustration of technology integration. GOOD magazine picked it up with a post called Why #Pencilchat May Be the Most Clever Education Allegory Ever, with some great tweets including, "Jesus was a good teacher and he didn't use a pencil, so I don't have to use one, either." Aside from some of our favorites listed below, we came across this animated video, Ode to #Pencilchat: Technology Integration in the Classroom, from the Think and Dream in English blog. It was put together to use at professional development workshops about technology integration in the classroom.

Some of our favorite #pencilchat tweets, including some of our own:
"A pencil is only as sharp as the person using it. On the other hand a good pencil makes a person sharper." @e_skymac

"I refuse to use pencils in my classroom until manufacturers figure out a way to limit what students can write with them." @erinneo

"We must remember our 'pencil immigrants' were not born 'pencil natives.'" @theASIDEblog

My district has upgraded my pencils but the new pencils won't work with the old sharpener and there is no money for a new one." @clcolbert  

"The problem with pencils is that kids are going to use them to copy stuff out of books." @ericnentrup|

"Effective pencil-integration isn't about the pencil, it's about what you do with the pencil." @clsmithdpu

"We're pretty slow with the hunt-and-peck writing method. Any spelling errors are just mis-writes: 'pencil-o's. Not our fault." @theASIDEblog

"If the global supply chain ever confronted a shortage of No. 2 pencils, the American education system might collapse." @itsmelaurabeth

"When I buy pencils for classroom student use, it becomes an equity issue in the building." @gilkatgil


  1. With the appearance of technology in our instructional system, the faculties that almost all folks attended used chalkboards because the essential tool for education however has currently been replaced by academic games and academic kids toys . This is often not a theoretical belief that I actually have. it's a results of a recent visit to my daughter classroom over a year ago.


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