12 Reasons to Ditch the Pen - Why it's no longer mightiest against the sword by Lisa Nielsen

12 Reasons to Ditch the Pen - Why it's no longer mightiest against the sword by Lisa Nielsen

Yesterday, I was teaching a workshop with Marc Prensky where he was talking to literacy teachers about the digitization of books and writing. As we discussed the death of books, many still held on tightly to the concept of the outdated relics. I love the feel, the smell, the page...Yada, yada, yada. I’ve written many times about the death of books and paper as you can read below.

-A few strong cases for ditching the paper and letting books grow digital wings
-Shed the Paper and Allow Books to Grow their Digital Wings
-Social Books Unlock Reader’s Voice and Provide Opportunity for Conversation
-iPads? Eh! Social Reading from Your Phone? Now That's Innovation!
-Ditch Paper and Get to the Thinking Faster.
-How I Lost 20 Pounds in One Month On a Paperless Diet
-Read and Personalize Books for Free with MeeGenius
-Innovative Ideas for Using Cell Phones to Summarize and Take Notes
-What Might a 21st Century Literacy Class Look Like? This!
-Reading 2.0: Where is the Love?
-The End of Books? (For Me, At Least?) - Will Richardson

  • But I love the feel of the pen on the page.
  • Taking notes (an outdated skill) with a pen helps me understand what I’m hearing.
  • I need an ink pen to be able to capture my thoughts, the keyboard just isn’t the same.

My advice: Get over it and join the 21st century so you can be relevant to yourself, your colleagues, and most importantly your students.

Why? Because...

Ditching pens allows you to do more, do it faster, do it more efficiently / effectively, and most importantly share it with an audience.

Here’s why...

12 Reasons Writing Digital is Mightier than Pen and Ink

1- It’s faster

  • The average human being hand writes at 31 words per minute.
  • With training (1 semester class) a human can become a beginner touch typist at 40 wpm and with a second class about 70 wpm.
  • Touch typists can learn to type 50 - 60 wpm with their thumbs in a month.
  • I haven’t hand written in years so probably am slower than this.
  • I type 67 wpm according to TypeRacer.
  • I type 60 wpm according to my self test.

2-It’s easily editable

  • Copy, paste, organize and move text seamlessly.
  • Never have to recopy.

3-It’s instantly and easily shareable with others

  • Simply share your writing with others by sending them the link to your writing or emailing them an attachment.

4-It’s easily editable by others

  • Once they have your writing they simply use their keyboard from wherever they are an can edit your writing.

5-It’s more efficient

  • It kills me when I am in a meeting watching someone hand write notes that they will later spend an hour typing up. Save an hour and type the notes. Then leave work an hour early or take a long lunch :-))
  • It also kills me that people see I have a computer and say, “you take the notes.” No thank you.
  • Bring your own keyboard. I don’t take traditional notes so you won’t understand what I write and if you hold me back to traditional note taking methods am not effectively able to make meaning of what is happening.

6-It allows you to get to the thinking faster (Thanks Pamela Livingston for this one)

  • With a keyboard you don’t need to waste your time figuring out spelling and grammar. You can thumb or type at the speed of thought without ideas getting lost in the process because you are provided spelling and grammar suggestions as well as synonyms when you “just can’t think of a word.”

7-It is with you wherever you go

  • If you use your Smartphone or Laptop for writing you’ll have your work wherever you go. You can replace, “I’ll get that to you when I’m back at the office going through my files.” with “Here ya go.”
  • If you’re like me and type everything in Google docs, your work is with you even without your own laptop, accessible instantly on the computer of whomever is requesting the document.

8-It lets you get rid of the clutter

  • I remember the days of notebooks, binders, and folders that over took my small (by outside Manhattan standards) New York City apartment. I finally moved them into a storage unit that I pay for monthly five years ago. Since then I stopped using paper so I’ll never need more storage space and my apartment is free from that clutter.

9-It lightens the load

  • No need to carry all those little notebooks, binders, and folders that are crowding your briefcases and backpacks. It all neatly fits in your digital device. I always get compliments on my beautiful and sleek bag that I travel with. I never have a need for more because my writing is digital.

10-It is searchable

  • When you write digitally you never have to sort through pages of notebooks, papers, or files. Just enter in the document name or keyword. Poof, you have what you’re looking for. I particularly like to do this when travelling. In my blackberry I have the name of the cities I’ve travelled to and notes about them. When I go back, I just type in the city and wa-la, I have all my notes.

11-It enables you to share ideas and make meaning

  • One of my favorite ways to capture important ideas is through the use of Twitter. I share ideas or questions via Twitter which also feeds to Facebook. My friends and followers answer questions, extend the thinking, and in the process help me make meaning of what it is I’m capturing. Rather than death by paper, my note or idea becomes a Global conversation.

12-It enables you to publish easily

  • When I record my ideas digitally I can instantly publish them in any number of mediums i.e. this blog, a wiki, Google doc, etc.

There you have it. 12 reasons to ditch the pen and go digital -- and it’s friendly for the environment, too.

Cross posted at The Innovative Educator, International Edublogger, International EduTwitter, and Google Certified Teacher, Lisa Nielsen is best known as creator of The Innovative Educator blog and Transforming Education for the 21st Century learning network. An outspoken and passionate advocate of innovative education Ms. Nielsen is covered by local and national media for her views on "Thinking Outside the Ban" and determining ways to harness the power of technology for instruction and providing a voice to educators and students. Based in New York City, Ms. Nielsen has worked for more than a decade in various capacities helping schools and districts to educate in innovative ways that will prepare students for 21st century success.

Disclaimer: The information shared here is strictly that of the author and does not reflect the opinions or endorsement of her employer.