The pen and paper: An SOS story
What ever happened to learning with the classic pen and paper? The tactile experience of writing words? The cursive style? We live in a world where iPads and laptops are becoming more and more prominent in the classroom. While good productivity tools, using these machines have come with a price.
Bad handwriting and loss of detail, a modern tragedy.
I still remember the days when my second grade teacher made my whole class practice writing in cursive every morning. We would practice on wide-ruled paper and would take up two lines per sentence. Though this was a tedious process, I can appreciate the art of cursive and technical aspects of handwriting. Subconsciously, we were also learning to become organized note takers.
Organized hand writing may not be as crucial anymore because we have computers to organize our writing for us, but the reality is we need organized handwriting for other aspects of academia such as math. I notice every year that more and more students are resorting to mental math. When solving multi-step word problems, their notes are messy and severely disorganized. This leads to frivolous errors and for many students, frustration.
The Microsoft Surface; the answer?
At Hillview Prep, we are constantly finding new ways to make every instruction/learning process more efficient and effective. After trying several writing devices, an iPad and stylus, Wacom pen pads etc., I came across what I believe to be the most well-rounded and revolutionary product for education yet, the Microsoft Surface. I've tried the iPad Pro, which has an excellent writing experience, but has the limited multitasking abilities of iOS.
Integrating modern technology and productivity with classic writing.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Apple products, but I haven’t seen a more capable device that provides all the necessities and productivity features of a computer with an almost perfect emulation of pen on paper note taking than the Surface.
The Surface Pen feels and functions like an actual pen, with the proper pressure sensitivity, friction, and input quality. Microsoft’s OneNote software provides the writer with a virtual notepad with an abundance of options. OneNote allows you to select between a blank, lined, or graph paper with various sizes. We are able to input attachments including pictures taken from its camera and copy and paste our work. Our work is always saved as it is simultaneously synced to the cloud and we have instant access to our notes with the press of a button on Surface Pen.
Saving the art of writing.
I notice that the Surface draws and holds the attention of all my students. Growing up in a world filled with technology, they view writing with a pen and virtual paper as something new and refreshing (who would have thought writing with our hands would feel like a new experience??). Students are able to practice their handwriting and fundamentals of word structure, something that has been all but lost.