Stabbed With a Pencil


February 17, 2013 by Brad Currie

Why are we allowing our students to use pencils in the classroom setting? Based on a Google search that I conducted recently which you can see below, I was amazed at the number of pencil stabbing incidents that take place on a yearly basis. Don’t get me wrong, pencils are great and they do wonders for a student’s educational experience. Let’s be real though, when is the last time you heard someone saying they should not be allowed in school?

Yet many schools are still reluctant to infuse social media, mobile learning devices, and Web 2.0 tools as a way to engage learners because of the issues that could arise. How many times do you encounter a conversation amongst adults about how evil social media and cell phones are? On a daily basis school districts are drafting policies pertaining to the acceptable use of the internet, social media, and technology. Why not pencils as well? Based on my findings they seem just as dangerous as educational technology.

The point that I am trying to make is that it is no longer acceptable for school districts to prohibit mobile learning devices and social media in the school setting. I understand that these tools can be used inappropriately, but so can pencils and toilet paper. Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube are already being utilized by many school’s in so many positive ways. Cellphones, Smartphones, iPod Touch’s, iPads, and eReaders are being leveraged throughout the world to provide relevant learning experiences for students. As long as school stakeholders collectively work together to ensure educational technology is being utilized safely there is no reason why it shouldn’t be commonplace just like a pencil.



14 thoughts on “Stabbed With a Pencil

  1. Sue Dunlop says:

    Nicely done! You make your point well. What about adult learning sessions in your district? Do people have to put away their mobile devices?

  2. Excellent point! Now, what those annoying paper cuts? Accidental? Intentional? Inquiring minds want to know! #nomorepencilsorpaper

    • Brad Currie says:

      I hear that Barbara. Hopefully very soon our schools will be paperless and pencil less.

      • Carrie says:

        And hopefully when you say this you mean the upper grades and not the primary grades. We still need to learn to write. Other than that, great post! I think our district makes more decisions based on fear than on modern thinking.

  3. vatcherg says:

    I love your point! We just to make sure that technology is equitable for students. We need to make technology accessible for all our students— like the pencil.

  4. GREATNESS!! Pencils must be used for good and not evil!! I still have a lead stain in my hand from when I was stabbed with a pencil in the second grade…true story.
    Amazes me the conversations I have with colleagues who say “But what if they…?” “But how can I stop…??”
    Fear is the number one deterrent to progress.
    Great post!!

  5. Kaet99 says:

    Mr. Currie–totally agree that *all* tools that allow for deeper learning should be welcome in the classroom, but I will say there are more concerns now after watching my kids become completely distracted last week by a Twitter account created anonymously by a student to allow students to post “crushes” and “confessions.” It turned into the biggest cyber bullying nightmare I have seen at our high school–and sidelined all learning for the day. Fortunately, we were able to contact Twitter and have the account disabled, but that’s the fear of tech: it can be used in widely harmful and publicly destructive ways, unlike that one stray pencil or papercut. We cannot pretend that bad things are not going to happen. Tech requires constant vigilance and serious consideration of the applications. I love it and hate it but love it and want all my kids to have equal access while also learning tech etiquette.

    Concerned grammarian note: Check up on your apostrophe usage–they are not used to make things plural (school’s, iPod touch’s)

    • Brad Currie says:

      Thank you for your insight. Unfortunately I have encountered inappropriate use of social media as well. Bottom line is that kids make mistakes and therefore need to be held accountable and learn from their actions. Every known thing in our universe has a positive and negative side. All we can do is be safe and model appropriately. The grammar advice is greatly appreciated but know that I am not a professional writer and do the best I can. Keep fighting the good fight!

  6. […] our schools. Don’t believe me? Check out one of my blog posts from few months ago titled Stabbed With a Pencil. The bottom line is this, we must be willing to support the use of mobile learning devices in the […]

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Brad Currie

Brad Currie

Brad Currie is the Middle School Dean of Students and Supervisor of Instruction for the Chester School District in Chester, NJ. He is the co-founder and co-moderator of #Satchat on Twitter. Brad is passionate educational technology and social media in the school setting.

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