Learning on the Back of a Napkin

IMG_0504My friend Ben Wilkoff discussed in Google+ his renewed joy of writing when the napkin was the available tool. What is your learning on the back of a napkin, when the devices we’re attached to are put away? Do you make that choice?

I thought about it, a minute.

If it’s on paper, I’ll probably lose it. If I want to remember it, it goes on my device. I even attach my old Wacum tablet to my computer to handwrite sometimes. I want to be able to easily find and revise my ideas, and not have to retype them from that scrap of paper.

On the other hand, when I’m creating a video, that’s when I use sticky notes or a notepad and pen. I write down the info I need to easily track so I know what or who I’ve missed. I story board and arrange/rearrange the stickies for best organization. I revise one sticky on another one, and stick them together to save both drafts. That’s for in the moment project work.

But if the info is important, and I want to remember it, I snap a picture or compose on my device — in the cloud so it’s available when I need it.

And that’s strange because I love to write — I love watching my handwriting flow across the page in an artful way; but now that flow on paper is sloppy penmanship, barely readable. I am a calligrapher, but that’s art. Even when I did my sketch book project, I drafted the poem/story on the computer. The sketch book, though, is story art. So the writing on paper now, for me, is art; the idea on the paper needs to be available to me in the cloud.

And that’s why I prefer blogging to vlogging; I want the visible volume of word available; I don’t like to review or find a video of an idea. I use howto videos, but that’s different.

In the classroom, we choose — some prefer paper and pencil (they are slow at typing), while others will pop into their Google Doc and share their writing with me that way. We have paper journals, but some like to create a Google Presentation, and use that for their OWN (Online Writing Notebook) journal, a slide for a page. Some are quite artistic with them. We do lots of scratch paper writing — quick writes for checking understanding (I like to save trees, so we use tons of scratch paper). But it is a choice for students, for the mot part.

So what is the back of my napkin learning? the last resort if needed (it will become a picture to save or typed if to be remembered); art; a tic tac toe game with grandkids, a quick storyboard for an immediate project.

Thanks for the chance to write a blog here… not on paper, here. 🙂

Galit’s right — love the conversations that Ben sparks…

What about you, or your classroom — are their choices for tools, whether there be paper or device?

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