One of the greatest challenges for Educational Technologies is the concern that other human skills lose out and become irrelevant. For example, concerns remain strong that online learning could replace formal teaching entirely, with students missing out on many social and life skills offered in the hidden-curriculum.
Another art under threat with the advancement of technologies generally are concerns about the disappearance of handwriting skills. Handwriting, in society generally, has evolved over the years, with less focus on calligraphic-type presentation to more focus on getting students to write anything legible. In modern times, this focus has diminished even further, as keyboards and smart-devices predict and speed up the writing process digitally, along with astonishing advances in voice-to-text technologies taking out all the effort entirely (although unreliably), in producing the written word.
Schools are monotonously slow at implementing educational technologies, mainly due to financial constraints, the technical know-how of staff, and a lack of vision (or a fear of penalisation) from leaders. With researchers arguing that hand-written work is more positive for individuals when revising for exams, along with being a creative and reflective process for us all, it is understandable that many argue for keeping the art of handwriting throughout the school curriculum. Yet, there is a clash: Modern workplaces are filled with technology, keyboards, and smart technology that completely makes handwriting essentially redundant. How can schools make utilise the benefits of modern technologies, but maintain handwriting skills that are, let’s face it, a critical element to being literate and a crucial form of communicating?
This is where the Everlast Notebook could revolutionise the way schools maintain handwriting skills, along with utilising technology, to potentially save the school budget from rising under the strain of always buying exercise books. Let’s face it, when you think that each child probably has one exercise book for each subject (let’s assume 8 subjects, as an example) over an academic year, over a ten year period, that’s 80 books for each child. Do the maths to work out how many exercise books that is for a whole year group! Yes, it’s a lot.
Currently on KickStarter, exceeding it’s target ten-fold at the time of writing, the Everlast notebook provides a classic pen and paper experience, yet is built for the digital age. Although it feels like a traditional notebook, the Everlast is endlessly reusable and connects to cloud services.
When you write using any pen from the Pilot Frixion line, your writing sticks to Everlast pages like regular paper. But add a drop of water… and the notebook erases like magic.
The project inventors say that they worked closely with paper industry experts to find the optimal synthetic polyester blend to create pages that could be wiped clean of Frixion ink, but also felt perfectly natural to write on. Writing on an Everlast page feels just like writing on regular paper with a smooth finish.
The seven symbols at the bottom of each page are the magic “buttons” behind the Rocketbook’s quick and easy cloud organisation. You assign each icon to the destination of your choice.
So what? Where cold this fit into education?
The 7 symbols at the foot of each page are a critical element, as they signify where the scanned page goes digitally, before the teacher/student erases the page using a damp cloth. This may sound like a small whiteboard, yet it is not-erasable using a dry cloth, or a finger. But imagine a student creating work in a History lesson, and towards the end, the page is captured, with a digital copy going to the teacher, and another copy to a portfolio assigned to each student. Then the student goes along to a maths class, using the same exercise book, and completes an exercise further along in the book, again being scanned at the end of the session for the teacher, and also to their maths.
This article is not advocating that you dash over to Kickstarter to back the project, but it was the mix of analogue and digital that caught our eye, and the potential that this kind of technological advancement could have in education. The Everlast Notebook isn’t a completed product yet for education, but with a further advances and development, it is the sort of product that could save schools thousands in budgets for buying exercise books; keep a focus on developing handwriting skills, and; integrate analogue and digital technologies into a format that is comfortable for teachers and students.
We have backed this project, and cannot wait to get our hands on the notebooks to see how they work in practice, and to explore how the notebooks could potentially reduce the number of exercise books needed by students and schools.