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back to article Charity chief: Get with it, gov - kids shouldn't have to write by hand

The chief of a charity dedicated to helping Britons learn digital skills has claimed handwritten exams could be hampering boys' academic success. Graham Walker, CEO of tech skills charity Go ON UK, demanded that political parties drop their obsession with handwriting and set a date when all exams will be taken online. His …

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This is cobblers. Why can't we use pens any more? Online exams means a Vietnam/Indian/Myamar marking syndicate can mark a child's English paper allowing "large publishers" to make even more money on the back of the kids' education! Teach kids stuff, not how to fill in online multi-choice questions.

We appear obsessed with everyone being 'digital aware' yet who on this forum has actually been taught to type at a reasonable speed? Basic reqirement number 1 which used to take two year's training ...

By the way, the last time employers marked me on a piece on hand written work was when I applied for jobs ( "... must be handwritten ..." )!

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Write or rong?

I have troubles physically using a pen.

Bits of me just don't seem to work in the way they ought to and I had an awful time at school because of it.

It took discussion groups at work 20 years later for me to realise I had 'language' simply because it was the first time I was in a position to be able to use words without going through the distracting struggle of the physicality of writing. I won't get past the two- finger typing' but at least I no longer have to believe the notion that I was 'Thick' simply because I had motor problems.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Write or rong?

I too have a 'Learning Difficulty' in that I have a form of dyslexia (I can read but have trouble writing - though not typing), and I am attention deficit. These labels are crazy, I always learned things I just couldn't write them down. I got bored because I am intelligent and understood things the first time they were explained to me, rather than the second or third like the rest of the class. Computerised exams would have been a huge boon to me too.

I do think though that handwriting is equally important and should be tested, because a pencil doesn't need an electricity supply, but...

I think there is not enough emphasis in school over correctness in language. It annoys me that people don't know the difference between "there", "their" and "they're". That people don't know that could've is short for "could have" not "could of". That it is the "number of people" not the "amount of people". When people use the word "myself" when they mean "me". When I fill in a form and I am asked for my gender - I don't have a gender, but my sex is male. These things are more important than how we are tested.

I could go on for pages, but it won't change anything, so I'll shut up now.

</RANT>

P.S. This is a tech site. Many of you will be programmers. How does your computer react when you use the wrong word or syntax? Shouldn't people expect to be treated at least as well as a machine you are going to dump in 4 years time?

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Re: Write or rong?

I had a similar problem, my eyesight is terrible which hampered my handwriting (doctor level handwriting) took me twice as long to write things as everybody else, hence why I did things on the computer.

On the one hand I think that giving exams in pen and paper is a good thing, for those with good handwriting it's an optimal choice, but at the same time those who aren't good with forms and paperwork and writing should be given the option of using computers

I'm actually terrible at filling in paperwork too, if it's on a piece of paper in front of me it's like it's gibberish, I have to read and re-read several times, moment it's on a computer screen though it's easy as pie. I actually took to scanning in forms I needed to fill out, and adding text areas so I could fill them in on the computer purely so I can delete and edit bits where I make mistakes. Used to be I had to ask for several copies of forms for when I made mistakes.

Back to original point on this. I think it'd be nice having digital as an option for students, so they can do things in a way that suits their personal abilities rather than the status quo. Otherwise we'll wind up having the computer illiterate failing for the same reasons the handwrighting illiterate failed.

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I agree with your comments. Online exams are OK for testing people’s memory for things learned rote, but not so well at testing how well you understand what has been learnt and how good you are at communicating that knowledge to others. You are correct about the need to teach everyone how to use a keyboard correctly is one basic skill that should be taught at school. Being able to touch type would be a great boost to productivity in most offices. I'm surprised that very few organisations take the trouble to even offer training to touch type to their staff

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This may be unpopular but as an employer, even one that needs a decent level of technology skills, this give them ipads and don't worry if they can count or write attitude sneaking into education worries me.

I use technology fairly extensively, down to using gps to keep track of where 2nd shooters, videogs and assistants are on a shoot, and I've never met anyone who couldn't get their heads round a different type of phone or desktop os etc within a few hours. Even people who have come from a film \ darkroom only background pickup the digital workflow with help. Training someone to write legibly has proven impossible. My handwriting is poor unless I take care, so I take care. I would far rather have someone who can write, count and think who needs teaching specific job related skills than the other way around. For sure teach the kids about technology, but teach them useful aspects and don't do it as the expense of important life skills. I do realise there are people who have genuine difficulty writing, that must blow, but I bet you, possibly more than anyone, appreciate what a useful skill it is.

Rather than listening to someone whose job it is to advocate digitising every aspect of our lives, listen to experts on child development and employers.

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Re: Write or rong?

My experience was similar, luckily my mum taught me to type, and by high school they'd at least diagnosed I had a real problem. And pretty soon after I started work computers arrived. All of which helped. So my conclusion is slightly different, in that I think the enabling technology should be provided if needed, but not universally. And it needs to extend into the workplace, e.g. not demanding handwriiten application forms.

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Childcatcher

Online or typed

I think there's a big gulf between actual online tests with electronic marking etc. and simply letting students type their answers instead of using a pen: Even if they have to be printed onto paper for the examiners.

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Anonymous Coward

"You are correct about the need to teach everyone how to use a keyboard correctly is one basic skill that should be taught at school. Being able to touch type would be a great boost to productivity in most offices"

In certain Central European countries renowned for their skilled and efficient workforce, kids *do* learn to touch type in school. However, exams (and they have lots of them!) are hand-written, and it better be readable or your answers won't be marked.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Write or rong?

"When I fill in a form and I am asked for my gender - I don't have a gender, but my sex is male."

Everybody has a gender. Sex is defined by what is between your legs, gender, by what's between your ears. When a form asks for your gender it's because they want to know how you live: it's possible for the two to be different. In the simplest case, consider somebody who is going to have a sex change operation.

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Devil

You sure this isn't an episode from The Thick Of It?

Being cheeky, Liverpool digital skills..is that how to flog stolen laptops in a pub?

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Really?

Bring your own devices? Why don't they just fill in the answers?

I've got shit handwriting. It's barely legible. I still managed to get through school and university though. Being able to stab your finger at a tablet is not a skill that any employer is going to value. In fact, if someone sent me a CV saying that they were able to use a tablet or laptop, I'd laugh.

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Good grief!

> Boys are not the most natural writers.

Rubbish.

It's apologists like this guy, who are willing to accept low standards that is the main cause of british kids' academic decline. Lowering the level of acceptable behaviour to include the worst performers (whether due to lack of natural talent, opportunities or parental/educational indifference is a separate problem that should be dealt with) does a huge disservice to those children who DO pay attention in school. Who DO do what they are told and who spend time on academic exercises rather than sitting (or being sat) in front of the TV all their waking hours.

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Windows

Re: Good grief!

This excuse is one of the reasons GENUINE standards will not rise quickly or easily, the system is packed with apologists who are always ready with an excuse for the systems failures - witness the BBC story about Kent school children in nappies, the School Health Visitor blamed it on the nappies being too good!!!!

Of course these people will LOVE the BYOD suggestion, every child going into an exam with all the answers on their DDOP (Digital Device of Preference), means everyone should get at least an "C" (some are so dumb they will still get the answers wrong), even if they are unable to grasp a crayon*

I can still remember being frisked for Casio watch calculators before going into the exam hall ("O" Level/CSE Maths exams 1981)

*Note: I am not talking about genuine disabilities here, using a digital device under supervision is the best way for them.

Windows User - I look out of them every day.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Good grief!

Yes, by inference writing must be an activity only for girls.

Though might explain why Bic brought out pens 'For Her'.

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Re: Good grief!

"*Note: I am not talking about genuine disabilities here, using a digital device under supervision is the best way for them."

The problem here is that a new 'genuine disability' will be created for everyone who is a bit 'fick.

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Re: Good grief!

Delete the word 'British' from you statement and it is still true.

Yes when I was in school it was the girls who got most of the attention in writing class, but some of the best stuff was written by the boys. Granted, like a number of other posters I got better after I had a typewriter, but the writing bit was important.

Ironically it was just this weekend that my dad was lamenting that actual writing with a pencil or pen was becoming a lost art because of the computerization of schools.

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In some regards, he has a point though

At A-Level, I studied Double Maths, Physics, Chemistry, General Studies.

My performance in General Studies (the exam I took involved 3 hours of solid essay-writing) suffered dramatically because I just couldn't write for that length of time. I was crippled with cramp for the last hour of the exam - I got to write only a fraction of what I wanted to, and my grade undoubtedly suffered as a result.

The people who were studying English Lit, History etc, who were used to writing for that period of time, had a huge advantage over someone who was used to scrawling equations and formulae, and very little prose.

Granted, there is an art to essay-planning when you are hand-writing an essay, but I don't see how that is actually a relevant skill these days. If you've got 3 hours to produce some content, it's the quality of the end result that matters, not how you got there. With a computer you could effectively spend 2 hours vomiting ideas all over a page, and an hour tidying it up, and without the constraints you have to set at the outset of a hand-written essay, you may arguably end up with a better outcome.

Anyway, fast-forward 4 years to my University Finals, where, in an Objected Oriented Programming module, I found myself having to write about 20 sides of code on A4 using pen and paper. It turns out I got marked down for using ditto marks to speed the job up and avoid the cramp that had crippled me in the past. Bonkers. If I'd been on a computer, I'd have copy/pasted a bunch of lines and made the relevant changes. Instead of marking me based on what I knew and what I could produce in terms of working code, I was marked on the basis of being able to write it using pen and paper, which is a completely meaningless exercise.

Similarly, when was the last time, at work, I was appraised on something handwritten? Never.

I have to say, BYOD for exams is a bonkers concept though.

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Re: In some regards, he has a point though

Agreed about the time factor. I assume that those who set exams reckon that as long as they can write down the specimen answers from the marking scheme in the time available, the time is long enough and students who need longer to write their own answers deserve to be penalised. I wonder, though, if it wouldn't be a better test of academic achievement if students were given twice as long, so that everyone had enough to time write down their best answers.

I'd also point out that I can produce a reasonable diagram or map with a pencil and paper in about a tenth of the time it takes to persuade some wretched drawing package to do it. In the sciences or humanities, that's quite important. In maths, too, I can scribble working far faster (and better laid out) than I can with the (otherwise beautiful) software methods. This proposal only works for exams that are just essay writing.

Also agreed about BYOD. Great way to give an advantage to better off students who can bring their own devices rather than use the rubbish ones provided for free, Also, the "best" students can prepare their device the night before with lots of stuff that doesn't show up on a cursory scan but is magically enabled during the period of the exam itself as long as the right fingerprints are present.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: In some regards, he has a point though

> I found myself having to write about 20 sides of code on A4 using pen and paper.

Assuming 30 lines of code per side that is 600 lines of code they are expecting you to write in a couple of hours. Either the examiner hasn't got a clue how to test students, you misunderstood the question and it only required a few lines of pseudo code, or you are making it up.

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Trollface

Re: In some regards, he has a point though

Dijkstra would write 5 lines, then add the proof for another 20 lines....

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Pint

Re: In some regards, he has a point though

Stu J: "The people who were studying English Lit, History etc, who were used to writing for that period of time, had a huge advantage over someone who was used to scrawling equations and formulae, and very little prose."

This tells me you had almost no general education whatsoever. That you couldn't think or express yourself clearly and concisely outside of an equation.

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Re: In some regards, he has a point though

"If you've got 3 hours to produce some content, it's the quality of the end result that matters, not how you got there."

Bollocks! It's very important to understand how you got there, if I am testing someone for their ability in my subject area I am more interested on their thought processes rather than the end result.

" It turns out I got marked down for using ditto marks to speed the job up and avoid the cramp that had crippled me in the past. Bonkers. If I'd been on a computer, I'd have copy/pasted a bunch of lines and made the relevant changes."

That kind of suggests you missed the point of OOP. If you find you having to duplicate lots of code (copy/paste/ditto) then you've got your model wrong, especially in an academic exam!

BYOD to exams seems to be pandering to the minority here. I am sure there are exceptions to this, be it some sort of learning difficulty or other and they should be helped... but this should not be the norm otherwise in 20 years time we will start to lose the ability to write. We already have a generation of people that struggle more with basic maths without a calculator.

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Re: In some regards, he has a point though

I took a similar set. General studies - not a problem, I had been writing through O level and then both my physics and chemistry required a certain amount of clear, concise english.

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Re: In some regards, he has a point though

Completely agree - diagrams and equations, hand-written all the way.

Even now at work, I draw diagrams on whiteboards, and photographs of the whiteboard go into draft documents. I get someone lower paid who's not a thinker, but who's actually good with Visio or A.N.Other tool to actually turn them into digital diagrams.

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Re: In some regards, he has a point though

The 20 sides was all of the questions in a 3 hour exam, and includes brackets, variable declarations, and so on.

And given this is academia, I'd go with the first explanation - the examiners didn't have a clue. We were all equally disadvantaged, so I'm not whinging about it being explicitly fair/unfair, just that a hand-written exam where you're asking people to produce hundreds of lines of code is a ridiculous way of examining programming ability.

And some of this was just repetition from one question to the next, to be honest; e.g. "Define a class that does X and Y". "Now define a class that does X slightly tweaked, Y slightly tweaked, and Z" - mindless repetition and copying that would have been a doddle if Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V had been available...

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Re: In some regards, he has a point though

Your reply tells me that you clearly missed my point, and are sufficiently foolish to jump to conclusions and bandy insults around based on your misinterpretations. I can think outside of an equation, could do then, and still can now. I got a high B grade in General Studies despite not being able to finish the paper properly.

For two years of study at A-Level, I had not had the *need* to write anything other than equations, formulae, and the odd sentence, because that was the demand of those subjects. Two years of low-level usage of the muscles in my hand needed to write. I didn't spend my evenings at home practicing writing, beyond doing my A-Level homework - I was 16/17/18 - I was down the pub, chasing girls. But, all of a sudden, you are expected to spend 3 hour exams doing solid writing. It's not something you can just switch on...

If you jog 3 miles a day, 5 days a week, for 2 years, and then I ask you to run for 3 hours solid, do you think your body could do it? Muscles are trained over time. The people who had been training their hands to be able to write for 3 hours at a time (generally arts students) produced 2-3x more output than the scientists in the General Studies exam. It's no co-incidence.

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Re: In some regards, he has a point though

"Bollocks! It's very important to understand how you got there, if I am testing someone for their ability in my subject area I am more interested on their thought processes rather than the end result."

Agreed. And in all of my mathematical and scientific exams, proof of working was key, and was what got you most of the marks. But to an examiner marking an essay, they have no real proof of the thought process; essay plans and rough notes don't get handed in and marked. All they mark on is the end result, ergo for those exams, that's what actually counts.

"That kind of suggests you missed the point of OOP. If you find you having to duplicate lots of code (copy/paste/ditto) then you've got your model wrong, especially in an academic exam!"

As I've mentioned elsewhere, a lot of it was the structure of the questioning. I'm extremely capable of OOP, and I find it mildly amusing/insulting that ignorant commentards on here should start pointing the finger at me, rather than the insane format of the exam and the questioning. I wasn't the only one who came out of that exam swearing, and trying to hunt down the academic in question so we could throw him off the nearest tall building. The exam was so crap that the mark distribution from the 30th to 70th centiles was 5%, meaning that one mark cost you a degree class on that paper.

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FAIL

Re: In some regards, he has a point though

"But, all of a sudden, you are expected to spend 3 hour exams doing solid writing. It's not something you can just switch on..."

See icon.

The other day, spent forever and a day in a waiting room. I wanted to make a rough of an API so it would take form rather than being a jumble of conflicting ideas in my head. Now, I type all the time, this, emails, code. Pretty much the only handwriting I do is sign stuff or stick post-it notes on to things. I just couldn't face trying to write something complex using the draggy-swipey of a mobile phone. So I put 20p in the photocopier and copied two empty pages, borrowed a pen from the receptionist, and filled three sides of A4. There is something warm and inviting about an empty piece of paper; a sort of time where all the possibilities in the world lay before you. You can solve difficult equations, you can write a love letter, you can make a shopping list, or doodle a chick with manga eyes and a sword the side of a house fighting an army of rampaging mobile phones...

In short, yes, I turned on the ability to write for hours and hours. Those who cannot were probably never able to in the first place. And I fear that half-assed comments such as that by Mr. Walker will rob people of the ability to do even that much.

"If you jog 3 miles a day, 5 days a week, for 2 years, and then I ask you to run for 3 hours solid, do you think your body could do it? Muscles are trained over time."

I presume by running you mean full-on being-chased-by-zombies style running, instead of a gentle jog? I wonder how many people here would truthfully be able to leg it for three hours solid. I know I couldn't.

However, there is a world of difference between running (which requires muscle training to do well, but most of all shedloads of stamina and energy) and... writing. I can understand writing being tiring if you are the sort of person that presses so hard you leave tracks on the surface of the table, but that's because... "you're holding it wrongly" (boom!).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: In some regards, he has a point though

> But to an examiner marking an essay, they have no real proof of the thought process; essay plans and rough notes don't get handed in and marked. All they mark on is the end result, ergo for those exams, that's what actually counts.

When writing an essay in an exam you are usually expected to also provide any plans and/or notes you have made when writing that essay.

> just that a hand-written exam where you're asking people to produce hundreds of lines of code is a ridiculous way of examining programming ability.

Your answer simply does not ring true. Throughout a course like that you have lab work that counts towards your final mark. It is in the lab that you write actual code. The exam will test you on the theory, for example, it might ask how you would go about designing an airline ticketing system, but it would never ask you to write the code for one. Apart from anything else, an examiner has to read and understand what you have written and deciphering 600 lines of hand written code for correctness (and I'm including comments and even blank lines in that 600) is a near impossibility. You must also realise that any exam set in a University will have to be approved by that University’s own exam board and will be subject to a review by external examiners. It is therefore highly unlikely that any question requiring 600 lines of code would be approved.

Perhaps to you could point me to the University, year and course the exam was from so I can retrieve the question and see for myself.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: In some regards, he has a point though

You do realise you we're probably supposed to inherit from your earlier classes?

The other problem with this is that these sort of questions were on finals? What sort of second rate university did you attend?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: In some regards, he has a point though

"My performance in General Studies (the exam I took involved 3 hours of solid essay-writing) suffered dramatically because I just couldn't write for that length of time. I was crippled with cramp for the last hour of the exam"

Ah, the hand cramps! :) Guess what, you're not the only one to have had them, even though I'd actually prepared myself by writing instead of typing my notes the weeks before, I still ended up getting those.

It would have never occurred to me blaming my lack of performance on a wimpy hand cramp though.

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Boffin

Re: In some regards, he has a point though

@Stu - correct. I grew up having to write everything by hand and as a result by handwriting was pretty good and I could write pretty quickly. That was a long time ago. Now when I try to write more than a few sentences at a time, it's a mess. The muscle memory (and conditioning) in my hand is gone. Now it's my typing I need to worry about. Voice dictation is good enough that I'm typing a lot less frequently these days.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: In some regards, he has a point though

"My performance in General Studies (the exam I took involved 3 hours of solid essay-writing) suffered dramatically because I just couldn't write for that length of time."

Not sure what you are saying here. Did you not know beforehand that 3 hours of essay writing was required for the exam? Was it sprung on you out of the blue? If you are going to take an exam and be bothered about the outcome it usually behoves to do some preparation. Just my opinion.

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@StuJ : Judging people by having to understand what they're trying to express

"Similarly, when was the last time, at work, I was appraised on something handwritten? Never."

Don't fool yourself. Every time someone reads something you wrote by hand, they're getting an impression of you, even if neither of you realise it. If they struggle to understand what you're trying to express every time, it'll become part of their opinion of you, whether you/they realise it or not.

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@Stu J 17:29 GMT

But to an examiner marking an essay, they have no real proof of the thought process;

Complete bollocks. If it's a multiple choice exam yes, it's only the results that count. If you turn in an essay, any essay, after I've read it I've got a pretty good idea what your thought process is. In an essay, even a short one like a post on a blog, your line of reasoning, or lack thereof, becomes immediately apparent. In general arts sections I've always done better when I could write an essay than when I had a multiple choice exam for exactly that reason.

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I resemble that remark

you are the sort of person that presses so hard you leave tracks on the surface of the table, but that's because... "you're holding it wrongly" (boom!)."

I usually write on stone, fiberboard, or hard plastic surface because I, um, er , ah,... hold a pencil like that.

And well,... he's still full of rubbish.

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And so...

The Dumbing-Down of Britain can be satisfactorily completed.

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WTF?

You gotta be bloody joking?!

Yes, IT skills, even to a basic level, are important to possess, but the ability to write - for example, your signature, writing your address, or even noting down the registration of the vehicle that just rumped you up the backside in traffic - is even more important. Imagine what might happen if the battery goes down on your device, or there's a power cut, and all you have is a scribble stick and a bit of kitchen roll, and you need to make a quick note about something. Can't write? Then you're buggered - and that's being sodding polite about it.

This charity chief is quite frankly the biggest waste of oxygen I've heard of in a long time.

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The difference is deeper

Graham Walker talks about what employers want. He apparently doesn't see education as a means to enable people to take part in society, he sees education only a means to make people employable. Such people generally want education stripped of all non-essential parts to create cheaply and efficiently programmed people only doing and knowing what they are supposed to do. This is one of those ideas which sound reasonable at first... until you'll notice that those people don't have any visions, creativity or even knowledge to do anything different. Companies employing those will end up loosing their capability to innovate.

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Devil

Re: The difference is deeper

I don't think "employers" want any of that since the industrial revolution came and went.

Maybe people steeped in rank socialist lore think employers want that? The satanic mills of webdesign and all that stuff....

Of course, one can always get a job at a gov. outfit, illiteracy, venality and total incompetence are not a stop to getting to work through people's tax returns...

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Re: You gotta be bloody joking?!

You do realize that all that waffle is good for getting government money don't you? In fact I would go further and say the main object of it is to keep those at the top of the 'charity' in the manor to which they have become accustomed by using tax payers money and has little or nothing to do with raising the level of educational standards.

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Anonymous Coward

FFS

It's not like if we switched over to a system based on computing devices the ability to write to a reasonable level would be eradicated. Walker has a point; having kids writing pages upon pages by hand, not just for exams but in the education system in general is backward.

I'd propose that the critics commentating so far would be more sympathetic to the idea if their employers were to dictate they had to use paper and pen rather than the convenience of a computer, and realise just how antiquated a method it is.

The objection to BYOD seems dated as well, I wonder how long it's been since some of you were at school. Exams aren't a serious of "when was the Battle of Hasting?"-esque questions anymore. They're mainly open book and require you to demonstrate a deeper knowledge of the subject than simply memorising facts.

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Re: FFS

"if their employers were to dictate they had to use paper and pen..."

Oh, they do. I've spent the last 25 years in research and engineering and everywhere I've worked I've had to keep notebooks written in ink even though most of my work involves sitting infront of a computer, the premise being that dated and signed off ideas in a notebook are easier to use as evidence of precidence when it comes to IP disputes.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: FFS

"a deeper knowledge of the subject than simply memorising facts."

I thought brainless unquestioning fact-memorisation was exactly what Gove wanted from his trainee wageslaves. It may not be what the country in general needs, but it's what the 1% want.

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Headmaster

Classroom control

Teacher: "copy page 10 and shut the f**k up"

20 min of peace (child reads text at least once)

Future Teacher: "copy page 10 and..."

10 seconds later (CMD-C/V)

Child: "done"

Child goes back throwing chairs etc.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: FFS

It's NOT what the 1% want, or at least not the 1% you're thinking of. The Capitalists you're thinking of need people to produce products. To work, to learn and grow and become more valuable to them.

The ones who want mindless obedience are the Socialist and communist lot, forever pushing for greater state control over a brainless collective who are free from any driving force, and the useless rich- the leaders of government-backed monopolistic wastes like BT, BAE, increasingly the movie and film industries- and the rabble from the article.

Also, can't forget the dumb fucks we have as a Tory party at the moment, brought up surrounded by this lot and with a corrupted worldview.

A proper Capitalist would welcome a healthy supply of very clever, very healthy workers as it would drive down the cost for a certain level of employee, improve fault finding and general company efficiency, increase autonomy so they could save on tiers of managers, and give people an incentive to improve further.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: FFS

"A proper Capitalist would welcome a healthy supply of very clever, very healthy workers as it would drive down the cost for a certain level of employee, improve fault finding and general company efficiency, increase autonomy so they could save on tiers of managers, and give people an incentive to improve further."

Maybe so, that is after all very similar to the "continuous improvement" mantra where the employees are often said to be the company's most valuable asset, but the modern US and the UK are both largely corporatist not capitalist.

If they were capitalist, the failed banks would have been allowed to go bust, and employees wouldn't frequently get treated like sh1t and get their jobs transferred to a lower cost provider (either via TUPE-like transfers or via offshoring or whatever). BT and BAe would also be rather different than they are today.

Compliance with the masters is welcomed in a corporatist environment, whereas suggesting different (more effective) ways of doing things frequently leads to being branded "not a team player".

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Re: FFS

Exactly, every lab I ever worked in and often every researcher in it has a physical log book, detailing all work for that day, methods, results and thinking cross signed each day. Sure you probably could actually make a more secure way using ipads or something like that, but honestly what do we gain by actively trying to eradicate any need to write. Writing is a very useful skill, one many people find a need for during their careers and life outside work.

We seem to be on this ridiculous trip about making exams easier. Modular exams, byod, reducing the syllabus etc. Exams are supposed to be hard. If you want kids to do better, teach them better. Teach them coping methods for exams, teach them revision techniques. This is nothing more than fiddling the books to make the sales look better. Getting better results takes work, both from teachers (who need better support from the government and from some parents) and from the pupils. We need to stop kidding ourselves and taking the double glazing route, these kids will be paying our pensions, unless we really love baked beans on toast we should do a decent job of it!

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Bronze badge
FAIL

Re: FFS

It does seem as if that's the new direction of travel, and some of the objections here doseemto ocme from the same "back to the 50s" viewpoint.

Using a pen for note taking is a different skill from using one to produce completed work and final drafts.

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