The Virtues of Paper

In our project discussions I have noticed that we always seem to end up scribbling on paper! As I have mostly worked in the e-learning sphere I have found this interesting and I have since noticed that many software developers carry a notebook – whereas as many e-learning types do not. I think I understand the reason for this after working for 3 years down at the University of the Arts London in the Centre for Learning and Teaching in Art and Design. I was working leading a series of open education projects there that were really interesting, one of the striking things I came across was the crucial role that sketchbooks played in art and design practice,  I was lucky enough to work with Stephen Farthing  the Professor of Drawing at Chelsea and Ed Webb Ingall and became aware of this and the importance of ‘drawing’ (and looking at text as a subset of drawing).

There is nothing quite so immediate and fluid as pen /pencil and paper for capture and sharing and sense making. To put things in context I regularly attend e-learning events (seminars, conferences etc) where the participants are mostly engaged with laptops, tablets and mobile phones – perhaps they are all taking notes and not curating their online professional identity :-). But while working in London I attended a Technology Strategy Board Funding (Now called Innovate UK) Competition briefing for video software and out of about 150 developers and techies I could only see notebooks and sketches, in fact the only digital device I could see was the PR person with the laptop at the back!

Anyway to prove a point here is a picture showing a row of early papr Clipper prototypes – at one point my laptop only seemed to be destined to create paper – and no bad thing!