We had an interesting discussion about paper with the representative from district office today.
"I need to know what type of paper we should use," the edu-crat explained.
"I think we can go with lined paper for us and let kids decide if they need any other type."
A teacher voiced her concerns, "That's not going to happen while I'm here. There are way too many platforms. How am I supposed to grade papers written on so many different types of paper?"
I decided to cut in at that point, "What if it's not about format but about learning? So, a kid wants to use the free lined paper donated by the folks who design paper. Maybe another kid wants to use the fancy iParchment that the professional artists use. Perhaps another one wants the MicroPaper that they use in the corporate world. One kid wants wide ruled and another uses college ruled. Is that such a bad thing?"
The district man explained, "I think the mere availability of paper makes it confusing when you ask for paper help from the district. Or, how about this: What if a student is using illegally-secured paper that he stole from a paper supplier? These are very real concerns. "
"I'll encourage students to use the free paper that is available to the public within the paper commons. It's a great place where you can take paper when you need. And as far as paper help, shouldn't a paper expert understand all paper platforms?"
The teacher glares at me and says, "If you think I'm going to accept work created with different types of paper, you're insane. What if a student gets it from a spiral notebook and I get frizzys on my desk? I can't have frizzys."
"So, you tell that student to cut and paste the work from the first paper into your paper platform. It's not that hard to do, really."
The edu-crat turns to me and explains, "Tom, I think you're outnumbered on this one. Our district only uses iParchment. I know it's expensive, but it's top-quality and it will last longer. Besides, it's what the professionals use. If students want to bring in their own paper, it has to be iParchment."