As I thought about the homework I was going to assign, I reflected on what I hoped the students would take from the experience. I knew that I did not need to see their responses. Whatever they were, it was not going to impact me. There were no grades for the class, so scoring was not relevant. The goal was learning and doing more because of what I had to share.
From what I could see, for a group of young individuals starting their own companies in the technology space, it would be critical to get them out of their comfort zones. Each needed to be away from her/his keyboard, screen, or touch device. No scribes were allowed. Dictation was not going to be accepted. The only form of communicating the answers to the homework would be pen and paper.
“Your homework is to answer the following questions. I do not need to see the answer. In reality, the only audience is you. I want you to research and reflect on each answer, then stop. After stopping some more, I want you to get pen and paper out – any form of writing instrument but no technology aid of any kind is allowed. Handwrite you answers.”
Across the generations, individuals have discovered the wonder of putting one’s thoughts and emotions into words on a piece of paper. As easy computers and tablets are, they take something away from the old school way of doing things. There is something about using your ability to control a pen or pencil on a piece of paper that is magical. One writer said it well; “And I, Paul—in my own handwriting!—send you my regards.” (1 Corinthians 16.21)
“As you write, reflect on what you are trying to say. Erase or start fresh if you need to. This is an important exercise.”
I have no idea how many followed by advice. I hope each rediscovered what it means to be alive, talk without interruption, and write down one’s thoughts even if s/he is the only person that will see it.