#PenATweet by @TeacherToolkit and @JeanEd70

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A few weeks ago I posted an article exploring some issues around The importance of #handwriting. It stirred up a huge amount of interest from teachers across the world. This is part 2 of a 3-blog follow-up to my original article …



In a BBC News article, the art of handwriting has been under scrutiny after new figures show that two-thirds of teachers admit not giving students the marks they deserve because of poor writing.

“… electronic methods of communicating – email, Twitter, Facebook – have more or less replaced the need for pen and ink. Most of us today don’t even sign cheques, and legal documents are just as valid online as they are in print.” (Can signatures survive the digital age?)

Looking back to when I first posted this photograph on Twitter, a huge number of readers started to do the same. This raised some very important issues  – surprisingly – about learning to write.

Thinking about handwriting
Thinking about handwriting

“As interactive technology becomes ubiquitous around the globe, some experts warn that formal handwriting may soon diminish, rendering the penmanship a relic of the past.” (Is handwriting still important?)

The concept:

During that day a large number of people tweeted examples of their handwriting. It was lovely to see many teachers embracing their own handwriting – warts and all – and sharing their own shortcomings. I even received this video tutorial about grip. There are countless examples at the bottom of this blog. Then, later on in the evening of 29th May 2014, @JeanEd70 tweeted this photo which led to the both of us suggesting that 1st of July, #PenATweet day.

by @JeanEd70
by @JeanEd70


On Tuesday 1st July, Jean Edwards and I have anointed this day as ‘annual #PenATweet day to celebrate all things handwritten. As the digital era grows larger, the need for handwriting must remain a priority in all schools, as well as a priority for all parents and teachers. The cognitive argument that writing by hand has advantages for learning cannot be replicated in other ways. The act of writing by hand has been proven to help individuals remember knowledge and skills better.

So, get involved – perhaps consider a project in your own school too – and follow the simple guidelines below.

PenATweet Handwriting

What to do?

What we would like you to do is this.

  1. In every tweet, use the #PenATweet hashtag.
  2. If at all possible, ensure that there is nothing else written into the tweet. Let the handwritten photograph tweet do the talking.
  3. Be creative, consider a small activity in your school and tweet along to #PenATweet. Spread the word and be creative!
  4. Focus your #PenATweet messages on these topics: education, teaching, school, handwriting, spelling, grip, communication and language.
  5. Let’s celebrate the importance of handwriting in the midst of a digital era.

I will tweet my own #PenATweet images on Tuesday 1st July 2014 at the following times: 7am, 8am, 1pm, 6pm, and 8pm.


Pen A Tweet






Ross Morrison McGill founded @TeacherToolkit in 2010, a simple Twitter account which rapidly became the 'most followed teacher on Twitter in the UK'. He is an award winning teacher and an experienced school leader and as @TeacherToolkit, curated this website you are now reading as one of the 'most influential blogs on education in the UK'. In 2015, he was nominated for '500 Most Influential People in the Britain' by The Sunday Times and one of the most influential in the field of education. He is the only classroom teacher to feature. He is a former Teaching Award nominee for 'Teacher of the Year in a Secondary School in London' and has also written 3 books on teaching. Read more here.

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