Pencil Me In

John Spencer

Professor. Maker. Speaker.
I want to see schools unleash the creative potential in all teachers to transform classrooms into bastions of creativity and wonder. Read more →
Email me at john@educationrethink.com for speaking inquiries on design thinking and creativity.


  1. I like the layout and colors a lot. It's graphic and compelling, but one part is bothering me - the picture of Tom Johnson is way too tilted. I think if it were less tilted (but not completely straight!), it would be less distracting and add to the overall composition.

  2. Perhaps it is too tilted. I chose a tilted picture mostly because I wanted it to seem like it wasn't entirely accidental (like "why can't this guy keep a picture straight")

  3. It's pretty cool. I like all of your new book covers actually. I think the colors are a good choice, and the photo looks like it could really be Mr. Johnson.

    I don't think the subtitle gives enough info about what the book may be about. I'm sure many people who will read it might be somewhat familiar with your series, but judging just on the cover, I'm not sure one could tell what is inside. I'm not sure how much that matters for an e-book though.

    - @newfirewithin

  4. Hey, I like all the updated covers for your books. I'm such a visual junkie, it makes me want to buy them all again!

  5. The book appears intriguing. Send me a review copy if you want.

  6. John, I enjoyed the book and posted the review below at 'Goodreads'. Could you tell me about the editing process for e-books? In the review you will see that I praised the book for its content but not for its spelling!

    The book was not what I expected, which was good, in this case.

    I expected it to be a metaphor or analogy for how modern technology is used in the classroom or should be used by a technology expert.

    What I read was a metaphor or analogy for how modern technology is or should be used in a classroom by a human being who is as uncertain as the rest of us.

    The way that pencils in an 1900's classroom are used as a stand-in for computers and hand-held tech in a modern classroom is humourous and and parallels are thought-provoking. The challenges, errors and troubles the teacher faces in his quest to first, use pencils, and second, learn meaningful material and how to collaborate with peers, were surprising to me. In this way, his book about the introduction of a new technology seems to revel in the necessity for intuition and other intangible qualities.

    As Spencer describes in his book, many tech-gurus appear either to have no problems or confusion, or are good at hiding them. This book actually helped me feel better about the problems I have had in class.

    I gave the book four stars because of all the spelling errors I found. I had the E-book version and my understanding is that the hard-copy versions get a better vetting I sure hope so.


  7. Nice. Created a bit of a spark too... One of my favourite stories I share in schools - often around the theme of self-esteem and confidence - is about an unhappy young pencil who sought advice, wisdom and guidance from the pencil maker on how to be more successful. Here was the tips... 1. You will need to be taken into someone's hand. 2. From time to time you may experience a painful sharpening, this is part of life's journey. 3. You will be able to correct your mistakes. 4. Always remember it's what's inside that matters. 5. Whatever you do. keep writing, keep drawing, keep scribbling... And off the pencil went... Nice story? I guess he found out what his graphite was all about? So how can we apply that to our own lives... 1. Ask for help. 2. When we get older we get shorter! Life is painful eh? 3. Failure is good. 4. Find your happiness inside. 5. Never ever give up. Think I best get this into a blog and perhaps my first book!? Inspired :)


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