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Should Computers Replace Pencil and Paper?

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/24/2016 Category: Education
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,155 times Debate No: 88737
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (1)
Votes (0)




Hello OwlTrowel, thank you for accepting this debate. According to many experiences, I believe that Computers is a good alternative for Pencil and Paper. Here is some evidence why.
Feel free to use this round to gather stats, and not place any stats and research in this round. Because of that, I have placed an extra round.

When using a piece of paper, you have to use a pencil and try to find a piece of paper. Normally, during school, I always have a piece of paper around, but many other people are always asking for a pencil, or asking teachers, and some people (like me) forget to return the pencil or pen. Ask any teacher, and they will tell you.

Sometimes, it is not the pencil that is the issue, but the cleanliness of the person writing out the paper. Many people (like me) have sloppy writing, and sometimes people can have a struggle reading what the person wrote, and that stinks.

With a computer, you can add fonts, color, and just simply make things look a lot cooler. A computer is not easily lost, and is a one time buy, and can last a while if you treat it well. With a computer, you can easily organize your documents which you can not do easily with a piece of paper. With your computer, you can also share a document, so you and your partner can send a doc to each other, so people can access and work with you at home, not just at school.

Also, with a computer, there is a grammar and spell check, that can help people check there spelling and grammar automatically, which can help people, and is not done on paper.


Hello Discodude16, I have read your argument and see that you have some very good points to go along with your side. In my opinion, pencil and paper is better than using a computer. When using a pencil and paper, you would not have to always hit the save button in fear that the power will go out and that the document will not save. Through experience I know that autosave is a feature that works, but some people have experienced issues in which their laptop or computer shuts of randomly without reason and saving. This could be just only one glitch that can happen with computers. For example, laptops and/or computer can catch on fire when their fan is blocked, break if dropped, break if water gets to it, and many other issues. Paper cannot catch on fire automatically and break if dropped, but it can be torn and get wet.

Paper has been used ever since 100 BC while computers have been used from 1936. Paper is a simply slate/leaf that is used for writing, drawing, creating blue prints, ect. A computer is a complicated device used for writing, playing games, searching the internet, ect. A fault with the computer comes that it is much to complicated which will make it expensive and easy to break. If one part breaks than the whole computer could break.

Saving documents or files on a computer is not reliable and safe. Hackers can get into computers to steal any document or break computers. Papers can be stored anywhere but the internet where hackers are. Viruses can also get into ones computer and destroy it. A paper and pencil cannot get a virus that deletes data and hackers cannot steal papers when far away. Using a computer can also hurt eyes and the screens can cause damage to the eyes.

Games can also distract someone on the computer or social media. If a school is having students take a test online, the student could cheat by going onto other websites or looking up answers. When using a laptop, spelling can worsen as autocorrect does all the work for you as you could usually spell words wrong, only to have autocorrect fix it for you without noticing. Handwriting can also worsen over time. When signing a document you will need good handwriting.

Both sides of the debate can be viewed differently as computers offer fonts, colors, and a neater paper, but they can be bad for the eyes, addictive, and not safe. Thank you very much, for hearing my side of the argument.
Debate Round No. 1


Hello! Thank you for accepting the debate. It was a well good argument that you made, but I noticed some flaws. I will try to go down your arguments and object to some of your statements.

Not Saving
Okay, I would like to object to your statement about the save button. Most people at our school uses google docs all the time due to it's simplicity, mobility, and one of the following reasons being the saving function. After every single letter you type onto the computer, google docs saves the file to not one, but two locations. The first location is the drive servers, and the second being a local backup on the computer's hard drive, which can be accessed even without internet connections. This file can be loaded as a backup, or even loaded offline. Since a text format document is normally a small file (I have not seen anything more than 10MB, which is pretty small) google can save this document really quickly. Try it, go into google docs, and type up some words, or copy and paste this, and see how fast it saves. If the power were to go out, or your internet breaks, or whatever, you will probably only have to re-type a few words.
Not all people use docs though (like me) and instead use Microsoft Word. MW can use an autosave function like in google docs, but only if someone were to save it to onedrive. Not a lot of people know how to do that, so they just start typing, and manually save it. Now, if you type out a word, it saves to a backup file on your hard drive, just like docs. If you load up word when you just lost power in your computer, or whatever happens, it asks if you would like to load up that old document. Try it! Open up word, type stuff, hit Ctrl-Alt-Del, open up Task Manager, click Microsoft Word, and then click End Task. Then, reload word, and there should be something with your doc in it.

Computer Issues
You stated that the computer can break if dropped. Laptop are made with very firm suction like cups on the bottom of the device, making it impossible to move without either tipping the entire table over, or lifting it up. These chromebooks, (which is what you are mentioning) only make up 8% of all computer sales, so they are not widely used, but even if they were, the time it takes for a computer to break depends on the user. I have had my chromebook for a while now, and nothing unusual has ever happened to it. Most of the people that it breaks to is normally very active, carrys it around unsafely. You can lock your computer in a safe whenever you are not using it, and it won't break for a while, or you can swing it around and eventually it will break shortly after buying it.

You stated earlier that you can use a sheet of paper for a lot of things, but with a computer, the possibilities are technically endless. Developers can make software to make computers do a lot more than just be something to write on. It can design 3D blueprints, play games, solve worldwide puzzles, monitor things, make your papers look neater, sharing documents with friends, and a good example is this (, but lets get to the paper and pencil stuff. Sure, you can write out assignments, but with a computer, you can use stuff like snap, which centers things, add tables, automatic charts, add pictures, colors, fonts, and a whole lot more. It can be as simple as typing out a Rich Text Format in notepad, or making some really neat document on Microsoft Word. People can easily open up word, and just start typing and know what to do. If they want to dig deeper into the software, they can do that. If they don't get MW, they can easily use notepad, the simplist text editor out there, that is pre-installed onto your computer. Although looking at the computer screen all the time can be bad for your eyes, it can acually benifit to your eye sight. Studies have shown that playing video games increases vision, since the contrast can improve your eyes adjusting to certain enviorments. I would use an example from some very violent fps, like COD, but I am going to go violenter. Minecraft. In minecraft, the lighting can dramatically change from bright, do dark. What this study is saying is that changing these views and having your eyes adopt to see inside a cave without torches can actually help your eyes adapt if you were to go somewhere dark in the real-world.

The last thing that I would like to say in this argument is the cost. You may be saying "buying a computer costs a lot more than buying a notebook at staples for 10 cents," think again. The advredge worker uses 10,000 sheets of paper a year. It also costs 31 times the original cost to send information to other people on paper. Around 7.5 billion documents are made (paper documents) a year, and 15 trillion copies are made as well. This rounds to the advredge worker paying 25,000 dollars a year on just paper. With a computer, you could send a doc to a friend through an email, or make free copies, or make as many documents as you would like. Not only is that 7.5 billion docs, and 15 trillion copies bad money wise, but it is also bad for the enviorment. 23% of the population dosen't recycle, but even with that being a small percent, that is still a lot of paper being wasted. So, happy enviorment with more stuff that you can do, or a bad enviorment with not as much neatness.

(I didn't post my sources in the previous argument, since I didn't have any.)


Hello Discodude16, thank you for posting the next round in the time frame allowed. I noticed some flaws in your argument that may be incorrect. I will put the links after every paragraph. I also noticed that a computer is very pointless while a pencil has a point.

Paper + Computer
I noticed that you mentioned the fact that the average worker uses 10,000 sheets of paper a year. In reality, according to (, the average worker prints 10,000 pages a year. This may be a bit unrealistic as that would mean the average worker uses 27 sheets of paper a day. 27 sheets of paper is a lot of work and paper, but is the average worker using only pencil and paper, or printing from a computer. The average workers these days use computer and printers. Although documents can be shared online, they must be official by being paper and being signed. In this article it states (, "While digital media theoretically lessens the need for paper " everything from e-readers to online shopping has the potential to cut down on paper usage " data shows that the average American still uses the equivalent of a 100-foot Douglas fir tree each year." From this quote it can be shown that electric devices such as a computer still do not lesson the need for paper. According to (, 45% of paper printed in offices ends up trashed at the end of the day and the U.S. companies spend more than $120 billion a year on printed forms.

Environment is the most important factor in our world, if the environment does not function or work properly, than nothing else can. Environment is the base of everything, without trees or animals than they will not be humans. The environment can be represented as standing on glass high up in the air. If the glass cracks and breaks than everything will go down with it. Many people in offices print emails and documents from work which is a lot more paper than talking to someone else and writing documents. Discarded computers can cause water and air pollution. The production of computers uses many more fossil fuels than producing paper because there are a lot more components and working parts in a computer. Electricity is wasted when using computers or other devices which is using up more fossil fuels.

When writing on a sheet of paper, it is always good to reuse it as scrap paper or with many fun projects. If paper or a pencil breaks than it can be easily replaced with another as they can both cost less than a dollar. If a computer breaks, than it can be replaced by buying a new one that can cost from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars. A printer, a keyboard, and a mouse also need to be purchased when buying a computer. A pencil and papers simplicity is also an advantage over a very complicated computer. Too many functioning parts in a computer can lead to its demise. If one does not work than it can not work all together. For example, if one key on a keyboard does not work than it can be very frustrating trying to make it work again or try to live with the error. Computers cannot be as easily recycled as paper or a pencil and not all parts of a computer can be recycled.

CVS is not only a store, but it is also Computer Vision Syndrome. 50% to around 90% of people who work at a computer experience this issue. It can also affect kids playing video games or using a computer a school. Many people experince an eye strain and pain in their eyes by staring a a screen for continuous hours of the day. "All of these functions require a lot of effort from eye muscles. Working on a computer is more challenging to your eyes than reading a book or piece of paper." ( For example, like you said, Minecraft changes lighting dramatically which can be a benefit, but it is one of the top causes in CVS. My parents also said that they have experienced it.

Thank you very much for listening,
and have a happy Friday!
Debate Round No. 2


Hello! I would like to state some things that you objected to from my statement in your defence. First, I am mentioning the cost, since yes, it is printed paper, but the fact that that is still paper. Sure, they are not writing it down with a pencil, but some of these things, such as the signing can be changed. People can learn to sign things on a computer, and not all work has to be signed. You stated yourself that 45% of all printed paper is trashed everyday, which is true, but they are still using up money with the paper. All of this paper is using up trees, and money. These printed forms are also going slowly extinct since people are getting programs such as google forms, which allows people to make digital forms. Also, you brought up how the computers uses up parts of the enviorment with fossel fuels, which by all means is true, but there are so many other ways to make electricity for computers including but not limited to:
  1. Nuclear Power - 10% of all people
  2. Hydroelectryvity - 10% of all people
  3. Windmills - 10% of all people
  4. Solar Power - can grow to 10% in 2025
All of these numbers are increasing by the year, and can potentially be a replacement for fossil fuels. Even though computers use fossil fuels, so do the machines that make pencils, paper, pens, etc.

My next point involves neatness. Teachers and students across school always complain about student's neatness, and can affect how much of something is read. This can be avoided with a computer, and it can have more time being spent on finding an acual grade than what letter they put. Not only is neatness a problem, but so is the writing utencil. These are easily lost or stolen around school, and without one you can't write. These people either depend on others to get one, or even teachers. Teachers find it very annoying whe kids ask for pencils and never return them, and with a computer, no one needs one. With a computer, it is also much faster to write stuff out. For example, this argument I am making is taking around 10-15 minutes to write, while on paper, it will take around 20-25 minutes.

I apoligize for the small responce, hopefully I will have more for the final round. Thanks for still debating!



Hello, it seems shocking this debate is almost over! Sorry for posting late.

I noticed that costs do have a big impact on writing and/or computers. I do agree that many documents can now be signed online instead of on hand, but many important documents need to be printed. For example, many essays in any subject in school will need to be printed out. This makes it easier for the teacher to grade and write comments on how to improve. I also agree with your fact about others clean ways to make electricity, but this can also be said to the production of pencil and paper. A windmill can power the factory that makes and produces pencils, but it would take more energy and electricity to make all of the parts to a computer. Another example is that it takes multiple factories for a computer to be built which will need more electricity and windmills. These windmills each cost $1.3 million-$4 million when installed. More computers built will need more factories, which will need more electricity, which will need more windmills for example, which will cost a lot more than making a pencil. When having a computer, others parts and research may be needed such as a mouse of a printer. Printers also need paper when printing. This paper can be anything from essays, emails, photos, pictures, and/or receipts. Printers also need ink cartridges which can cost around $50. Ink for printers is not usually cheap and will need to be replaced.

I agree that computers have an advantage for being fast and neat. Writing is a form of art though, for example you can look up calligraphy fonts on your computer and not find the one you were looking for. Handwriting is a unique characteristic as everyone writes differently. Computers will not allow you to create it as your own work when typing. Typing the same letters as others is boring and common. Fonts do offer it, but not in a unique way. People can identify others by looking at their handwriting. Handwriting also helps with hand-eye coordination and muscle memory. Computers only help a little with this.

Computers are also very complicated on how to use tools, make a graph, or other functions. If someone can remember all shortcuts on a computer and how everything works, than they should remember to bring pencils in during class.

What do teachers complain a lot about when typing an essay on the computer? They complain about plagiarism. Plagiarism is worse than forgetting a pencil during school. Plagiarism is stealing someone else's ideas. It is very easy on a computer as you can look up someones work, copy and pasts it, and be done with work.

Thank you for reading and sorry for posting so late!
The debate is coming to an end fast.
Without these links at the end, I could be accused of plagiarism!
Debate Round No. 3


Alright, we are starting the last round. Thank you for sticking to this debate. So, you said that with a computer, people can plagiarize easily. Well, even with no computer, people can still write down stuff from another website, just not use the Ctrl+C, and if teachers want to check every single paper (around 20 per class, which means around 80 papers) they would have to type out the entire paper and throw it into a plagiarize checker. Now, in order to use this plagiarize checker, they would need a computer and someone's essay. Websites like this one are really simple to use, and if you want to check for player son a typed assessment, all you have to do is select all of the person essays, and copy it into the box, which then checks for a percent. (Try it! It will take a long time to type someone's essay that is on paper to check for plagerism.

You also made a point about how documents need to be printed to be signed. You are using paper to sign these, but they still type it, and yet they are still using paper. If they were to not type it and write it all out, then we would still be using paper.

It takes a lot of energy and trees to make pencils as well. You need cedar trees, for wood, which does indeed get replanted, but a worker can always be careless and plant it incorrectly. Then the graphite has to be shipped using some form of transportation, which can pollute the air and use more energy, and then needs to be transported over to a shop using trucks, which causes more pollution. Now, I am aware that it takes a lot of man-power to make a computer, with all the parts. However, these computers are a lot more expensive and valuable, meaning that not as many people buy them and they don't have to make as much. Also, other companies make the other parts, like RAM or Graphic-Cards. The software, (windows, mac, etc) simply gets installed onto the hard-drive, and dosen't take much work.

Many people do like the diffrent handwriting's since it expresses personallity, but it isn't exactly true. Just because someone has bad handwritting dosen't mean that they aren't a bad person, and also teachers don't really look at the creativity in the handwriting when grading things, rather than if they can read it. People don't need to make there i's have a heart instead of a dot, teachers normally don't give out extra points for that.

I would like to add some more attacks because I noticed that I have been defending a bit too much. Here is my attack. Typing on a computer can have some huge pro's while paper dosen't. If you are writing a novel, you would need to type out a lot of pages and words. With a computer, it can decrease the time needed, and can even check for grammer and spelling errors. Authors can collaborate with other people across distances, and can publish it online to stores such as amazon. It saves a lot of time and money needed to distribute the books with pages, covers, copies, etc.

Thank you for debating, good luck with the votes.



Hello, it is already the last round! Next from what I know, we are going to enter the voting stage. Everyone who is viewing, please vote for the person you believe made the best arguments that could persuade you. Thank you!

What I believe I am trying to say is that computers make it very easy to plagiarize as you can use CTRL+C. For example, at our school, plagiarism was never an issue until students got computers. It is hard to plagiarize without a computer because then you can only plagiarize from a book. Students do not usually do this unless they have a computer as it is easy. Cheating on a text can also be an example. When taking a test with pen and paper, you cannot look anything up anything as you cannot use anything else. With a computer, you can look it up and copy and paste and be done with the assignment or test.

It think you are getting a bit confused as the document is still from a computer and still needs to be signed. Now if pen and paper did not count when signing a document, than you cannot sign a document. The only way to do so with a computer is to by a drawing pad which is something else to buy with more money. All of these things to buy with a computer is really piling up for an office, such as, printer, printer paper, drawing pad for signing documents, computers, mouse, and keyboards. You only need for paper, markers, colored pencils, pencils, and paper for pencil and paper. All of the devices for a computer need to be transported with each part too which uses a lot of fossil fuels compared to all components for pencil and paper.

Yes, it may take more trees to make paper, but computers and printers need printer paper. Computers and their production also create a lot of fossil fuels which is more important than trees. Using fossil fuels is worse on the environment than cutting trees down. Global warming is a major cause of using fossil fuels which can lead to habitats being destroyed. Electricity creates 37% of Carbon Dioxide emissions.

A worker cannot plant trees incorrectly, unless they are very poor at their job and it will only be 1 tree. The process of making a computer creates more carbon dioxide than say 1,000 pencils. There are a ton of part to a computer that need to be transported, made, put together, boxed, shipped to stores, and sold. Many computer parts are made in different factories. The factories then have to deliver these devices to another company or factory. This factory will put everything together and box it. Then the boxes are shipped to the store were they will be sold. All of these steps create a lot of Carbon Dioxide. A pencil will not create as much carbon dioxide as a computer. Even designing a computer creates carbon dioxide for when using and testing electronics. Using a computer at home will create carbon dioxide by using electricity.

A pencil and paper is a traditional method that does require skill and learning. It is very helpful to write on paper as it can help later in life. For example, many high schools and colleges still use paper and so do some jobs. If someone uses a computer for a while and then they start using paper again, their handwriting will be very bad along with their grammar. I have experienced this as my grammar is decreasing due to autocorrect. My handwriting is decreasing too because I do not have much practice to write. It is like playing an instrument, if I do not play in one or two years, than I will struggle to play again well. CVS also is bad as it can cause pain and stress to the eyes.

Thank you again! Sorry for repeating, but please vote who you think would persuade you the most. Thank you and please vote!
Sorry I did not have many links.
Debate Round No. 4
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by random_noob 2 years ago
I haven't used pen and paper for ages. I think computers have already replaced pen and paper, at least for me and my peers.
No votes have been placed for this debate.