Today, children often learn to swipe before they learn to write, but a recent study shows that paper use is on the rise in the classroom. Most surprising is that 82% of college students always or often use paper to study for exams, with those who always use paper tools up seven percent over last year.
This year’s Paper and Productive Learning: The Second Annual Back-to-School Report, commissioned by the Paper and Packaging Board, surveyed 4,300 students, parents and teachers in the United States. Findings indicate that despite the availability of digital resources, paper is still a leading learning tool both in and out of the classroom. The 2016 report reveals 64 percent of kindergarten through 12th-grade teachers responded they feel students comprehend and engage more when reading on paper.
Survey results show increased emphasis on paper use for lessons, note-taking, presentations and exam preparation with 74 percent of students in grades 7 through 12 using paper handwritten notes, flashcards or worksheets to prepare for tests. Also, 57 percent of parents say their children remember assignments better when they write them down on paper, an increase from 54 percent in 2015.
“Paper strengthens connections between students and teachers, and parents and children. It sparks feelings of accomplishment and records achievement,” wrote 2012 National Teacher of the Year, Rebecca Mieliwocki, whose tips for parents, teachers and students are included in this year’s report. She added, “Paper is important to how we are productive and learn.”
Dr. Daniel Oppenheimer, professor of marketing and psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles and research contributor to the study, wrote, “While there are advantages to electronic media, a growing number of studies show that some educational goals are better achieved using traditional pen and paper methods.” Referencing his own research, Oppenheimer said, “For example, taking handwritten notes requires students to actually think about the material, rather than merely record it, and by engaging with the material more deeply, students experience more effective learning and consequently perform better.”
The report also found that paper helps foster connections. In fact, the majority of college educators (55 percent) prefer to give feedback by making their edits or comments on paper. 44 percent of these teachers say they choose this method because it helps facilitate authentic interactions, and 35 percent say it helps develop relationships with students.