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Do pen and paper help you learn better?

pen and paper

Parents and students are getting schooled in the academic benefits of using pen and paper to improve their learning and engagement.

A nationwide study Paper and Productive Learning: The Second Annual Back-to-School Reportcommissioned by the Paper and Packaging Board, surveyed 4,300 students, parents and teachers in the United States to uncover why students and educators still choose paper.

The study shows 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% of kindergarten through 12th-grade teachers feel students comprehend and engage more when reading on paper;
  • 82% of college students always or often use paper to study for exams, with those who always use paper tools up 7% over last year;
  • 74% of students in grades 7 through 12 use paper handwritten notes, flashcards or worksheets to prepare for tests;
  • 57% of parents say their children remember assignments better when they write them down on paper, an increase from 54% in 2015;
  • 55% of college educators prefer to give feedback by making their edits or comments on paper. 44% of these teachers say they choose this method because it helps facilitate authentic interactions, and 35% say it helps develop relationships with students.

According to Dr. Daniel Oppenheimer, a research contributor to the study, “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. 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.”

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