Students adapt to digital learning instead of on paper


Photographer: Liam

Ella Robnett, Staff Reporter

Students have been learning on paper and in books for hundreds of years, but since the start of COVID-19, digital learning has become the new normal. Instead of writing notes during class, many students have now opted to typing them instead. Learning digitally is fairly new, and for most, it isn’t a choice, but working on paper is becoming outdated and many classrooms are now completely paperless.


There are many benefits when it comes to using technology in the classroom. Feedback on digital assignments is usually automatic, and families can access  grades from any device at any time. While working digitally at home, students don’t need to rush when taking notes, they can work at their own speed. Classroom technology has also enhanced the quality of assignments. Students who work digitally make PowerPoints stored in flash drives, instead of clunky poster boards. Unfortunately, technology is not perfect and when working digitally, errors can occur. Files can become corrupt or become damaged, resulting in loss of information and work.


Working on paper typically helps students learn faster. Results from 33 studies in students of all ages showed that when reading on paper rather than screens, students tend to absorb more information. Writing by hand also forces students’ brains to memorize information in a more complex way. Although paper is a renewable resource, it is still single use. On average, one school can use up to 250,000 pieces of paper annually, which is incredibly harmful to the environment. 


This year has opened the doors to the future world of digital learning. The incorporation of technology has shown benefits to students and teachers. However, these benefits have not come entirely without a price. Students who read on screens instead of paper, have shown a decrease in understanding. The use of paper and books undoubtedly benefits students, which is why there should be an even mix of paper learning and digital learning. 


Classrooms that incorporate both paper and book learning with the use of technology gives students the best learning tools. Unfortunately, it is clear that those who learn entirely digitally are much less likely to actually understand and remember the subject. In order to combat this issue, students can turn in digital assignments, while still reading books and writing notes.