(BPT) – As technology continues its expansion into every aspect of our lives, a new survey from the Paper and Packaging Board has found the best-performing students are still actively choosing to learn on paper.
According to 3,200 students, parents and educators surveyed for the just-released 2015 Annual Back-to-School Report, paper encourages focus, rather than distraction. An overwhelming majority of students – 94 percent – said it was easier to concentrate when reading on paper.
The Paper and Packaging Board released the survey results in the 2015 Annual Back-to-School Report. The search revealed an increasing awareness among students and educators that while digital technology is useful for transmitting some information, deep learning and comprehension is often best done on paper.
“Print is tailor-made for helping us read continuously, concentrate, puzzle out concepts and contemplate the significance of what we have read,” wrote Dr. Naomi Baron, a professor of linguistics who contributed her research to the report. “Students reported multitasking more than three times as often when reading on a screen as when reading print.”
Students that chose paper to study for exams were significantly more likely to self-identify as “hardworking,” “successful” and “focused.”
Teachers’ responses echoed those of their students. Eighty percent of K-12 teachers say their students seem to comprehend information better when they read on paper. Seventy-four percent of college educators say their students are more likely to stay focused when taking notes on paper than on a laptop.
“With the advent of so much technology that makes learning more interactive and vibrant, we forget that sometimes the best way to remember things is by simply writing them down,” said 2012 National Teacher of the Year, Rebecca Mieliwocki. “Unlike typing, the act of writing down information increases retention of that information and stores more of it into working and long-term memory.”
Parents, too, continue to embrace paper as the preferred medium for helping their children study. Three in four parents responded they were more comfortable helping their children with homework on paper than on a screen. In addition, 98 percent of parents surveyed said they believe teachers should encourage certain tasks that require paper, like arithmetic, spelling, textbook navigation and dictionary usage.
Also noteworthy was that students’ reliance on paper didn’t end with high school graduation. Even on campuses with broad access to technology, 59 percent of college students said they would rather read textbooks in print than online. Fifty-three percent said they believed that reading a printed book helps them focus.
As more distractions compete for students’ attention, the advantages gained from learning on paper will likely increase. The 2015 Annual Back-to-School Report uncovers paper’s unique and vital role in learning and highlights the everyday interactions with paper.