A comment I overheard at the middle school prompts me to write this blog post. I heard two 8th graders saying they wish they could take their math STAAR test with pencil and paper. This shocked me! I thought all Generation Z-ers wanted to do digital things exclusively. I started to ask random students and adults about their digital worlds. Guess what? Pencil (pen) and paper are still cool!
When I hear people say we are going paperless in their school, I have to laugh for several reasons!
1. If you took the copy machine out of the work room, there would be a mass uprising of teachers.
2. The power of doodling has been shown to relieve stress and improve focus. Not as easy to doodle on a device. (https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/the-thinking-benefits-of-doodling-2016121510844)
3. Handwriting? Students need a perfunctory knowledge of penmanship, whether printing or cursive.
4. Math-students need to be able to draw shapes, complete steps in a problem, and erase. Isn't there something powerful about being able to erase??
I could go on ad nauseam, but my point is there has to be balance between being digital and using paper and pen(cil). If you were forced to only use a specific device all of the time, how would you feel about it? Why not give your students a choice? You might be surprised at how many times older students will choose pen(cil) and paper!