The debate between paper and pencil and digital learning is essential to the modern day. CHS students share their opinions (Jose Camões Silva)
The debate between paper and pencil and digital learning is essential to the modern day. CHS students share their opinions

Jose Camões Silva

iClassroom

Digital tools are a new and commonly used tool across many classrooms. CHS students share their thoughts on traditional and digital schooling.

February 3, 2023

With the constant increase in the integration of digital tools into the classroom, students have many options and opportunities to fine-tune their learning techniques. However, electronic classrooms are filled with distractions as students open secondary windows, distracting themselves from learning.

The primary draw of technology is the multimedia element. “I’ve tracked down a lot more video resources, […] so I’ll use those in my own classes, like a flipped lesson, maybe one per unit,” said CHS math teacher Kyle McCord.

Additionally, digital resources help students prepare, “Google Classroom is like a warehouse or resources to keep track of what we’ve done and students can access those things,” said CHS science teacher Jennifer Adams.

The main draw for students is organization and legibility, “I think traditional methods create too much to keep track of. It’s easier to keep your notes organized digitally. Then you can access them easily at any point in time,” said CHS Senior Jocelyn Leong.

I think traditional methods create too much to keep track of. It’s easier to keep your notes organized digitally. Then you can access them easily at any point in time,” said CHS senior Jocelyn Leong

— Jocelyn Leong

But this technology comes with two major drawbacks, expensive resources, and knowledge retention. The Clayton School District takes care of the primary issue of access to technology, providing each student with their own Chromebook for their high school career.

However, as many teachers agree, knowledge retention has suffered as a direct result of typed notes and studying. For some students that have taken away the benefit of a pen to paper. “I was one of the students that learned best by writing down that information.[…] So I think there’s a benefit. We can give the information quickly to [students]. But I do think we lose some of the benefits of a pen to paper,” said CHS CTE teacher Lauren Compton.

Additionally, the digital space is ripe with distractions. Students can quickly bounce between windows without missing any notes, however, they lose out on the essential time spent absorbing information.

Clayton students generally prefer traditional notes, “Writing is supposed to help you remember the material better, and we’re on our screens enough in one day,” said CHS Sophomore Khaydn Adams. Of the 63 Clayton students surveyed, 68% preferred traditional notes.

However, the opposite is true for assignments with 71% choosing the digital route, “[Digital assignments] allow for more portability and less time searching as well as less clutter in bags,” said CHS Sophomore Henry Rosenzweig.

For testing, students prefer traditional pen and paper tests. “I prefer this method of testing because I can work through questions or problems on paper, and I’m visually able to see how I came to the answer, as well as the other questions on the test,” said CHS Freshman Sarah Waldron. 68% of students agree, leaning toward traditional testing.

I prefer [traditional] of testing because I can work through questions or problems on paper, and I’m visually able to see how I came to the answer, as well as the other questions on the test.

— Sarah Waldron

Digital classrooms have their benefits and drawbacks. Although most agree that typed notes hinder student learning, as long as a pencil or stylus is utilized, the same benefits are seen. 

In moderation, digital tools enhance learning, however, watch out for screen fatigue!

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