Teenage students writing
(Image credit: AntonioGuillem)

Adam Schoenbart’s classes are still using lots of technology—for submitting work, collaborating, and creating—but he’s made more copies this month than he has in the past year. Why has paper been more effective than technology with his freshmen this year?

1. Technology Distracts Freshmen
Freshmen in particular can be distracted by the drop of a pin or a sneeze, let alone a bright screen and the Internet. They can be so distracted by technology that it takes away from the learning experience.

2. Technology Takes Too Much Time
With distracted students in Schoenbart’s 1:1 Chromebook classroom, time spent plugging in and packing up the devices can be too much time away from instruction and learning.

3. Paper Demonstrates More Learning
For students learning the foundations of literary analysis and writing, Schoenbart finds the brainstorming, outlining, and drafting process is more productive for most students on paper—whether that’s due to distraction, a processing difference with technology, or something else entirely.

Teaching students to harness the power of digital tools to accomplish more than paper ever could, Schoenbart says, requires effective classroom management and a focus not on paper or technology but on learning and the students.