After a few weeks away from the topic, we’re back to our paper vs planner investigation (part 1 here, part 2 here). We’ve had a look at the headlines that pit digital and paper against each other, and we’ve looked in depth at the mechanics of learning on paper versus learning using a screen. As well as being a better option for children to develop memory recall skills, physical note taking is arguably the more ‘healthy’ option, with studies showing that prolonged exposure to the blue light of mobile devices can be detrimental to general well-being.
The current generation of children at school, or Generation Z, don’t know a world without constant connectivity. They were born into a culture where people have constant access to news, social updates, and are even able to shop around the clock. The generation before them (more colloquially known as Millennials) had to learn to adapt and be pioneers of growing technologies, and so it’s arguably a reflex that will always be there; during our formative years, we were programmed to reflexively reach for a device to stay connected to what was happening around us (while I’m technically an older Millennial, I still consider myself a part of the general trend). As a result of being constantly ‘switched on’, there’s a sense that Gen Z are less driven by their desire to consume digitally; for more on this there’s a great opinion piece here.
While it is easy to get consumed by the generational divide in digital use, we’re obviously more interested in taking an approach that benefits education. This question (see image- credit Samsung Print) posed by Samsung asks why there is no clear winner between paper and digital, and while we can’t offer up a definitive answer, we do know that schools by and large are still using paper. There are many schools, though, that are seeing the benefit in going digital and adopting the platforms available with varying success. There’s little to no point in detracting from the vast benefits that the digital arena offers; rather, we were interested in seeing how we could re-frame the relationship between paper and digital as one that is symbiotic and ultimately more of a tool for driving success rather than two separate entities vying for attention.
So we arrive at the digital companion planner. The concept is stunningly simple: a paper planner that integrates with your virtual learning environment (or VLE). Planners are ‘always on’, so there’s no relying on digital age excuses of ‘my battery ran out’, or ‘I had no internet connection’. If you are relying on a VLE to distribute homework, we have included page layouts that have clearly marked space for students to indicate if they have homework recorded elsewhere. Rather than referring back to countless worksheets, post-it notes, diaries, or digital calendars, the idea is to use the digital companion planner as a hub for self-directed learning.
If you have a digital homework platform (or even if you don’t) and are interested to see how you could drive attainment even further with a paper-based planner that supports VLE learning, we’d recommend getting in touch with our specialists; they’re great at what they do and are currently offering a free no-obligation proof to schools who are curious to see what their companion planner might look like.
You’ve got nothing to lose, except maybe the time you spend defending either paper or digital, and now you’re thinking about it, you probably realise that’s actually a pretty big gain.