Is Going Paperless Best For Students?

As the District moves closer to a 1:1 Chromebook scenario it is easy to think that we can do everything electronically, that we no longer should be printing. Before we go paperless, we need to ask the question, “Is going paperless best for students?”

Interactive notebooks is one example of why we should not go “paperless” at this point in time. I am sure that others can add additional items to this the list.

Teachers who use interactive notebooks provide their students with paper templates, diagrams, graph paper, etc., every day. The paper may be in different weights, colors, and sizes. Single and/or multiple sheets may be required daily.

Interactive notebooks begin as a simple notebook to which students add notes, graphs, tables, drawings, free-write activities, practice activities, opinions, and so on. A quick search on Pinterest will show you the “flipables”, “foldables”, and other 3-D versions of templates. Often the right side of the notebook is used for objective material while the left side is used for more creative material. Paper items are added to the notebook with tape and/or glue. The interactive notebooks teach students to organize material and their learning.

Teachers can accommodate multiple learning styles through the notebook and differentiate as needed. Teachers often permit students to use the interactive notebooks for assessments so the students quickly learn that a complete and well-organized interactive notebook has great value to them. Engagement results in learning. Students have more ownership of their learning through interactive notebooks.

The interactive notebook becomes a portfolio of student growth through the current year. Past interactive notebooks can function as a reminder to students, parents, and teachers of knowledge and skills gained and developed in previous years.

Can interactive notebooks be done as well in a digital format? I do not have an answer to that question at this point in time. I believe the answer will depend on your students and how important the process of creating the interactive notebook by hand is to their learning. If your students retain more by doing the interactive notebooks by hand, why would you do it any other way?

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