While technology has spread to virtually every aspect of our lives, the just-released 2015 Annual Back-to-School Report, which surveyed 3,200 students, parents and educators, shows students are still choosing paper. And with good reason.
The Paper and Packaging Board report sheds light on paper usage habits related to the learning process, finding more than 90 percent of students carry paper items every day. 94 percent of students say it's easier to concentrate while reading a paper copy than a digital version. Three out of five college students prefer to read on paper than on a digital screen. 80 percent of K-12 teachers say their students comprehend information better when they read on paper.
Building on recent studies showing that learners retain more information when reading on paper, the report reveals that paper may be even more important to the classroom now than it was before the digital revolution.
"Print is tailor-made for helping us read continuously, concentrate, puzzle out concepts and contemplate the significance of what we have read," wrote Dr. Naomi Baron, professor of linguistics and research contributor to the 2015 Annual Back-to-School Report. "Students reported multitasking more than three times as often when reading on a screen as when reading print."
The report also found that paper led to a stronger connection outside the classroom. 76 percent of parents reported feeling more comfortable helping their children with homework on paper than on a digital screen.
"With the advent of so much technology that makes learning more interactive and vibrant, we forget that sometimes the best way to remember things is by simply writing them down," wrote 2012 National Teacher of the Year, Rebecca Mieliwocki, whose 9 Productive Learning Tips for Kids, Families and Teachers are included in the report. "Unlike typing, the act of writing down information increases retention of that information and stores more of it into working and long-term memory."
About the Paper and Packaging Board
The Paper and Packaging Board establishes and guides promotions designed to expand demand for paper and paper-based packaging products. Manufacturers and importers of these products participate in the Paper Checkoff, an industry-funded promotion program established by the USDA in 2014. www.paperandpackaging.org.
Fact Sheet: The Paper and Packaging Board's 2015 Annual Back-to-School Report
Results from a nationwide survey of 3,200 students, parents and educators
In the wake of recent studies showing that learners retain more information when reading on paper than on digital screens, the Paper and Packaging Board surveyed parents, teachers and educators nationwide about their paper usage. The results show that paper remains essential to learning, as evidenced by paper usage both in the classroom and at home, as well as paper's ubiquity in students' everyday possessions.
Highlighting the survey's results, the Paper and Packaging Board has released the 2015 Annual Back-to- School Report. Some notable findings:
- • 94 percent of students said it was easier to concentrate when reading on paper.
- • 80 percent of K-12 teachers say their students comprehend information better when they read on paper.
- • 95 percent of students in grades 7-12 carry paper with them every day, and 74 percent take handwritten notes.
- • 98 percent of parents surveyed believe teachers should encourage certain tasks that require paper, like arithmetic, spelling, textbook navigation and dictionary usage.
- • Three in five middle and high school students believe paper products aid in learning and comprehension.
Students' relationship with paper continued at home when being helped by their parents:
- • Three in four parents feel more comfortable helping their children with homework on paper than on a digital screen.|
Most students' reliance on paper didn't end with high school graduation:
- • 74 percent of college educators say their students are more likely to stay focused when taking notes on paper than on a laptop.
- • 59 percent of college students would rather read textbooks in print than online. 53 percent believe reading a printed book helps them focus.
When respondents were asked to describe themselves as students, the results made paper's impact more tangible:
- • Hardworking: 64 percent of students that said they used paper to study for exams described themselves as "hardworking," while only 46 percent of students who did not use paper while studying for exams described themselves this way.
- • Successful: 62 percent of students that said they used paper to study for exams described themselves as "successful," while only 41 percent of students who did not use paper while studying for exams would use "successful" to describe themselves.
- • Focused: 54 percent of students that said they used paper to study for exams described themselves as "focused," while only 45 percent of students who did not use paper while studying for exams described themselves this way.