Pulp Magic

DECEMBER 16, 2015

Value of Paper in the Classroom

An important part of the Paper and Packaging Board’s work is making sure that journalists and the general public have accurate data about paper and paper-based products and the value they provide.

I sent this letter to the Education Editor at the Huffington Post when one of their reporters predicted paper in the classroom is a tool of the past:

To: Rebecca Klein
Education Editor
Huffington Post

Dear Ms. Klein:

A recent article by Rachel Wolfson [“Overcoming 3 Dilemmas of the ‘Digital Classroom’”; 12/8/15] mistakenly assumes the optimal future of education is fully digital, with traditional paper resources cast aside in favor of tablets and other digital tools. While it’s true that classrooms across the country are increasingly using such tools to teach, paper remains vital to improving educational outcomes.

As Wolfson notes, digital tools bring their own advantages to teaching and learning. But by many measures, paper produces better results.

For instance, research has shown our brains are more active when dealing with print than digital, allowing for increased memory retention. A study conducted in Norway similarly found that reading printed materials allow for increased comprehension. Add to this research from The Nielson Group that concluded people read faster from print and a report from Korean researchers indicating people studying from printed books saw improved quiz scores, and it’s easy to see why paper remains vital.

So Wolfson’s prediction that the “era of wide ruled paper… is coming to an end” had better not be true if we want our children to have the best educations possible. The truth is, it’s not about choosing between digital and paper, but about using both technologies—remember, paper is a technology!—to their best effects.

Sincerely,

Mary Anne Hanson
Executive Director
Paper & Packaging Board