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As schools adopt laptop/tablet programs it is important to remember the power of paper. While computers provide amazing opportunities for students to discover and explore beyond the brick and mortar walls of the classroom, a simple piece of paper is still a powerful educational tool. Studies prove there is a hand to mind connection made when students take handwritten notes. Writing information down, in their own words, helps students understand and remember concepts. Paper also allows students to illustrate ideas and draw diagrams which further aide understanding.

Students should use technology to help them deepen the learning process, not to do the work for them. For example, when reading Romeo and Juliet, googling a map of 16th century Verona and clothing styles of the time period can help the reader visualize and give context to the text. However, it is important for student’s to absorb what they are reading and form their own opinions before being influenced by online summaries. Writing down notes as they read, including information on the plot, themes, character development and their own thoughts is invaluable. Successful students are active learners, utilizing all of the educational tools available to them in order to maximize learning.

By Shan Schumacher