From the outset of my teaching career, integrating technology into my lessons has remained a constant priority. Whether it was piloting SmartBoards in a district elementary school, using iPads to digitize workflows, or making the switch to Chromebooks, technology has been at the forefront of how I prepare and deliver content to students. Lately, however, I have seen value in a switch back to a more analog-focused learning environment.
In the first half of my decade in the classroom, being “the technology guy” meant that students engaged with content in a totally unique way in my room compared to the classrooms of my more analog-focused peers. The bells and whistles of screens, interactivity, and digital customization opened doors to a creative and unique pedagogical world that I was able to capitalize on to promote student interest and growth.
Fast-forward to today. The ubiquity of technology has transcended the novelty. For one thing, many of my students now carry phones in their pockets that are more powerful than the computer on my desk. In many schools, Chromebooks and iPads are now looked at as common educational tools – similarly to how we used to look at textbooks and binders.
Ever in search of ways to recapture the magic once created by technology in the classroom, I have turned to an unlikely medium for drawing students in: good, old-fashioned paper. What’s more, it has worked!
It turns out, there are several, research-backed reasons why working in the physical space needs to remain a part of today’s pedagogy.