How can you really learn letters and shapes or draw a new idea without a pen and paper?
How can you make sense of all the sources you’ll need to address a complex essay question without spreading all the books and articles across your desk and grabbing a pencil and paper to start to sketch some shapes?
We all know that some of the first steps in a kid’s education is in the form of experimenting with their own creativity with crayons, paint or collage on paper.
While new information technology brings a lot of exciting new possibilities, any experienced and well-informed teacher will tell you that a completely paperless classroom would be cheating our children.
Particularly in the early years, mastering the pen and paper is viewed as essential by education professionals for three reasons.
Through reading, we learn to absorb, assimilate and comprehend information and ideas. And it happens better with paper. A recent survey of e-reading devices (such as the Apple iPad and Amazon Kindle) showed that readers took 10% longer to get through a text compared to paper books*.
Through writing, we learn our letters and how to write a story or compose an argument. With a pen and paper we also hone our fine motor skills – those micro-movements and eye-hand co-ordination that you won’t learn on a keyboard and mouse. And the very act of writing something down helps to commit important information to memory (alphabet or multiplication tables, anyone?).
Through drawing, we have the ultimate platform for creative thinking. A blank sheet of paper is the ultimate opportunity to be original and expressive. What will be the first line or shape? Where will it go next? What will it represent?
* Nielsen Norman Research Group, July 2010
(as any well-informed teacher will tell you and as you well know yourself!)