Delicate balance between physical activities in class or learning online 

Students benefit from using paper materials

In an ever advancing technological world, teachers at Natomas Pacific Pathways Preparatory High School (NP3) have a difficult task finding the balance between setting students up with old-fashioned pen and paper, or letting every class activity be online. 

“Before the (pandemic), Chromebooks were used for research: Finding information, using that information for summatives. They would physically write out a summative. Or do whatever the work is on paper and pencil,” said Ashley Silas, eighth grade middle school social studies teacher.

Even though every student has a Chromebook, Silas’s still believes students benefit from using paper materials.

“There are some things like reading strategies for pencil and paper for students being able to write things down. We wanted them to be able to physically write things down or physically highlight something as a note. Some of those metacognitive strategies are better suited for paper,” Silas said.

But other benefits reach beyond the content classroom. At NP3 Middle School, every teacher has an advisory class. The group of students in an advisory cohort changes every year. In advisory students learn about being more (add info).

“I think for advisory to do academic Mondays, and everything is digital. That shift has moved. Even just with the college fair, that’s something everyone needs a Chromebook for. A lot easier for students to conduct research,” said Silas.

She also keeps in mind the screen time usage of the students.

“The kids are on the screen., I’m concerned with the screen time. If we have it, it’s a great resource to use, but for me personally the screen time, I think they need to be off screen sometimes,” she said.

“It varies, honestly. I am a believer that putting a physical pen to physical paper tends to be a more effective learning tool, so I try to give students physical papers as often as I can,” said Jennifer Hembree, American Voices teacher when asked about Chromebook usage in her classroom.

However, Hembree also understands the fact that every student has a Chromebook, a resource they can use right out of their bag.

“I also recognize, however, that we are in a rapidly changing technological world, so I’d say my course is a good mix of physical paper and online assignments,” she said.

In the 2021-2022 school year, NP3 elementary-high school bought a total of 80 cases in August, which arrived on Oct;  22, 2021. From Oct. 22 to Nov. 17, all three schools were down to 35 cases of paper.

Even though students all have their own Chromebook, more than half of what was ordered in three weeks has been finished. Each case contains 5000 individual pieces of paper. Around 250,000 pieces of paper were used in those three weeks.

Even though Chromebooks are easily accessible by every student on NP3’s 6-12 campus, some teachers still believe it’s completely dependent on the class.

“Depends on the class and the purpose we’re trying to achieve, honestly. Personally, I still think we could be doing this (teaching) effectively without Chromebook, but I do think students are used to/dependent on them so we have to meet in the middle,” said Hembree.