The Paper Bullet: Making the Digital World Tangible

In this rapidly growing space of personalized learning, there is a digital solution for each and every component that is needed to shift traditional schools to student-centric.  We can wax poetic on which platform is best suited to meet students’ needs, and we can get excited about the robust market of adaptive and prescriptive digital programs that are available. We can even employ an innovative use of space or develop clever strategies for leveraging instructional talent to further tip the scales. But I have to wonder, with all of these powerful resources in our grasp, why is the foray into a blended and student-centered reality still a bumpy ride?

Although Millennials have grown up immersed in tech and are equipped to internalize digitized pedagogy, they still use paper.  Our kids love to draw, write, color, and construct using all kinds of physical mediums.  You may even catch one reading a paperback every once in a while.  Since it is clear our students can exist in both the digital realm as well as the physical world, why are we fighting to eliminate one of their key playgrounds?

Based on the work Cornerstone has done with moving to a blended and personalized model, tangibility has been one of the game-changers.  Students need a way to record, process, make connections and be held accountable for the work they do on the digital field. The implementation of a simple sheet of paper that documents understanding can be the bridge.

This “tool” could take the form of an exit ticket, a graphic organizer, or even a collection of teacher-crafted questions. No matter the design, the point is to foster those neurological connections that occur when screen hits paper. So, as you are planning lessons with online content in the mix, consider using something analog in order for students to connect with the digital world.

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Nichole Husa
Nichole Husa
Nichole Husa is the Personalized Learning Manager for Cornerstone Education Group. Nichole designs and manages systems for the implementation of digital tools across Cornerstone's network of schools, with a specific focus on building the capacity of teachers and leaders in order to ensure every child has an individualized and 21st Century learning experience.