Paper vs. Digital Planner? 10 Reasons to Choose Printed School Planners

There are countless apps, devices, and programs available. But how effective are they in the learning process? Here we look at 10 benefits of paper planners over digital:

1. Immediate and Tactile

Although obvious, paper planners are tactile. And, there are many advantages to having a tactile planner. Schools can insert:

  • Important handbook information
  • Reference material
  • Contact information
  • Bell schedules
  • Pages for parents
  • Note taking sections
  • Academic calendars
  • Hall passes

Customized, print school planners function as the single source for all necessary information for students and parents/guardians.

From cover to cover, students and parents can immediately access what they’re looking for. This means no aimlessly searching the school website or flipping between tabs.

2. Use as a Quick Reference Tool

Paper planners are readily available. Lightweight and compact, printed student planners are easy to carry around, fasten into binders, and transport in backpacks.

Students can quickly reference all of the important information they need and create their own notes or urgent reminders directly in line. All of this can be done without having to use their phone or handheld device ﹘ preventing them from breaking potential school policies.

3. 24/7 Access to Information

Unlike digital planners, paper planners won’t die on students. Notes, important dates and deadlines, reference information, school policies, and parent-teacher communication is available all the time.

Students can easily carry planners with them for reference on the commute to and from school, in class, and at home.

4. Increase Learner Retention

Handwritten notes help increase learner retention across grade levels. Taking the time to write by hand forces students to process and condense material to keep up with the lecture. Students who handwrite notes are better able to recall and retain new information learned in class.

What’s more, handwriting wakes up the brain. MRIs prove that writing by hand activates language areas of the brain that are not engaged with typing.

Paper vs Digital Planner - Why Print Wins

5. Develop Writing Skills

Printed student planners give students ample opportunity to develop and enhance their writing skills. Spelling, writing, and grammar can all be practiced ﹘ even on the go. Room for spelling lists, notes, and writing prompts can be created for weekly or even daily practice.

Paper planners are an excellent way for younger students to practice handwriting. Studies suggest a link between handwriting and broader educational development.

In fact, scientific research shows that when children first begin to write by hand:

  • Read more quickly
  • Remain better able to generate ideas
  • Retain information more easily

6. Practice Note Taking and Organization Skills

Putting pen to paper forces students to use their space (and time) wisely. Depending on the content or lecture style, students can adapt their note taking strategies to optimize class time.

Note taking provides a structure for students to organize and engage with the material. It also provides students with an opportunity to experiment with note taking styles and to create abbreviation systems for use across their academic career.

7. Create a Record of Past Materials

Unlike apps and digital planners, you can’t just delete notes, reminders, or notes from a paper planner. As a result, printed school planners become a historical document. Students and parents can easily flip back to previous entries. With digital planners, students may spend substantial time scrolling for information.

Having a physical record of past materials serves multiple purposes:

  • Rewards students on the progress of academic activities
  • Records past achievements
  • Holds students accountable
  • Recognizes areas of improvement
  • Logs parent-teacher conferences and meetings

Additionally, any notes or references are instantly accessible for students studying or preparing for a project.

8. Deepen Parent-Teacher Communication

Many educators opt to create space in planners for parent-teacher communication. Communication can be established with daily behavioral assessments or room for teachers to send home information for parents to sign off on.

Likewise, paper planners further family engagement. Functioning as a two-way communication system, parents or guardians can write to teachers about areas they wish to see their child improve or any concerns they hold.

9. Eliminate Barriers

A classroom should function as an inclusive space for all students. Yet, sometimes going digital defeats this purpose.

It’s important to be cognizant of socioeconomic backgrounds. Does every student in your school have the proper resources when switching to a digital or online planner? Some students may not have access to at-home wifi or digital devices.

Lack of accessibility is a major barrier ﹘ even in the classroom. Unlike pencil and paper, there are numerous limitations with digital devices:

  • Over usage of data on smartphones
  • Limited internet access at school or home
  • Poor wifi speed
  • Unreliable wifi access
  • Low battery life
  • App crashes
  • App bugs or glitches

10. Prevent Digital Distraction, Fatigue

Burnout and digital fatigue are a real and present issue. Digital Eye Strain affects 70% of Americans. Its cause is by focusing your eyes on digital screens, causing the eye muscles and corneas to flex for hours each day. Printouts and paper are a welcome relief from the glare of the digital screen.

The mere presence of a digital screen in a classroom becomes an immediate distraction. Research from Princeton University and the University of California, Los Angeles prove that the mere presence of a visible screen can affect student comprehension. Participants in the study scored 17 percent lower on comprehension than those who had no distracting view.

The rabbit hole of digital often leads to false confidence in the ability to multitask. The Hechinger Report’s findings show that students are growing in their confidence to multitask, and are doing so more frequently. However, multitasking is a myth and is a cause of lowering academic grades.

Closing the Book

Printed school planners are an excellent resource to increase student and family engagement, provide easy access to student resource information, and reinforce school policies. Paper planners can help your students break through today’s digital noise.