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 and rigorous playlists we have procured using open source content. Employing an innovative use of space or developing clever strategies for leveraging instructional talent can even 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. 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 my front row view of moving schools from a traditional model to one that is blended and personalized, tangibility has been the game-changer. Students need a way to record, process, make connections and be held accountable for the choices they select from their ever-growing playlists. The implementation of a simple sheet of paper that documents agency can be the bridge.
Depending on how you design this tool, it can also foster vital behaviors from teachers: standard alignment, purposeful planning, physical documentation, and an at-a-glance student progress check. As teachers and students begin to develop in the blended space, the tool can be housed in your existing platform. Until that time, however, consider using something analog in order for them to connect with the digital world.