Social Sundays: Digital Versus Paper Interactive Notebooks

I am a long-time supporter of interactive notebooks.  I used interactive notebook activities before they were called that.  I didn't even realize what I was doing in my class could be termed interactive notebooks.  

Recently (well, actually for awhile now), there has been a big push from many factions towards making these interactive notebooks digital.  I admit, I have been resistant.  We use technology in my class, but I have been resistant to putting digital notebooks into my classroom.  I've read the research and so far it shows that people retain information better when they physically write the information down then when they type it.  

This past Fall I had the unique opportunity to explore 1:1 classrooms and watch digital notebooks (and resources in general) in action. What I found in terms of engagement and retention is:

  • Too much screen time isn't good.  This wasn't really surprising.  There isn't necessarily an optimal time but after sitting still for long periods students became disengaged with or without a screen.

    • Variety is good. Everything digital is dull. It's great to mix digital notebooks with hands on activities, collaborative projects, gallery walks and more.
    • Digital notebooks are great for storing and reviewing information after other activities.  For example students can go on a gallery walk about explorers and then the next day or even for homework summarize and analyze what they learned.
    • Digital are advantageous in being permanent placeholders.  Notes or other activities are always there.  They cannot be left at home or fall out of a binder.

    Summary:  digital resources are not a replacement for interactive notebooks and other activities.  Digital resources provide an additional tool to enhance student learning.

    Social Sundays
     is a bi-weekly (1st and 3rd Sunday) post sharing tips, ideas, resources, and products for teaching social studies.  If you have questions or think there is something I should share, you can leave me a message in the comments below or at the store in the question and answer section.  



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