In a year filled with so many changes, one of the biggest has been that people the world over have been confined to their homes. This has required school-aged children to participate in various forms of remote eLearning. With so many options regarding education suddenly in people’s lives, the Mopria Alliance was interested in finding out how important print and scan capabilities are for those who are engaged in distance learning vs. traditional in-person school, so it launched a survey.
One of the primary questions posed with the survey sought to discover whether hard copy print-outs are an important element of eLearning. The results were very interesting, particularly since many of the activities with eLearning naturally center students looking at or interacting with a computer screen, tablet or smartphone—as it turns out, print is more than important…it’s essential!
The survey first looked at whether students have access to printers at home. More than 75% of students have a printer at home and it’s a good thing they do. When parents of young children were asked about the importance of having a printer in the home and its usefulness, about 50% said their student would have a “hard time” without a printer in the home.
They were next asked how often they print. Most said at least monthly, if not daily or weekly. Interestingly, this is a much higher rate of printing than for office workers. So then, respondents were asked about why they print.
Here are the top five reasons students print for school at home:
- To turn in or complete an assignment, homework or worksheet
- Found that reading printed materials help student think or focus better
- Student comprehends better from printed materials
- Student learns better from printed materials
- It is easier for student to take notes on printouts
So, the main explanation students print is they are required to for certain assignments. Aside from that, the top reasons are to help them think, learn, comprehend, and focus better. In other words, when students aren’t required to print for an assignment, they frequently do anyway to help them understand and absorb the information in a way that only print provides.
What these students and parents intuitively felt has been backed up by numerous academic studies that show printing homework vs. doing it on a screen is better for kids. According to a recent article in BrainFacts.org, print is visually less demanding than digital text. It provides spatial and tactile cues to help readers process words on a page. Mindset may also be a factor. If people associate screen time with casual web-surfing they may rush through without fully absorbing the text.
Arguably, the most important answer in the entire survey uncovered how students actually feel about print. Even though the students are working from a smartphone, laptop or tablet —and even though they are living in an increasingly digital world, more than 75% of respondents said that printing is an essential learning tool.