Students use paper and coloring utensils in Mrs. Braile’s class. (Samantha Knickmeyer)
Students use paper and coloring utensils in Mrs. Braile’s class.

Samantha Knickmeyer

The New Normal: Paper Vs. Computer

When it comes to teaching, what is the new normal at LHS?

May 26, 2021

Masks, socially distanced seats, glass between faculty and students- is this the new normal? While this is the new way we have functioned at school this past year, the “normal” at Liberty is changing.

Due to concerns of spreading germs through the exchange of papers and the limitations of virtual learning, instructors began to use more virtual-based files instead of physical paper. But now, teachers are starting to use paper again and students have more freedom now when it comes to how they will complete assignments. Whether it’s a physical copy or a virtual one, students are completing work in their own way. This school year has shown how resilient Liberty is, and how well teachers and students have adjusted in this difficult time. 

Amanda Yoder sits socially distanced in Mrs. Gehrke’s class. (Samantha Knickmeyer)

With the 2020-2021 school year coming to a close, the staff have changed things around their classrooms. Teachers who have used paper in the past and then switched to virtual files, are starting to use paper again. 

And some never stopped using it in the first place. An example of this is French teacher Madame Farrelly and science teacher Mrs. Braile. Madame Farrelly used to have weekly sheets and activity sheets for her students every week, but due to COVID-19, went fully virtual when it came to assignments. 

“I started to use paper again, for our daily bell work, because, specifically speaking for World Languages, I think it is important to process language internally, using the brain, and become less reliant on the help that Google Docs provides,” Farrelly said. “When students put pen to paper, there is a totally different process than typing on a Chromebook, and I felt we needed to come back to that.”

On the other hand, some teachers’ routines have not changed very much. Mrs. Braile has used paper all year, even sending students home with paper assignments when we were sent to fully virtual for a segment of the year. 

Students begin to use paper again in Madame Farrelly’s classroom. (Samantha Knickmeyer)

“Research indicates that we learn best by writing, drawing, mapping out ideas, etc. so students are more likely to remember content and make connections which is important in science,” Braile said. “Most students are visual learners and learn by doing;  when they can formulate a picture in their mind of what they are learning by drawing, coloring, labeling, etc. they will be more successful, in my opinion.”

Universally, teachers prefer paperwork due to students not fully understanding the assignments or possibly using the internet to their advantage. Students sometimes have difficulty understanding things virtually and may need paper to express their thought process. By going back to paper and in-person work, teachers are offering a better chance for students to finish the year strong. 

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