Print returns as students struggle with staying online

Is being permanently hooked to the world wide web hurting the way students study? According to a new research, it may well be, as Canon chimes in to say studying from paper may be better for your children’s health than using a connected device.

Research commissioned by Canon in Australia suggests that keeping Aussie kids online while they do their homework may well be impacting their study time, as 93 percent of 510 students surveyed have revealed that they have problems studying while surfing the web, with over half of this bunch being tempted to check out just what is going on in their social circles.

This constant need to see what is going on may well be having a negative impact on kids today, with the research revealing just under half of those surveyed are easily distracted by emails and messages, and a little more switching to different websites when they get bored of studying.

Out of the students surveyed, Canon’s research fund that guys are more likely to find it hard to stay on topic than girls, with 39 percent of males switching to playing a game instead of keeping on track than 19 percent of girls.

But while it’s all well and good to find out how people are studying and memorising important information and details — or not, as is the case with some of the students out there — finding a solution is probably more important, and for that the research is suggesting bringing it back to the world it started in: pen, paper, and the return of the printer.

“As a father of a son who is completing his last year of University I’m not surprised by the findings,” said Jason McLean, Director of Consumer Imaging at Canon Australia.

“Every student makes study notes in the lead up to their exams, and the study shows they prefer to do it on paper.”

Canon’s research does indeed point something like this out, revealing roughly a quarter of students surveyed have issues recalling details they were studying unless they printed the notes off the screen and read it off paper, a fact at least one university professor isn’t surprised by.

“While we are making transitions from the use of page to screen and even studying totally online, content changes from screen to screen make it difficult for people to remember what they’ve seen. We cannot assume clicking through many screens equates to successful, deep learning,” said Professor Glenn Finger, Griffith University’s Professor of Education.

The research isn’t be-all end-all, mind you, but it does point to a suggestion that studying from a paper print out can provide stronger recollections, with findings 48 percent of the top-performing students revealing that writing notes helped them remember pertinent information.

“We need to take notice that students reported hand-written and printed notes offer them a consistent, memorable form to revise as well as reflect,” said Finger. “These are critically important learning processes which are developed in students throughout all levels of their schooling.”

“Specifically, students’ ability to use printed study materials provides numerous advantages for them, such as annotating directly on the page in a free form way that suits individual notation preferences. It is important to understand how successful students engage in deep learning through these practices when they revise, review, rehearse, replay and reflect,” he said.