The past year of remote learning changed the paper worksheet and other teacher-made course materials forever. That’s because every K-12 institution was released from the grips of inertia overnight. Pinchpenny administrators and their acolytes who resisted change were canceled in an instant. Innovating, pivoting, and remaking school became the norm once the pandemic closed the schools. And every teacher was empowered by the mother of invention to remake their legacy content into online digital interactivities.
The paper worksheet has been canceled… in its place are interactive worksheets and workbooks made using apps. Teaching from the textbook has been replaced by online learning apps such as Nearpod or Google Sites that teachers have made. And tests don’t come as photocopies anymore. Now there are tools like Google Quiz or GoFormative with auto-grading and instant feedback.
The History of the Paper Worksheet
The paper worksheet had a good run. If you can believe it, we have Thomas Edison to thank for its longevity.
Thomas Edison had an ingenious idea in 1876 that would change the way people published their work. He invented the mimeograph machine and it became one of the more important inventions in history. The machine made it possible for anyone to cheaply print their own documents. Before that, if you needed just a few copies, you had few choices: carbon paper or write everything out by hand.
After Edison’s invention, making 30 copies of a worksheet for a classroom handout only required a mimeograph. Before Edison pioneered the power station, before he recorded “Mary had a little lamb” in the first practical phonograph, and even before 1,000 other inventions and improvements great and small-Edison invented the mimeograph. And then schools invented the paper worksheet.
Why has the paper worksheet lasted long into the Digital Age? Because they’re so efficient and essential. Teachers are busy, busy people. They teach us new concepts, skills, and information. Then they have to get us to practice and apply our newfound knowledge. It’s an essential part of their job. The most efficient way to do this since the Nineteenth Century has been on paper. But not anymore!
The Rise of the Interactive Worksheet
While Edison’s invention lasted 100 years before it was replaced by xerography, aka copy machines, the paper worksheet had more staying power. It is only today, 145 years later, that interactive worksheets are finally triumphing over paper. And students everywhere have the pandemic to thank for this switch.
Why are Interactive Worksheets Better Than Paper?
Interactive worksheets are being used more and more by educators to supplement the teaching process. Interactive worksheets can be made with educational apps that take your favorite PDFs or regular teacher-created paper worksheets, convert them into engaging digital materials delivered online for students’ learning needs. These resources give teachers the ability to innovate and challenge their students by incorporating audio, video, and links to content on the web. With interactive tools in particular, you’re able to include many different animations and graphics which makes it fun for kids while still getting their work done.
In today’s fast paced world where technology is becoming an essential part of classrooms everywhere, we need new ways to engage children as they learn. Paper worksheets are not as engaging and challenging to students when compared with interactive worksheets. Interactive worksheets use computing power to challenge students in new ways that were never possible on flat pieces of inert paper.
A Quiet Revolution in the Classroom
Interactive worksheets are revolutionizing the classroom. Paper, pencil and paper-filled classrooms will soon be a thing of the past as they become obsolete in our technological era that demands more from our students. Interactive lessons allow for customizability on an individual basis with multiple levels to engage just about any student – something not possible within traditional teaching methods such as memorization by repetition (which is boring!).
Imagine your students analyzing and engaging with the material like never before. With interactive worksheets, you can include a video clip of an actual speech for them to watch! Students are able to analyze it in ways they could not have just by reading it on paper. Deeper connections are made which makes the material more memorable.
Interactive worksheets are an effective way to keep your students engaged in learning. With tools like hotspots, drag-and-drop, and audio you can get creative with teaching a variety of subjects or activities. Not only is it more engaging for the student but they also learn better because interactivities allow them to make connections within their brain that would not be possible without these new technologies!
Online Digital Worksheets
The app offers the easiest way to make online digital activities for your students. With TeacherMade.com you can turn almost any resource into an online activity. Just upload your PDF and then add your answer boxes to the questions already on the page. App supports 15 different question types, along with audio, video, links, images, and animations. And everyone loves that the app instantly scores the student’s work. No more waiting days for feedback, now it’s instantaneous.
The Interactive Worksheet is Here to Stay
There’s more to interactive worksheets than just livelier content and increased student engagement. The app lets you automatically assign activities through your LMS with just a few clicks. And when it comes time to put grades into the gradebook, it syncs grades with Canvas, Schoology, and Google Classroom. Teachers have made more than three million activities. The pandemic may have killed the paper worksheet, but its death has given rise to an even more popular and useful tool– the interactive worksheet maker. Let’s make sure it’s here to stay!