Press print: The printed page in the digital age

August 20, 2020 8:01 AM

Parents need to be part of their children’s learning process and give them tools to be ahead of the curve.

Sunish Raghavan is senior director, Printing Systems, HP India.Sunish Raghavan is senior director, Printing Systems, HP India.

By Sunish Raghavan

Much of how India lives, works, and learns has been disrupted. Parents are working from home, many schools are implementing new solutions to enable remote learning. Many parents are suddenly finding themselves even more directly involved in their children’s education. Most are grappling with the best way to balance their children’s daily screen time with non-screen time, and parent WhatsApp groups are buzzing with discussions about how best to balance a physical and digital learning environment for the children.

Last year, HP commissioned the New Asian Learning Experience across seven-markets in Asia to provide insights and to help guide parents as they seek to find the optimal learning experience in the new digital world. The study found that while print and digital each have their own strengths, the combination of digital and print was most beneficial in helping children stay focused and engaged while they learn.

Balancing digital and print

As part of the study, the researchers observed how parent and child pairs interacted during learning tasks. And although technology was already second nature for most children, with many playing on tablets before they can even read, the study found that printed materials, such as worksheets, were the most effective format for learning and writing new words. On the other hand, children who used both PCs and printed worksheets were more engaged. They spent up to 12% longer on their tasks, were more likely to ask questions, and less likely to show signs of distraction or boredom. They were also captured smiling more often and for 15% longer when using a digital device for learning, likely due to the bright colours and interactive nature of screen learning.

Print is also a powerful medium for strengthening the bond between parent and child. Learning from printed materials requires both parent and child to actively participate in a way that purely digital or video-based learning does not. When using printed materials, parents are also more involved with exercises and children are more responsive to their parents’ guidance.

Although teachers are often seen as the primary educator in a child’s learning journey, parents too have an essential role to play. Parents may think education should be left to the experts, but that would be a missed opportunity for parents to equip children with skills while strengthening the parent-child bond. To support young learners, parents and educators must invest in right devices and experiences that bridge printed materials and digital applications to enable agile, dynamic learning anywhere, anytime. Parents need to be part of their children’s learning and give them tools to be ahead of the curve.

A transformed future

So, there will be a time when students will go back to their classrooms, and physical meetings may again be the norm. But our tech preparedness should nevertheless continue. We need to ensure that we carry forward the learnings into the ‘new normal’ future. Parents, students, and teachers should continue to communicate and collaborate for newer learning approaches and discuss how technology can enable that. Employees should continue to securely share and print files across geographically dispersed teams to deliver projects on time. A robust devices strategy which includes a reliable, cost efficient and easy to operate printer, can help in the preparedness which will usher in the true digital transformation.

(The writer is senior director, Printing Systems, HP India. Views expressed are personal.)

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