It’s An Oldie But A Goodie: “Old School” Projects Remain Effective In Our Google Slides Obsessed World


Sabrina JS. and Abigail K,.

Just a couple days before February break started, the Sun Cluster students turned in their extensively worked on science project. This is a middle school classic; the at-home extensive hands-on project everybody scrambles to do. But as hundreds of students across OMS work on their projects, the question arises: do the hands-on projects still implemented fit our new, Google Slides obsessed world?

Teachers also have something to say on this topic. “Having done this hands-on project for well over 10 years, I think there will always be value in this type of learning experience,” says Mrs. Mernick, the Sun science teacher, about the earth science project. She also states, “I think old school types of hands-on projects give students an opportunity to challenge themselves in different ways”. When doing any type of project, you learn useful life skills (inserting GIFs into Google Slides, anyone?) but it is especially true for hands-on projects such as this one. Students learn important skills such as baking (is it a teaspoon or a tablespoon?) or being creative when problems arise. Mrs. Mernick also says that there are “endless amounts of learning with these types of projects,” which is definitely true– as proved by OMS students. 

Many students that were interviewed said they liked “old-school” projects more because they found it enjoyable. One student said that they’d “rather do the model just because it’s more artsy and fun.” This can definitely be true for people who like to draw, paint, bake, etc, or just prefer hands-on activities rather than computer based projects. Since these students enjoy hands-on activities, in most cases these students will be more engaged in their project because they have to actually physically create something. Adding on to this, the more a student enjoys their project, the more motivated they will be to finish it.  Another Insider interviewed stated, “We do so many things – or at least for me – on computers, that I would much rather be using crafts and making [science projects] DIY.” While some students enjoy hand-on projects more, there are also some students who enjoy doing Google Slides. A student stated,  “I think [Google Slides are] definitely easier, and I think most kids enjoy that more. They do take research… It depends on the project, like if you’re learning about something that would be easier to learn with charts then it may be better to do a model. But if it’s something along the lines of informational or like an infographic then maybe it would be better to use Google Slides.” For some people, Google Slides can be a better alternative if they don’t necessarily like doing hands-on activities. Students like old school projects because they are more fun and crafty, but people also like Google Slides depending on the project. 

To wrap everything up, projects that are more “old school” are equally as effective as electronic projects – it just depends on the person. Since some students naturally gravitate towards a certain form of project, they will feel more encouraged to finish the assignment happily than to complete it at the last minute. However, hands-on projects do give you some hidden benefits that online projects may not. These types of projects can teach students many valuable life skills, from cooking to collaborating with fellow peers. These priceless attributes that kids gain by doing hands-on projects are something that might be even more important than the material learned. So, are off-line projects equal to or better than their Google Slides counterparts? In short, yes. But, like all two-sided arguments, there are definitely benefits, and drawbacks, to both.