Monday, March 31, 2014

Sometimes ‘old school’ is better

Traditional note taking in college seems to be a thing of the past in that students often do not want to take notes in class, or they type on their laptops. I personally, have gotten in the habit of posting my PPT slides for the students to look at after class because I know that is as close to note taking as some students will get.

It is amazing how many students do not have notes for exam, even after I announce an open note test; I see many students scrambling to make notes last minute or trying to make photocopies of their classmates notes (which I do not allow anyway).

“Taking Notes by Hand Benefits Recall, Researchers Find”

Distractions posed by laptops in the classroom have been a common concern, but new research suggests that even if laptops are used strictly to take notes, typing notes hinders students’ academic performance compared with writing notes on paper with a pen or pencil.”

“Daniel M. Oppenheimer, an associate professor of psychology at the University of California at Los Angeles, and Pam Mueller, a graduate student at Princeton University, studied the effects of students’ note-taking preferences. Their findings will be published in a paper in Psychological Science called “The Pen Is Mightier Than the Keyboard: Advantages of Longhand Over Laptop Note-Taking.””

“The researchers’ goal was to figure out whether typing notes—which is becoming increasingly popular—has any direct effect on a students’ ability to understand a lecture.”

“In a series of studies, the researchers provided students with laptops or with pen and paper to take notes. (The computers were disconnected from the Internet.) Students were then tested on how well they could recall facts and apply concepts. During the first test, students were told to “use their normal classroom note-taking strategy.” Some typed, and others wrote longhand. They were tested 30 minutes later.”

“The researchers aimed to measure the increased opportunity to “mindlessly” take verbatim notes when using laptops.”

““Verbatim note-taking, as opposed to more selective strategies, signals less encoding of content,” says the researchers’ report. Although laptop users took almost twice the amount of notes as those writing longhand, they scored significantly lower in the conceptual part of the test. Both groups had similar scores on the factual test.”

“In another part of the study, some laptop users were instructed to avoid taking verbatim notes. Instructors explained that “people who take class notes on laptops when they expect to be tested on the material later tend to transcribe what they’re hearing without thinking about it much.” But members of that group received lower scores in both conceptual and factual tests than did their longhand counterparts.”

““While more notes are beneficial, at least to a point, if the notes are taken indiscriminately or by mindlessly transcribing content, as is more likely the case on a laptop, the benefit disappears,” says the report.”

Read here:

So those of you who insist, “they do not need to take notes because they will write them down when they get home” (and never do), or those who like to type away incessantly in class, you might consider trying it the old-fashioned way.

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

1 comment:

  1. Or, perhaps, using a tablet to take "long hand notes" which are searchable, can be linked to audio recordings, and/or reformatted... Perhaps "new school" could be better!


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