- The results revealed that while the two types of note-takers performed equally well on questions that involved recalling facts, laptop note-takers performed significantly worse on the conceptual questions.
- The benefit of having more content is canceled out by “mindless transcription.”
- The amount of verbatim overlap was associated with worse performance on conceptual items.
What You Miss When You Take Notes on Your Laptop
- Mueller and Oppenheimer predicted that the decrease in retention appeared to be due to “verbatim transcription.”
- And again, though the laptop note takers recorded a larger amount of notes, the longhand note takers performed better on conceptual, and this time factual, questions.
A Learning Secret: Don’t Take Notes with a Laptop
- Students who used longhand remembered more and had a deeper understanding of the material
Investing heavily in school computers and classroom technology does not improve pupils’ performance, according to a global study from the OECD.
- “Students who gain access to a home computer between the 5th and 8th grades tend to witness a persistent decline in reading and math scores,” the economists wrote, adding that license to surf the Internet was also linked to lower grades in younger children.
- What’s worse, the weaker students (boys, African-Americans) were more adversely affected than the rest. When their computers arrived, their reading scores fell off a cliff.
- With no adults to supervise them, many kids used their networked devices not for schoolwork, but to play games, troll social media and download entertainment. (And why not? Given their druthers, most adults would do the same.)
- Technology does have a role in education. But as Randy Yerrick, a professor of education at the University at Buffalo, told me, it is worth the investment only when it’s perfectly suited to the task, in science simulations, for example, or to teach students with learning disabilities.
Can Students Have Too Much Tech?
When comparing test scores of different countries, you need to control for variables. This is basic statistical illiteracy. Vastly different Student income and teacher workload are 2 factors are never mentioneds
Want to close the achievement gap? Close the teaching gap
The present research suggests that even when laptops are used solely to take notes, they may still be impairing learning because their use results in shallower processing. In three studies, we found that students who took notes on laptops performed worse on conceptual questions than students who took notes longhand. We show that whereas taking more notes can be beneficial, laptop note takers’ tendency to transcribe lectures verbatim rather than processing information and reframing it in their own words is detrimental to learning.
Advantages of Longhand Over Laptop Note Taking
What’s Lost as Handwriting Fades
High school grades matter — a lot. For both those students who submitted their test results to their colleges and those who did not, high school grades were the best predictor of a student’s success in college. And kids who had low or modest test scores, but good high school grades, did better in college than those with good scores but modest grades.
College Applicants Sweat The SATs. Perhaps They Shouldn’t
Krueger and Dale studied what happened to students who were accepted at an Ivy or a similar institution, but chose instead to attend a less sexy, “moderately selective” school. It turned out that such students had, on average, the same income twenty years later as graduates of the elite colleges. Krueger and Dale found that for students bright enough to win admission to a top school, later income “varied little, no matter which type of college they attended.” In other words, the student, not the school, was responsible for the success.
- Singapore’s student population does not include the children of huge numbers of people who work the lower-paying jobs in Singapore.
- For Singaporean students, school is their job; other activities are absent or relegated to minor roles.
- Most Singaporean children get additional schooling beyond the school day through individual tutoring or classes. (One survey found 97% of Singaporean students get private Math tutoring)
Yet again, Statistics 101. Yet this myth is parroted like gospel. Of course test scores are going to vary when you are not comparing similar groups:
- China scores only include children from Shanghai. (How about we only include students from Scarsdale in the USA TIMMS scores?)
- Singapore schools do not contain any children from working class families (Service workers commute to Singapore from Malaysia). Singapore GDP is 50% higher than the USA’s.
- American students are involved with a wide array of sports and activities. 22% of American students have after school jobs.
- The reality is that top performing students in affluent suburbs of America perform on par with top performing countries who do not have lower class students in their results.
What’s 12 x 11? Um, Let Me Google That
- My classroom experience proves otherwise. Once students have memorized a given set of vocabulary and grammar rules, they are able to apply their knowledge to more difficult concepts and activities. Having the fundamentals at the ready gives them both skill and confidence, two attributes that make learning effective and enjoyable. If they skipped the memory work on the grounds that the information can easily be found online, they would drown in a sea of URLs as they struggled to find the basic information necessary to answer the deeper questions.
- I shudder at what might have happened to the Apollo 13 flight crew if its NASA team had to spend precious minutes looking up multiplication tables, or what will happen if our government’s national-security advisers needed to consult Wikipedia to shape their foreign policy decisions.
- But once John Dewey’s educational theories were adopted in public schools beginning in the 1940s, they fell out of vogue, ridiculed and rejected by education professionals across the country as detrimental to learning. In schools of education such techniques are derisively labeled “drill and kill” and “chalk and talk.” Instead, these experts preach “child-centered” learning activities that make the teacher the “facilitator” in education, which is understood as a natural process of self-discovery.
- Of course, all good teachers want their students to acquire not just basic knowledge, but a deeper, conceptual understanding that is manifested through critical thinking and analysis—skills that educational fads and initiatives rightly extol. But such thinking is impossible without first acquiring rock-solid knowledge of the foundational elements upon which the pyramid of cognition rests.