Monday, May 26, 2014

Students learn better when they write notes by hand

I was delighted to discover this article a few weeks ago, about how students learn better when they write notes by hand. Those of us who work in technology sometimes develop a kind of tunnel vision with technology in the classroom. But we need to remember that it's okay for academic technology to be old school: paper and pen.

From the article:
A new study—conducted by Mueller and Oppenheimer—finds that people remember lectures better when they’ve taken handwritten notes, rather than typed ones.

“We don’t write longhand as fast as we type these days, but people who were typing just tended to transcribe large parts of lecture content verbatim,” Mueller told me. “The people who were taking notes on the laptops don’t have to be judicious in what they write down.”

She thinks this might be the key to their findings: Take notes by hand, and you have to process information as well as write it down. That initial selectivity leads to long-term comprehension.
The original study is published at Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.
photo: Tony Hall

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