Friday, August 22, 2014

To Type or not to Type: Is that the Question?

Last week several of us had a fascinating discussion via Twitter about the advantages/disadvantages of taking notes on computers or by hand on paper. 

The whole discussion started when Heather Chambers (@irishteach on Twitter) tweeted a question about the advantages and disadvantages of getting students to use computers for notes, or if they are better off handwriting notes.

I responded a few days later with an article I found: "The Pen Is Mightier Than the Keyboard: Advantages ofLonghand Over Laptop Note Taking" These authors found that students who took notes by hand tended to summarize ideas in their own words rather than type quotes verbatim, leading to deeper processing, better encoding, and better recall. Our twitter community chatted about the implications for a while and then Dr. Chew chimed in (@SChewPsych - he's our resident expert on studying research) and said: 

So what should we tell students about how to take notes? The most important factor seems to be that students need to PROCESS ideas AS they take notes, not mindlessly write things down. It's easier to mindlessly write things down when they are using a computer (it's faster!) so students need to learn HOW to take better notes, no matter what method they use. The memory chapter is a PERFECT opportunity to help students learn this! Psych teachers can demonstrate the power of deep processing in note taking via mini-classroom experiments! Heather hit the nail on the head, and I hope our community continues exploring her question:

Note about Twitter: If you're not yet a Twitter user (don't call us Twits! :) , consider giving it a try! After you create an account, you can search for the hashtag #psychat in the search window, and you'll see a thriving conversation and dozens of psych teachers' accounts to follow!

image source: - labelled for reuse, creative commons

posted by Rob McEntarffer

1 comment:

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