Should Students Take Notes on Laptops?
In our post, “Should Students Take Notes on Laptops: Research Says ‘No,'” we explore the main finding of Pam A. Mueller and Daniel M. Oppenheimer (“The Pen Is Mightier Than the Keyboard: Advantages of Longhand Over Laptop Note Taking”):
“Even when allowed to review notes after a week’s delay, participants who had taken notes with laptops performed worse on tests of both factual content and conceptual understanding, relative to participants who had taken notes longhand” (1166).
Questions to Guide Educators’ Professional Development:
- Do students in your district/school use laptops to take notes in class?
- What is your district’s position on students taking notes on laptops in class?
- What is your school’s position on students taking notes on laptops in class?
- In your community, what are the parents’ general views about students taking notes on laptops in class?
- Do the positions of your district, school, and parent community reflect what research has shown (in this case that, “Verbatim note taking has generally been seen to indicate relatively shallow cognitive processing” (Mueller and Oppenheimer, 1160))? If not, what are effective ways of communicating the research findings to administrators and parents?
- Do the teachers in your district/school know what the research has revealed about students taking notes on laptops? If not, what are effective ways of communicating the research findings to the teachers in your district/school?
- How can we persuade students who take notes on laptops that doing so may not be the best choice?
- In what ways can teachers promote non-verbatim note taking in class?
“Telling students not to take notes verbatim did not prevent this deleterious behavior” (Mueller and Oppenheimer, 1166).
* Visit Cornell University’s Learning Strategies Center for information on Cornell Notes.