Classroom Management Idea

 In Positive And Effective Classroom Management Ideas

Why you Should be Putting Your Laptop Away (Until you get home)

In a study published in Psychological Science, Pam A. Mueller of Princeton University and Daniel M. Oppenheimer of the University of California, Los Angeles sought to test how note-taking by hand or by computer affects learning. Their results fly in the face of current practice for many Australian school and University students. Such students erroneously believe that taking class or lecture notes using their i-pads or tablets will enable them to succeed in learning. Research suggests the opposite is true. Using old school pen and A4 books to record material in long-hand is demonstrated to result in improved learning. Mueller and Oppenheimer concluded:

When people type their notes, they have this tendency to try to take verbatim notes and write down as much of the lecture as they can. The students who were taking longhand notes in our studies were forced to be more selective — because you can't write as fast as you can type. And that extra processing of the material that they were doing benefited them.

The authors also highlighted the probability that technological recording of study material also paved the way for distractions from the primary focus of learning. While this was not the focus of the current research, each experiment conducted by supported the same conclusion. In their abstract the researchers argue, “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.”

By shallower processing, Mueller and Oppenheimer found that students who used electronic devices focused more upon simply recording data, while those who took long-hand notation tended to listen more attentively and process what they heard before recording their own analysis. It was this active engagement with the learning material which lead to improved cognitive understanding and recall under examination conditions. This was particularly the case for higher level material. Consequently the message is probably even more significant for older students.

Mueller and Oppenheimer conclude:

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.

The message is clear, students who want to learn effectively should be using long-hand writing rather than technology and a range of revision and pre-loading strategies to reinforce their learning. (More on these next week!)

REFERENCE: Mueller, PA & Oppenheimer, DM 2014, 'The Pen Is Mightier Than the Keyboard: Advantages of Longhand Over Laptop Note Taking', Psychological Science, vol. 25, no. 6, pp. 1159-1168.

Most Powerful Teaching Strategies Week 10

High Return Teaching Approaches and Strategies

Most teachers would be aware of the research into highly successful teaching strategies conducted over the past decades by Robert Marzano and John Hattie. Although their methodology differs, there are striking commonalities in some of the highest return strategies each identify in the research. Amongst these are:

  1. Establishing Clear Lesson Goals. Marzano for example suggests proposing a question to introduce each lesson.
  2. Explicitly Teach what you want students to know and overtly teach how students can achieve the lesson goals. Both stress the importance of overt
    and explicit instruction in a carefully sequenced manner, with plenty of revision opportunities built into the sequence. It is essential to ensure students know what to do to achieve success in learning. One example of such instruction is the I Do, We Do, You Do Model employed by Full Spectrum
  3. Both Marzano and Hattie stress the importance of using strategies to actively engage students in connecting to prior knowledge. Marzano also emphasises the vital importance of ensuring that subject or topic specific vocabulary and terminology is well known before deep engagement begins.
  4. Effective Feedback is vital for student learning. Coupled with the power of NOT YET as espoused by Carol Dweck as part of developing a Growth Mind-set, providing focused feedback regularly is an essential element of effective teaching. Feedback should be:
    • Frequent
    • Timely
    • Focused on what works, what they are doing well and,
    • Focused on how to improve
  5. Allowing students regular time to rehearse all skills and to review all knowledge on a sustained basis is essential for mastery of both skills and concepts. It is important that students receive focused feedback during this process, so they don’t practise bad habits. When such rehearsal and revision is allocated to homework, it is important that feedback mechanisms are put in place to ensure this has been done correctly.
  6. When students use what they have learned to solve real-life or realistic problems, learning deepens and is reinforced.

6 High Yield Instructional Strategies

  1. Identifying Similarities and difference
  2. Summarizing and Note Taking
  3. Non-linguistic Representations
  4. Co-operative Learning
  5. Generating and Testing Hypotheses.
  6. Questions, Cues, and Advance Organisers.

Further Reading

John Hattie. (2009). Visible Learning: A Synthesis of Over 800 Meta-Analyses Relating to Achievement.
John Hattie & Gregory Donoghue. (2016). Learning Strategies: A Synthesis and Conceptual Model.
Robert Marzano, Debra Pickering & Jane Pollock. (2001). Classroom Instruction That Works.

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