A new study in Psychological Science, though, suggests there’s even more to laptops’ negative effects on learning than distraction. Go old school with a pen and paper next time you want to remember something, according to Pam Mueller and Daniel Oppenheimer, because laptops actually make note-taking too easy. The problem, it seems, is that the lightning-quick speed of typing encourages listeners to transcribe what they’re hearing without actually paying attention to what’s being said—a note-taking approach that has been proven ineffective in the past. Typing every last word that’s said might make you think you have a more complete understanding of the material, but when it comes to comprehension, notes’ quality outweighs their quantity.An old understanding, emphasized by newer technology. Before laptops you couldn't bring a typewriter to class, so most people didn't get a chance to spot the distinction. Secretaries who wrote shorthand or typed dictation from a recording did understand the difference, but those skills were comparatively rare. Thinking about this I realized an odd contradiction, which may be unique but probably isn't. Taking notes helps me remember what someone else says. Taking notes helps me forget my own thoughts and ideas. This gets tricky when I'm in the middle of a graphics or programming project. An idea or solution will pop into my head when I'm walking or napping. If something else grabs my attention, the idea may disappear, so I try to write it down as soon as possible. BUT: writing it down tends to remove the idea from active consideration. There's no decent middle ground. If I can keep the concept circulating and spend time developing the idea while it's fresh, it will build enough internal storage to stay in the foreground whether written or not. Best trick would be to get someone else to speak the idea to me so I could write it down and remember it. But I'm not rich enough to hire a "reverse secretary". (Miss Cranston, give a letter!)
Labels: Experiential education
Polistra was named after the original townsite of Manhattan (the one in Kansas). When I was growing up in Manhattan, I spent a lot of time exploring by foot, bike, and car. I discovered the ruins of an old mill along Wildcat Creek, and decided (inaccurately) that it was the remains of the original site of Polistra. Accurate or not, I've always liked the name, with its echoes of Poland (an under-appreciated friend of freedom) and stars. ==== The title icon is explained here. ==== Switchover: This 2007 entry marks a sharp change in worldview from neocon to pure populist. ===== The long illustrated story of Polistra's Dream is a time-travel fable, attempting to answer the dangerous revision of New Deal history propagated by Amity Shlaes. The Dream has 8 episodes, linked in a chain from the first. This entry explains the Shlaes connection.