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Note-taking: A Research Roundup

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❶What a great resource on how to make note-taking an integral part of our classroom. For their first study, they took university students the standard guinea pig of psychology and showed them TED talks about various topics.

What the Research Says About Note-Taking

First, Let’s Talk About Lectures
1. Know what kind of ideas you need to record
Don't want to cite by hand?

The growing popularity of sketchnoting in recent years suggests that teachers are well on their way to taking advantage of this research. To explore sketchnoting more deeply, check out this list of sketchnoting resources compiled by celebrated education sketchnote artist Sylvia Duckworth.

When students are given the opportunity to revise, add to, or rewrite their notes, they tend to retain more information. And when that revision happens during deliberate pauses in a lecture or other learning experience, students remember the information better and take better notes than if the revision happens after the learning experience is over.

With this in mind, it would be a good idea to plan breaks in lectures, videos, or independent reading periods to allow students to look over, add to, and revise their notes, ideally with a partner or small group. This partner work could happen after students have had time to revise their notes alone, or students might be given access to classmates for the duration of the pause. Teachers can build scaffolds into their instruction to ensure that students take better notes.

One very effective type of scaffold is guided notes also called skeleton or skeletal notes. With guided notes, the instructor provides some type of outline of the material to be covered, but with space left for students to complete key information.

As instructors experiment with guided notes, certain features show a lot of promise. One that I found incredibly interesting was a style developed by engineering professor Susan Reynolds to accompany her lectures: The notes combine typed information, handwritten content, and graphics, but still leave room for student notes and working out example problems.

Diagrams are pre-drawn, but some key numbers are left out for students to fill in during the lecture. These notes consolidate all the technical material for a lecture into a single document, and the information is organized to align with the lecture. The more I study these notes, the more I see how useful they are, and how well they balance the efficiency offered by guided notes with the need for students to actively participate in the encoding process.

Guided notes created by engineering professor Susan Reynolds. These have not been completed yet. The same pages of guided notes completed by the instructor during the lecture. While teachers should experiment with different styles, the take-away here is that if you want students to get the most out of a learning experience, provide them with some form of partially completed notes.

In the meantime, you can add another layer of scaffolding by simply adding more verbal cues to your learning experiences Kiewra, Providing written cues on the board or a slideshow can also help students structure their notes and decide what information to include.

In an article I wrote a few years ago, I denounced instructor-prepared notes as an ineffective method for teaching , primarily because encoding this information required no effort from students and therefore made the learning too passive. Although I stand by the assertion that we should avoid simply supplying students with notes, I need to refine the message: Research has shown that when we give students complete, well-written, instructor-prepared notes to review after they take their own notes, they learn significantly more than with their own notes alone Kiewra, If we combine this strategy with student revision, collaboration, and pausing to improve note-taking and learning—in other words, having students pause during an intake session to collaboratively revise their notes, then let them review instructor notes at the end—we can give our students an incredibly powerful learning experience.

One concern is that providing notes might make students more passive about taking their own notes during the learning experience. Here are some suggestions for addressing that:. This research confirms what a number of educators suspect about the negative effects of digital devices in the classroom, and some have taken it to mean they should definitely ban laptops from their lectures Dynarski, Others argue that prohibiting laptop use robs students of the opportunity to develop metacognitive awareness of their own levels of distraction and make the appropriate adjustments Holland, Because technology is always changing, and because as a species, we are still adjusting to these new formats, I would hesitate to ban laptops from the classroom.

To learn more about what other teachers have found to be most effective note-taking methods, I put the call out on Twitter, asking teachers to share what works for them. You can browse that conversation here. Note-taking in the digital age: Evidence from classroom random control trials. Strategic note-taking for inclusive middle school science classrooms. Remedial and Special Education, 34 2 , The impact of computer usage on academic performance: Evidence from a randomized trial at the United States Military Academy.

Economics of Education Review, 56, The Journal of Educational Research, 4 , — A review of the effectiveness of guided notes for students who struggle learning academic content.

Alternative Education for Children and Youth, 55 4 , Note taking editorials — groundhog day all over again. Educational Psychologist, 20 1 , How classroom teachers can help students learn and teach them how to learn. Theory into Practice, 41 2 , Instructional Science, 44 1. The pen is mightier than the keyboard: Yes, using installed web browser.

Stored in modified DokuWiki Markdown; export: Alarms, check-boxes, bullets, phones, advanced links, autosaving; last cursor position memory,passwords on tree folders,failure-resistant self-healing DB engine. Scripting of pages with Python and other scripting languages. Advanced linking, [ clarification needed ] bullets, tags, checkboxes, full spreadsheet, embedding of programming code, formulas, markup.

Major mode of Emacs ; uses plain-text; includes ToDos, spreadsheet, deadlines, encryption, reminders, agenda, calendar.

Business and personal notes integrated in same client; businesses have control over business notes, but cannot see personal notes. Part of IPython shell; allows for programming code, output and annotation to be combined in single interactive environment. OLE objects; "virtual nodes" which integrate and edit the content of external plain-text or rich-text files; internal links; mirror nodes. OLE , bullets, line, flags, formulas. OLE , bullets, numbering, page breaks, advanced links. For one thing, research shows that laptops and tablets have a tendency to be distracting — it's so easy to click over to Facebook in that dull lecture.

And a study has shown that the fact that you have to be slower when you take notes by hand is what makes it more useful in the long run. In the 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. And that extra processing of the material that they were doing benefited them.

Mueller and Oppenheimer cited that note-taking can be categorized two ways: Generative note-taking pertains to "summarizing, paraphrasing, concept mapping," while nongenerative note-taking involves copying something verbatim. And there are two hypotheses to why note-taking is beneficial in the first place. The first idea is called the encoding hypothesis, which says that when a person is taking notes, "the processing that occurs" will improve "learning and retention.

Because people can type faster than they write, using a laptop will make people more likely to try to transcribe everything they're hearing.

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Note Taking and Learning: A Summary of Research Françoise Boch, Stendhal University, and Annie Piolat, University of Provence Introduction The activity of note taking can be considered part of Writing Across.

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SUMMARY: Taking notes is a key part of the research process because it helps you learn, and allows you to see your information in a useful visual way. LINKS: Empire State College – Taking Notes University of Toronto – Taking Notes from Research Writing Capital Community College – Taking Notes [ ].

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Taking Purposeful Research Notes When students are asked to complete a research project, there are 5 steps that a teacher needs to structure for his/her. 1" " " " " " " " " Notes on Note-Taking: Review of Research and Insights for Students and Instructors" " " Michael C. Friedman" Harvard Initiative for Learning and Teaching".

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If you take notes efficiently, you can read with more understanding and also save time and frustration when you come to write your paper. These are three main principles. Note-taking is an important part of the research process. Notes taken on class lectures or discussions may serve as study aids, while notes taken during an interview may provide material for an essay, article, or book.