Lectures. Wow.

“A lecture is an event where the notes of the professor pass to the notebooks of the students
without going through the brains of either.”

The NYT published an article describing the insufficiencies of using a laptop to take notes during lectures.  Just not enough ‘learning’ oomph.

And lots of people jumped in….entirely missing a key point.

Lectures and learning. Especially if learning means ‘a permanent change in thinking or behavior.’

Recently wrote an entire blogpost about this.  And I completely agree that sitting and typing during a lecture is a very poor way to receive the distribution of information.  If the point is to distribute information.  

Screen Shot 2017-11-27 at 9.27.44 AM

The problem is NOT the laptop.  It’s the teaching strategy.  Of course direct instruction absolutely has a place as a tool in education. According to Hattie, direct instruction has an impact size of .6.  That’s substantial.  Scaffolding and classroom discussion have impact sizes of .82.  Don’t see those in too many lectures.  Lectures are a pure example of distribution of information.  Professor solely has the information.  Distributes it to the students, laptops or not.  Students have the information until it’s time to give it back via a test.  End of story.  Learning? 

A more robust use of laptops is to create better learning experiences other than typing during lectures.  A youtube video could replace the lecture.  Flipped learning could handle the lecture.  How about about using the tools to create?  Critically think?  Communicate?  And most importantly, collaborate?

It’s not about the tool.  It’s about what one does with it.  And to use it to simply take notes during a lecture is a waste of time.  Glad a study confirmed it.


Author: Jnelson

Jeff Nelson Fife School District Assistant Superintendent:Teaching-Learning-Innovation 39 years as an educator. 16 years teacher 3 years assistant principal 12 years principal 8 years Assistant Superintendent BA, Washington State University MAEd, Washington State University Previous member of AWSP Legislative Committee Previous member of UW Tacoma PEAB, Administrative Certification Established and maintained Fife’s first website for 7 years Present work includes establishing the first Teaching/Learning/Innovation department in the Fife School District. Examples of responsibilities include: teacher/administrator professional development, assessment, TPEP, curriculum/materials review, 24 credit requirement, technology levy leadership, teacher/administrator bargaining. Initiatives underway in Fife, as a result of new TLI Department: AVID, OER, Curriculum and Materials reviews, Student Perception Pilot with CSTP, Google Expedition Cofounder of Educational Internet Communications, LLC. Marketed and sold one of the first online grade checking programs in the US. Consulted with Seattle Educational Internet Company for 2 years. jnelson@fifeschools.com twitter.com/jeffnelsonTLI

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