Note taking and the control of

Note to self
Note taking and the control of information
Professor Tara Brabazon
Charles Sturt University
[email protected]
What are the causes for the transformation
in note taking?
• Laziness
• Underconfidence
• Confusion of testing with learning
Structuring student drafting
Draft 1: Correct all spelling and grammatical issues
Draft 2: Check that all references are complete
Draft 3: Verify that all quotations are accurate
Draft 4: Read the introduction. Does it explain the trajectory of the
Draft 5: Read the conclusion. Is there an efficient and evocative ending
to the assignment?
Draft 6: Does the topic sentence convey the content of the paragraph
that follows it?
Draft 7: Check the last sentence of each paragraph. Does it create a
transition to the next paragraph?
Draft 8: Read each word and sentence for meaning and clarity. Is each
word required?
Draft 9: Ensure there is no jump between sections of the argument.
Draft 10: Do you answer the question? Return to the question and the
marking criteria. What mark would you give the paper?
Screen grab of my digitized notes
Scaffolding note taking
• Take notes from readings separately from the books and articles. Do
not write ‘notes’ on photocopies or the books themselves
• Stop highlighting text and underlining. Do not colour in photocopies.
• Ensure that every subject has a separate file. Insert notes from
readings on separate pages from lecture and seminar notes.
• Ensure that accurate references are logged.
• Either type or write your notes. Ensure legibility for future use.
• Write down the key argument of the writer/s in one sentence.
• Look at the bibliography/reference list used by the writer, noting the
quality and dates of the cited scholarship.
• Copy important quotations accurately. Carefully differentiate
between your notes, paraphrasing and direct quotations.
• Ensure that your notes are sufficiently detailed so that you do not
need to return to the original text when writing assignments.
• Ensure that your notes are sufficiently brief that you have not
paraphrased the entire article.
Why note taking stopped
“About five years ago, my students stopped taking
notes … I asked, ‘Why are you not taking notes?’
And they said, ‘Why would we take notes on that?
… I can go to Wikipedia or go to Google, and I can
get all the information I need.’”
Bill Rankin
Note taking is metalearning
improve memory
trigger factual recall
shape the interpretation to data
guide through disciplinary knowledge
increase auditory literacies,
increase real-time interpretations of data
increase concentration in the management of
complex ideas
Dependency culture
• What are the short and long-term
consequences of students not taking their own
• What happens if generations of students use
teachers’ PowerPoint slides as the notes they
use to write assignments and study for exams?
What is happening in our classrooms?
• Teachers confuse planning and writing a teaching
session with preparing PowerPoint slides.
• There is a confusion between preparation and
“Those who brought laptops with them, purportedly
for note-taking, seemed to be performing less well
than students who did not. And not only were they
distracted; so were their nearby classmates … ‘The
conspiracy theorist in me assumed they were on
Facebook.’ Apparently, some were. Or on Twitter
or YouTube or eBay … When he started
surreptitiously tracking the performance of the
laptop users, Littau found out something else about
them: they were getting lower grades.”
Jeremy Littau
“We fall in love with the idea of technology and
don’t always think through what students are
learning from it. Technology tools are just that:
they are tools. Even when they become something
that’s just there to waste time, that’s fine. But if it’s
my time or your classmates’ time, that’s different …
We’ve had enough experience with the internet that
it’s now time to sit back and look at what we’re
getting from it.”
Jeremy Littau
Education in the distraction factory
“We’ve reached a period where attention is no
longer valued. There’s been a cultural change
where we’ve forgotten about the idea of paying
Clifford Nass
Another (bloody) cat picture …
Sent: 09 November 2011 20:26
To: Tara Brabazon
Subject: Assingment 1
Hi Tara! :)
Hope you are doing well! I just wanted to clear some things up with
my confusion towards assignment number one. I have been working
on it for a while now and im not quite sure if i am meeting up to your
standards. I have been composing an actual scrapbook with photos
and some comments of topics from week 1-10 and also i have made
a powerpoint with my commentary of the readings (i'm thinking by
when you say readings you are talking about the actual readings you
have posted that we are required to read? or are you talking about the
readings off the powerpoints from class?) along with some songs i
have chosen that fit the topics of week 1-10. Please let me know if
im on the right track here? Thanks so much!
Student critiques of online ‘learning’
“Since laptops take makes (sic) up a significant portion of
our tuition fees, I expect that each and every lecture I go
too (sic) utilises this resource, as I am paying over a $1000
every year too use it, because of your lack of enthusiasm
to post your lecture notes online, I feel that you have not
fully utilized this resource. I believe it should be
appropriate in a claimed ‘Laptop Based University’ all
course material should be available online.”
“Since we do pay extraordinary amounts for the services
of the laptop, we expect that at least the lecture slides be
posted on WebCT or the professor make use of silicon
chalk for the class discussion.”
What are the consequences
of automating or deskilling
“Many students come to college not only poorly prepared
by prior schooling for highly demanding academic tasks
that ideally lie in front of them, but – more troubling still
– they enter college with attitudes, norms, values, and
behaviors that are often at odds with academic
“If one is to cast aspersions on student cultures that exist
on college campuses today, one would do well to focus
equal attention on the faculty cultures and orientations.”
Arum and Roksa, Academically Adrift
Less is more:
Fewer media create more meaning
Applying multimodality
• Understand the difference between sonic and
visual literacy
• Remember that print is a form of visual
• Less text is better text
Less is more?
“Too many pupils arrive at school with
mobile phones, iPods and MP3 players
when teachers wish they could bring a
National Association of Schoolmasters Union of
Women Teachers Report, 2011
The inadequate research into PowerPoint
“We investigated whether students liked and learned
more from PowerPoint presentations than from
overhead transparencies … At the end of the
semester, students preferred PowerPoint
presentations but this preference was not found on
ratings taken immediately after the lectures.
Students performed worse on quizzes when
PowerPoint presentations included non-text items
such as pictures and sound effects. We conclude that
PowerPoint can be beneficial, but material that is
not pertinent to the presentation can be harmful to
students’ learning.”
R. Bartsch and K. Cobern
Bartsch and Cobern’s study
• Students prefer PowerPoint presentations
• There are mixed results with regard to graphics
and student memory. Some studies show an
improvement. Others do not.
• There is a study that shows a decrease in student
performance in the movement from overhead
transparencies to PowerPoint.
How does the form of PowerPoint
shape the content?
“Helps you make a case, but it also makes its
own case: about how to organize information,
how much information to organize, how to
look at the world … it’s hard to shake off
AutoContent’s spirit: even the most easygoing
PowerPoint template insists on a heading
followed by bullet points, so that the user to
shepherded toward a staccato, summarizing
frame of mind.”
Ian Parker
Szabo and Hastings study
“PowerPoint lectures, at least in some
circumstances, mainly add to the entertainment
rather than to the education of the students … Apart
from possible benefits on recall, no significant
advantages to PowerPoint lecturing were found …
students like PowerPoint as a lecturing method.
Their preference for PowerPoint lectures, in
contrast to their beliefs, is not accompanied by
better academic performance.”
Digital Hemlock
Neil Postman
Questions about the photographing of PowerPoint
1. Why are they using their camera rather than
taking notes onto paper or screen?
2. What happens to that photograph after it is
3. Do they look at the photograph again?
4. Do they think they understand the content on the
slide because they have photographed it?
5. What are they missing by photographing the
slides? What about the audio content of the
teaching and learning experience?
Teach the surprises

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