(from the Chronicle of Higher Education) Instructors often have strong opinions about whether laptops belong in the classroom and frequently pride themselves on holding opinions based on research. A new paper investigating the difference between taking notes longhand or on a laptop has attracted attention, but doesn't offer definitive answers. The new research tried to replicate a well-known study that found that students who took notes by hand fared better on conceptual test questions than did those who typed notes on a laptop. The new paper couldn’t completely replicate those findings. It found that students who took notes by hand fared a bit better on factual test questions, but not on conceptual ones. While both papers find some advantage for students who take notes by hand, the new study at least complicates the 2014 paper’s theory about why handwritten notes appeared to improve conceptual understanding in particular.
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