Faculty and students discuss the shift away from traditional teaching methods and the impact of increasing technical content in the classroom.
Kara Yoon, 23, shook her sore wrist and looked down at her calloused fingers. She has been handwriting page after page of art history notes in an orange three-ring spiral notebook. Yoon said that this arduous process prompted her to finally decide to use her computer as a note-taking device.
Yoon said that she was originally accustomed to handwriting notes in the art history honor class because she believed that handwriting notes would increase her retention of class materials. She said that this shift to digital notes also made her more accessible to the works of art she studied.
"I tend to take too many notes. Art history is different from ordinary history because we have to analyze art works," Yin said. "I decided to transfer the art history notes to the computer because it is more efficient and I can paste the photos into the document, so it is easier to refer to when studying."
Although Yin turned to technology in the art history honors course, she said that she changed her note-taking skills based on the subject.
"Art history is the only course where I take notes [from] my computer," Yin said. "In the rest of [my course], I take notes by hand. For science and mathematics, there are numbers and equations, so it is easier to take notes on paper. I also think that when students do not turn on the computer in class, the teacher Would like it better."
In the past 10 years, high school principal Beth Slattery stated that she has noticed a shift from traditional teaching methods to more modern practices that require technology, such as taking notes on iPads.
The school’s deputy principal Laura Rose said that the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated this trend. Rose said that every student should find the best way to take notes for them. Rose said she prefers to take notes on the computer because her handwriting is of high quality and it is difficult to keep up with the speaker while writing.
"Everyone must find a system that suits them," Ross said. "There are a lot of conflicting studies. All these resources say that a pencil on paper is the best method. Other studies have shown that if you read Cornell's notes online, it's better. I don't think there is a clear [best] Note-taking strategy]."
Adison Gamradt '23 said that she relied on the iPad to complete homework in online courses, but since returning to face-to-face school, she has resumed taking notes on paper.
"I did all the work on the iPad during Zoom school," Gamradt said. "I think [using technology] works very well with the Zoom format, but now we are back to face-to-face school, and the school is very paper-based, I use pen and paper to better retain information."
Gamradt said that she always likes to take notes on paper, but once she started using the iPad for digital illustrations, she decided to change her habit of taking notes.
"The school definitely encourages taking notes by hand instead of using a computer, but all my teachers are satisfied with me taking notes on the iPad," Gamradt said.
Celia Goedde, a history and social studies teacher, said she noticed that many students are now taking notes on iPads. Gold said that she encourages students to use pen and paper or iPad to make handwritten notes.
"My reputation is more like an old school teacher," Gold said. "In the [2010s], UCLA or Stanford University and other places conducted a lot of research, and they found that taking notes on paper is actually more suitable for students to learn and retain information. Of course, this is what I hope most of my students get The result. Research shows that when you are writing something that will make you remember it better, it is a hand-brain connection."
Goedde said that the benefits of handwriting on the iPad are similar to the benefits of taking notes on paper.
"If students have accommodations to use laptops, they can use laptops," Goedde said. "The only thing I care about [technology in the classroom] is students’ attention. Now, [technology] reduces everyone’s attention, not only students [and] teachers. This has been fully demonstrated. Generally speaking, The shorter the screen time, the better, especially for students, because for teenagers, this is the time when you build up concentration and stamina. [More and more students] handwriting notes on a tablet, it seems Very good. I really think that is a sweet spot, the best of both worlds."
Rose said that when she observes the classroom, she occasionally sees students distracted by their technology, and believes that teachers should consciously arrange time for the classroom not to use technology.
"I observe a large number of courses, and every once in a while, I will sit next to someone who turns on a laptop and they are shopping online or buying clothes," Rose said. “We don’t want to deny that a child thinks that taking notes on a computer is the best way, so it’s a balance. It’s difficult to save everyone from themselves. If people want to not pay attention, you really can’t stop them. But at the same time, when you think about 75 minutes, there should be time for us all to [turn off our technology] and talk."
Gamradt said she has observed new ways for schools to integrate technology into the classroom.
"When students are absent for a long time, they zoom in," Gamradt said. "I think this is very helpful for students who may be seriously ill, injured or unable to go to school, because they will be able to catch up, which will not happen before we use Zoom."
Slattery said the school allows teachers to determine whether it helps to enlarge the classroom for absent students.
"Like most things we do here, we try to make teachers trust them and make them experts in the class," Slattery said. "English teachers will [feel] that enlarging an English class may not be the best way to let children understand, but enlarging a child to part of a math class or history class may actually be the best way."
Grady Ramburg '24 said that his history class environment has not been severely affected by the magnified students, but the technology in the class may be distracting in other ways.
"Technology can sometimes be distracting in the classroom, especially when people turn on their computers and get bored," Lamberg said. "But if it is used properly, it can be very helpful to make the classroom more interesting."
Slattery said that when students use their devices to go online or send text messages to their parents, there are technical problems.
"The only [negative] part of [the technology in the classroom] is distraction," Slattery said. “That’s why we ask students to put their phones away. It’s super tempting. During the Zoom [meeting], I can hardly focus on the meeting without clicking on other content. For a 17-year-old child, I can imagine In the 75-minute period, this temptation is even harder. If you only have a notebook there, it’s hard to be distracted."
Slattery said the new curriculum has prompted teachers to use technology in the classroom to improve the learning experience of students.
"I do find that more and more teachers are using technology to enhance the [learning] experience," Slattery said. "[Teachers have] the ability to project things, zoom or use EdPuzzles to enhance the experience. When I think back to the situation seven to ten years ago, people think that technology actually reduces the teacher-student experience. Technology should be enhanced, not detracted ."
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