Phone and Note Taking

Dear Ms. Smartphone: I teach a class at university extension and have an issue. My students are taking notes during class on their phones or tablets. Honestly, I don’t know whether they are actually taking class notes or browsing the Internet or email. Dale, Boston

Dear Dale: What you pose could be a problem, or not. Smartphones don’t seem compatible for note-taking, but tablets do work. Why not call on your note taking students during class to find out if they are tuned-in and paying attention?
Two professors from UCLA and Princeton did research on the best method for note-taking. That was in 2016 and things change rapidly in the tech world. It doesn’t sound like you want these devices in your classroom. As an instructor you must show students how to learn to learn. There is a new book by Cal Newport called Digital Minimalism. You might recommend it to these particular students. Better yet, if the content fits your curriculum, make this a full classroom discussion.

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