Activity Feed Discussions Blogs Bookmarks Files

Technology and Memory

I am fascinated by observing my younger students, whose interaction with technology is seamless. I have students who will take pictures of the board, instead of write down notes, students who take notes on their phones....These are things we've probably all seen. I am interested in a larger discussion of how effective this use of technology is in the retention of information?

I would imagine quite ineffective. Writing and sounding out words and concepts is the 2400-year tried-and-true method for knowledge absorption. Pictures, sound bytes, and shorthand are lazy attempts to shortcut learning.
There are no shortcuts.

When they take a picture of the notes how do you know that thay are not comprosieing the info, and selling it to a nother student. Also are they taking notes on the phone or just texting on a nother screen. we have a no phone policly hear. We have caught students texing through there pocket. So the use of technology by the younger students in class can be good or bad.

It's lazy! I for one would not allow it...I have a strict policy on cell phones and other electronic gizmos: I don't want to hear it, and I don't want to see it...other than that, have fun!! But seriously, your student is "taking a picture" of the notes and fooling themself that they will read/study it later. Ain't going to happen.

On another note, I would personally appreciate a teacher who understood that I am able to utilize the time spent in the classroom to gather as much information as possible, to engage in the lecture and discussion, and make the most of the time I have in front of the expert. I use time outside of class to digest the information and internalize it. The time-sensitive nature of class and the ineffectiveness of straight lecture is then eased and made more efficient for taking advantage of the services that are only able during class time. I will study later! Teachers have made available their notes in copy form for years, and I spent my time engaging my mind rather than my hand in class because of this.

Hi Jason,
You make a good point about how to be engaged as a student. By reducing the time spent in writing and increasing the time spent in discussion the internalizing of the course content is enhanced. More instructors need to follow the model.

Utilizing technology to aid in memory recall can be effective. However, it is important to take in to consideration the students best method of learning and not just rely on the technology to take notes for the individual since this in my opinion defeats the purpose of using technology. We are supposed to use technology to help us become better, more effective; not lazy.

Hi Michelle,
This is an important point about helping students acquire new content. They need to be able to relate to the material and integrate it into their memory bank in such a way that they can retrieve it as needed.

I am fascinated by this as well. I am a culinary instructor and my students do all of the above. I am old school if you will. I allow the use of technology during lecture/demo, but all students must handwrite their daily production notes. I find that the students who write notes during lecture as opposed to using technolgy tend to have higher grades regardless of age.

Hi Josh,
When students take notes by hand they are involving a number of learning components, visual, cognitive and tactile. The incorporation of all these help with retention of content and increased application of their new knowledge. So you are on the right track with your approach in the setting you are working within.

I am surprised so many people are against these new uses of technology in the classrooms. While I agree that students shouldn't just be allowed to take a picture of the board and then mentally check out, we need to be realistic about the way the world is changing. People love their cell phones these days. If we can make learning more fun by allowing them to use the technology that excites them, we should. I do know that sometimes students are texting on their phones. It is the new version of passing notes, an old tradition that will never die, just evolve. But I also know that sometimes they are using their phones to look up information about the topic we are discussing. They are checking definitions of words, or looking up names of people I have referenced in my lecture. They are being interactive and supplementing my words with images and new information.

Passing out handouts to students is no different than allowing students to take a picture of the board. I allow students to help themselves to my power-point presentations (download onto their thumb drives) Allowing our (young sometimes) adult learners to decide what works best for them is a sign of respect and keeping an open mind about their selected methods will at least not shut down an opportunity to learn.

I have found in the past that this is very ineffective. I no longer allow it in my classroom.

Hi Lauren,
I'm not sure what you have found to be ineffective in your classroom. Can you expand on this a little? Thanks.

I like this discussion. The bad practices just outline the challenge. You cannot stop the progression of technology, the challenge is how to handle it. Censoring a communication channel is temporarily effective. It is beeter to use that delay due to a ban to find a way to incorparate it into instructional methods.

The military learned that fighting technology is harder than working with it. Efforts to bar soldiers from blogging, for example, were recently reversed. Techological or bureaucratic barriers were not cost effective and undermined some positive aspects of the technology. It is more common now to see Facebook and Twitter feeds on the same sites.

When texting becomes disruptive or distracting to a class, then it must be stopped. On the other hand, taking a photo of the board...or my favorite, "just send me a copy of the slides" is not lazy, just doesn't seem very effective. Offer them a better outlet. Print or post on-line an outline view of PPT or give them an outline from on which they can take notes. Post on-line with whatever protection is available (e.g. password, read-only, or saved as a picture not a file - if that export affects intellectual property).

Hi Francis,
You make a number of very good points about how to use technology in a positive and supportive way. I due like you with my PP and post them on Blackboard. This way the students can pull them off ahead of class and have them available to follow when we are discussing them in class.
One of my challenges is keeping up with the technology so I can use integrate the use of it into my instruction.
Keep up the good efforts you are putting forth to provide your students with content in the most effective and efficient manner.

I have caught students cheating using the cell phone as a note pad or cheat sheet. One student recited the application of a clinical on her phone and in class had her ear piece in to listen / cheat on her clinical test. There is a no cell phone policy in my class during class time and i have to agree the use of technology is good but often times is misused to do bad things.

Hi Alphia,
It seems that no matter what policy is in effect students will attempt to cheat or take the easy way out of doing their assignments. These students are the ones that have all kinds of problems in their careers and can't seem to figure out if they would just put forth the effort they would be rewarded with success.

I like the comment you made about working with technology rather than fighting it. There are times when I am tempted to load my lessons on facebook... Of course, my school does not allow us to have our students on Facebook...

Seriously, though.. One of my fellow instructors shared with me a situation in a communications class: He had grouped together all of the students in pairs of two and given them a group written assignment. All of the students got into groups, except for on. The two students were sitting on opposite ends of the classroom. When he asked the students what they were doing, they promptly showed him that they had completed the required activity completely on their smart phones. They had done all their discussions via the smart phones and used the technology to create a document.

Although it was the instructor's intent for them to work in "groups" this was these particular students interpretation of "working in groups".

Times are achanging... If we don't work with the technology, we will find that it works against us.

Hi Pamela,
Thanks for sharing this great example of technology use and abuse. You are right about times achanging. It keeps us instructors on our toes trying incorporate such technology and still retain control of the flow of course content.

Sign In to comment