Several of my classmates have already recorded the correlation between students’ level of class participation and the mediums through which they take notes (i.e. laptop vs. pen and paper). However, I believe that we can learn more by noting the frequency of class responses relative not only to the choice of media for note taking, but also relative to what media is used for accessing the class readings. Thus, I decided to record the frequency of comments made by three groups of students:
- Students who use electronic media (laptops, tablets, etc.) to both access the course readings and to take notes.
- Students who read through electronic devices, but who take notes with pen and paper.
- Students who use print media for both reading and note taking.
Although previous observers found that students using pen and paper respond more often than those with laptops, adding the distinction between reading vs note taking with laptops changed the results a bit. I recorded seventeen responses from students taking notes on paper, while students with laptops responded only 12 times. (Note: I only counted unsanctioned comments as “responses”, meaning only comments not prompted or directly asked by the professor were recorded). However, students from the second of my three groups – those reading from an electronic device but taking notes by hand – responded a total of seventeen times; exactly the same amount as those performing both tasks “the old fashioned way”. It would seem from this that it is indeed the method of note taking and not reading which is more closely correlated to class participation.
After reading the article by Mr. Morozov, I decided to also record how the use of technology correlated with students’ opinions on this rather opinionated piece. I noted when any student displayed a for/against opinion of Morozov’s premise, and what type of media that student was using, with the four possible combinations shown in the matrix below:
Unfortunately I was unable to obtain enough data to draw any solid conclusion. Only one student had a strong reaction toward the piece, (a negative reaction, in fact) and that student was using an electronic device. While this might be indicative of a trend, one data point is insufficient to draw any conclusion.
On a final note, I found the following video to be an especially poignant representation of the ubiquity of technology in our lives.