Monday, September 01, 2008

Back to the Future

Spiral-bound notebooks and ink pens. That's right, writing on paper. This semester I am going to require more paper, not less, from my students. There are a number of reasons for this, both theoretical and practical:

1) Web abuse. When you write an outline, you inherently resort to paraphrasing. Cut-n-paste doesn't require any such effort. Plus, as you paraphrase, you are trying to identify the most important information in a passage.

2) The unknown connections. I have found that sketching and writing on paper lead to unforeseen places. Those unscheduled trips are good for creativity.

3) Kinetic learning. I was finding students retain less after skimming a Web page. Writing, a physical act, is slower. Some people seem to learn more when they write or type notes.

4) Openness. When you write, and it isn't online somewhere, you censor the thoughts a slight, slight bit less. I want to know what students think of projects, team members, and their overall writing experiences. It's hard to be open when your posts are to a semi-public forum.

We will see how this goes.

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