The Impact of Pen Use – Low Formality Thinking
In fact, there are so many papers on the benefits of handwriting that it’s hard to know where to start. In my last video i mentioned travis smith, a former teacher from melbourne, who presented a talk based on the educational research that explains the power of the pen. Travis talked about a scientist from monash university in his presentation, professor gordon sanson, now retired samson is a biologist, not an it specialist or a human computer interface scientist, but back in the 2000s with major strides forward in technology. He was very interested in the way university lectures were being conducted both on how teachers presented and how students absorbed information. An important topic of his interest was the changing style of presentations at university. During the 2000s teachers were switching from overhead projectors to powerpoint. Many were still using chalkboards too. I’Ve listened to a few of his presentations and i’ve particularly studied one from 2009 being an academic sansone cited dozens of papers on the topics of presenting and note taking. He quoted papers going all the way back to the 70s fisher and harris 1973., cairo, 1985, 1989, 1991 cook and maya 1983. I could go on i’ll leave a list in the description below just to get. You started something that piqued my interest in professor samson’s presentation was a concept that applies to both presenting and note taking it’s the idea of low fidelity or low formality and high fidelity or high formality content. I’Ll use the term formality, but it’s kind of interchangeable.
For the purpose of this discussion anyway, for example, writing with chalk on a chalkboard produces low formality content. On the other hand, high formality content is what we produce with a computer it’s. What we type word, documents, powerpoint presentations, bullet point lists. Professor samson takes this concept of low and high formality from the user interface design, element of human computer interface or hci. When designing apps developers found that, if you presented people with a finished looking interface, people tended to give feedback on the design elements or the appearance of the app. So if the ux designers gave hand drawn interface models, people tended to give more conceptual feedback rather than design feedback. Professor sanson said this in his presentation: low fidelity is when you present the model on paper and crayon. These are computer scientists advocating paper and crayon people. Then focus on the big idea. They see the wood for the trees if it’s presented as a high formality model on a computer they’ll edit, the button size or the color of the font. Studies that professor sanson cites demonstrate that low formality handwritten note, taking led to higher recall for students. Additionally low formality presentations tended to give students more time for low formality. Note taking low formality content on both sides of the lecture, improves, understanding and attention that’s, because the work of creating this low formality content helps with processing and creating connections. In the mind, as professor sanson explained, certain tasks work well with a pen, pencil, a whiteboard or a blackboard note, taking ideating brainstorming problem solving diagramming, explaining concepts outlining these things often include non verbal elements, for example, highlights connections and diagrams they’re expressive, and they can be Spatial you can’t, do these things with a keyboard and a mouse.
On the other hand, these things work much better on a keyboard, email, presentations, documents, proposals, agreements, lists these are more formal and they need to be communicated clearly and a keyboard is the best way. But if you’ve ever tried to solve a difficult problem over a chat or email, you’ve probably found yourself frustrated. Can you remember the last time that you shared a typed up word document or a powerpoint presentation with your colleagues looking for their ideas and input? What did you actually get back, spelling and grammar corrections, format? Suggestions when you share a document, people tend to focus in on the detail and you probably won’t get any ideas at all. As professor sanson said, they’ll see the wood for the trees. The high formality format encourages focus on minute, detail here’s how professor sandson applied this concept to everyday work. When you present an idea, you want discussion from hand, write it when you present an idea where you want the person to edit the document, but not to see the real content type it. On the other hand, what happens when you share a room and a whiteboard with your colleagues to discuss an idea? You can probably recall a time when you’ve done this with a team that’s really working well together, you get lots of ideas flying around and you’ll get different perspectives. The format encourages big picture thinking. This is often lost in a dominated world. We need low formality content to develop our best ideas, both individually and in our teams.
Before we get down into the detail, you can’t skip the thinking step and go right into the detail, but unfortunately i think it’s evident that many people do today. They go straight to the keyboard first, and that leads to poor outcomes. Professor sanson was far from an advocate of the old ways, a better approach. Rather, he was really ahead of his time. He was interested in applying research to new technologies like tablets with pens, and he stands out for his considered approach to technology in the classroom, not technology for the sake of technology, but rather the application of scientific process to the adoption of technology. Professor sanson’s presentation also introduced me to what he called the performance preference disconnect in a 2009 study by savoy, proctor and salvendy. Students were shown to get better results from what the authors called chalk and talk lectures as opposed to lectures with finished powerpoint slides. But even after being shown, the results, students still preferred powerpoint. What i took from professor samson’s work is something that i’ve always intuitively known, that low formality content is very important, and low formality can be done in a digital world. So long as your device has a pen apps like microsoft, onenote whiteboard and office 365 apps with inking enable low formality work in a digital space. I’Ll leave a link to one of professor samson’s presentations below, unfortunately, it’s, not very well recorded as a lot of his work was before youtube.
Professor sanson does have a number of published papers on using tablets in education. I’Ll leave some links to those below, as well as some of the works that he cites for further reading. So, if you’d like to know more about working with low formality in a digital world, then you’re in the right place hit like and subscribe and we’ll see.