Sunday, March 8, 2015

Infrastructure: Abandoned Spaces and White Lined Paper #SOL15, Day 8

We find beauty in ruins. How else can we explain our attraction to decaying bridges, abandoned roads, ancient artifacts? Watch a design show and observe the rustic architectural elements juxtaposed with the pristine and new. 

During winter break my husband and I marveled at the abandoned railway and road that was once U.S 1 as we traveled the Oversees Highway to Key West. 


The "beautiful disaster" of a "lost highway" works as a metaphor for the way I think about building bridges and the role of abandoned spaces and white lined paper for learning in my classroom. 


After introducing my students to various online note-taking techniques and apps, with little success, and after countless students questioning my no-tech ,traditional method of note-taking for research papers the past few years, this year I have a group of students who PREFER to hand-write their notes. 

Surprise. 

It seems as though the so-called "digital natives," having grown up in front of screens, like the newness of the old, the archaic, the tried and true, pencil to paper scratching I learned during the 1970s. 

Go figure. 

It seems as though students recognize "The Benefits of No-Tech Note Taking," which The Chronicle of Higher Education reports. After posting this article on my Facebook page, a couple of former students added to the conversation: "I always take notes by hand, so this research makes me happy," says Melissa.

Chelsea added: "My bachelor's degree is in Computer Information Systems, and I got lots of strange looks when I would pull out paper to take notes. It just makes so much more sense to me." 

Both young professionals learned to take notes on note cards during the research process when they were my students. 

From abandoned methodology a return to the blank page with blue lines. Beautiful, repurposed ruins.


8 comments:

  1. I thoroughly enjoyed this post! While not a digital native, I am a HS librarian--and have a masters in Instructional Technology--and I adore the beautiful repurposed ruins you speak of, as well.

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    1. Thanks, Sonja. I use tech quite often in my classes, but note cards are much easier to move around and "see" collectively than notes on a screen.

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  2. Beautiful metaphor. We need to appreciate the past structures and build on it, taking what works from it. I love the fact that your students have found what works for them. The process of writing does do something in the brain. It is a different process.

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    1. "We need to appreciate the past structures and build on it, taking what works from it." I could not agree more, Julileanne. The age of a methodology should not determine its utility.

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  3. These lines made my heart soar: "after countless students questioning my no-tech ,traditional method of note-taking for research papers the past few years, this year I have a group of students who PREFER to hand-write their notes." I am old school, too; I swear that using a pen or pencil opens up my brain in a very different way than happens when writing on a computer. Keep on bringing these kids into the light! ;-)

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    1. At times getting students to try an unfamiliar method isn't easy, but most come around and see the benefit. It's not uncommon to hear, "you were right" at the end of the project, but getting there can be exhausting!

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  4. So interesting, there is something in us that is drawn to pen and paper - I hope it is always so.

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    1. I do, too, Tara. A couple of students gave me a journal for Christmas; I'm taking it on a trip to Europe and the UK later this month.

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