Is Paper Dead?



Author(s)  Jennifer Stanford, Dr Andrew McKinley, Dr Joel Loveridge


There is a perception that digital media enhances the students’ learning experience. Lecture slides and notes deposited on Blackboard have replaced copious note-taking and the scrappy reproduction diagrams, scribbled in the notebook, which required significant modification after trawling through the library. Building on work by Mueller & Oppenhiemer (2014), which found that note-taking using a laptop encouraged shallower learning processes, we ask whether Powerpoint diminishes students’ subject engagement. Here we experiment with three different information delivery styles (Powerpoint, flipped classroom and ‘chalk and talk’) in order to test what and when these are appropriate teaching/learning technologies.


K4 of the UKPSF requires the educator to understand the ‘use and value of appropriate learning technologies’. Often, appropriate learning technology is perceived as the use of Powerpoint and/or a Virtual Learning Environment to support our teaching activities. Although these technologies ensure that the students have complete coverage of the material taught, and allows them the time in lectures (otherwise spent note-taking) to think about the information being imparted, we question and evaluate in this workshop, whether it is always to the students’ advantage to provide all the subject material that they require, especially when the learning outcomes involve deeper learning. As we strive towards teaching excellence we, as educators, need to align our teaching methods to best meet the learning outcomes, which may not always be the path of least attrition for us, or the students, and may or may not be innovative. During this workshop, similar subject material on pedagogy will be delivered using three different methods; (1) using only Powerpoint with handouts, (2) using Powerpoint, with literature/teaching materials provided beforehand (ie. in a flipped classroom), and (3) using predominantly ‘chalk and talk’. Delegates will be asked to complete a 15 minute test, which will include a mixture of subject specific facts and figures, as well as more complex questions requiring a higher cognitive understanding of the material. The aim is to assess which teaching style best suits the learning objectives and the type of material delivered.

Key Words

technologies, delivery style

Key Messages

Hopefully, that ‘chalk and talk’ may still be considered an ‘appropriate’ learning technology, which engages the higher cognitive domains. However, this is an experiment, so the results will be interesting to see.


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