Collecting observational data using digital notetaking: A reflection on the affordances of technology to record handwritten field notes during lesson observations.

Year: 2021

Author: Ashcroft, Emily

Type of paper: Individual Paper

The benefits of handwritten note-taking have been argued by many, and it is widely accepted that it is a complex process. However, with increasing access to digital devices, how many people engage in note-taking is changing. From devices such as computers or tablets to programs such as OneNote, the dynamics of note-taking are vast and are changing the processes and attitudes of those who engage in note-taking. This presentation will outline the process of collecting field notes using a digital tablet designed specifically for taking handwritten notes. During the data collection, the focus of the lesson observations was teacher’s instruction and in-action delivery of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in Foundation year classrooms. Handwritten field notes were taken to record the lesson observation, including the teacher’s choices around STEM instruction. The field notes were handwritten on a tablet that is designed to mimic the tactile nature of handwriting. This presentation explores the connection between paper, pen and digital devices from my reflections on the data collection process. I will discuss the affordances of replicating an authentic handwriting experience on a tablet for research data collection. These affordances include converting notes to text and systematically organising documents. Additionally, I will reflect on the challenges of the process, including familiarity and troubleshooting. Finally, I will share considerations for future data collection using the device and invite feedback and discussion with interested researchers.