NAEMSE 2012: Doodle Session Recap

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Kyle Bates at NAEMSE

Kyle preparing to present



At the 2012 NAEMSE Symposium I attended the session Doodle! Are Your Students Learning or Distracted? by Kyle David Bates. The session was packed with information about learning and distraction and several interactive exercises. I did my best to pay attention, scrawl lots of notes, and resist the temptation of checking my email or tweeting.

A “doodle” is a mindless scrawl while the mind is otherwise applied. Most of us doodle, usually in a regular geometric pattern, and a doodle might help our retention of auditory information. Doodling helps to stabilize arousal and keep the learner in a state of readiness that is not to high or to low.

Kyle led us through to two interactive exercises. In the first exercise half the room was instructed to doodle while listening to a phone message about people planning to attend a party. The other half of the room was supposed to simply listen. Researchers have found that doodlers typically remember more names than the non-doodlers. In the second exercise a series of images were shown on the screen while the other half of the room was doodling. When a second set of images was shown we needed to recall if the images were part of the first image set or not. This time the doodlers retained less information as it was presented visually. So for some types of information doodling may be helpful. For other types of information doodling might be a distraction.

Doodle Slide Design

Kyle’s slides are always well made and support his key points



In the final third of the presentation Kyle connected doodling to the mobile technology distractions that are bombarding us with emails, text messages, photos, and status updates. He also shared some resources for allowing students to appropriately user their mobile devices as part of the education experience.

  • Remind 101 – group text messaging (maybe I could use this for the text messaging course I want to build about the dangers of distracted driving)
  • Poll Everywhere – text and web based polling that can be embedded into presentations
  • Cel.ly – SMS messaging for polls and quizzes
  • StudyBoost.com

Do you doodle during class? Is there a good doodling app? Have you used any of the tools Kyle shared?