No screens allowed

In this teaching session students make notes with pen and paper instead of on their laptops.

Many students find it difficult to organise new information in a meaningful way. Here you offer them a diagram that serves as a coat hook on which they can ‘hang’ new knowledge. Using such a coat hook enables students to identify main and sub-issues and the connection between them.

Activity goal
Activate prior knowledge | Assess | Exchange knowledge | Reflect
In class | Post class
Hybrid | Offline | Online
< 30 minutes| < 60 minutes| > 60 minutes
Group size

Pens, paper, Zoom, MS Teams

Step 1

Decide which ‘coat hook’ to use based on the content of your lecture. For example, a timeline for a procedure or sequence, a tree diagram for a cause-consequence, a Venn diagram to compare concepts (similarities and differences). For examples scroll to the download section below. Include this diagram in your presentation as example so that students can use this as a guide.

Step 2

Present the diagram that matches the content (the lecture chunk) that you will be presenting and ask students to close their laptops and use a pen and paper.

Step 3

Give a presentation (lecture chunk) of approximately 10-15 min.

Step 4

Stop briefly and give students the time to further organise the information. A version of this is the teaching method Listen, stop, compare.

Step 5

Check whether anything is unclear or if there are questions and then continue your presentation.

Step 6

Repeat this, using another diagram if necessary, for the next lecture chunks. 


  • Offer a diagram without labels that the students have to complete themselves.
  • Offer a table in which various data or crucial information is still missing, information that you aim to provide during your presentation.
  • Offer the main topics with space to write around this so that students can place the information by the right topics.
  • Choose a diagram that links to a student’s prior knowledge, instead of the content. An example of this is the KWL chart (know-wonder-learn, or: I know this already, I’m not sure about that, I’ve just learned that). 

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