No screens allowed

Students make notes with pen and paper instead of on their laptops. Many students find it difficult to take notes, particularly to organise new information in a meaningful way. A diagram can serve as a coat hook on which they can ‘hang’ new knowledge. Using such a coat hook enables students to see the main themes, how these are connected and what the main and sub-issues are.

Activity goal
Activate prior knowledge |
Assess |
Exchange knowledge |
In class |
Post class
Hybrid |
Offline |
< 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 see 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

Rinse & Repeat.

  • Variations

    • 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).