Goodnotes x Stanford: Research to Redefine Testing

Executive Summary

The Future of Assessment

As our research publication on Generative AI demonstrated, the rate of change in education today is quite unlike anything we have seen before, and the way we assess what is taught and understood in the classroom is evolving. Goodnotes is celebrated for its digital handwriting capabilities, which stands at the forefront of what can be achieved with a stylus and a tablet. Professor Guillermo Solano-Flores and his team at Stanford University are conducting vital research that is likely to revolutionise laptop and computer based tests as they currency stand. But why is this important for teaching and learning today, and why should it matter to you?

The Problem at Hand

Imagine sitting down for a test, and before you can even tackle the questions, you're navigating through a maze of menus, icons, and various actions like clicking or dragging. When taking into account the different ways that our brains work, this is likely to have a significant impact on how we demonstrate subject-based knowledge. Students familiar with these interfaces have a clear advantage, and the added complexity means they are spending more mental energy figuring out how to answer rather than focusing on the questions themselves.

Goodnotes could change the game by making digital tests feel like traditional paper-and-pencil ones. Imagine using a stylus to jot down answers, draw diagrams, or tick boxes directly on a screen, without the added complication of typing or navigating complex menus. This approach could level the playing field for all students, making tests more about knowledge and less about digital prowess. Plus, converting handwritten responses into printed text could help make grading more objective, especially for subjective answers. This is all possible in Goodnotes.

The Research

Students themselves express a strong preference for Goodnotes over traditional methods. The two Year 6 students I met find it "smoother to write with" and appreciate the organisational benefits. "It's easier to keep everything neat and tidy because you know The research project aims to explore how to best design a Goodnotes-based testing interface for both classroom and large-scale assessments. The Stanford folks are exploring three key areas:

  1. Identifying the types of questions and tasks from major assessment programs and how Goodnotes can accommodate them.
  2. Determining what Goodnotes can do now and what improvements are needed to support various test tasks effectively.
  3. Understading how students and teachers use Goodnotes, including any challenges they face.

The Impact

For so many students around the world, this could mean a more intuitive and less stressful testing experience. For teachers, this means seamlessly integrating digital tests into their teaching without the added complications of navigating complex interfaces. And for everyone else, it's a peek into how technology can make education more equitable and focused on what truly matters: demonstrating knowledge and thinking creatively to find solutions.

Broader Collaboration

The research will be conducted by Professor Guillermo Solano-Flores, Professor at Stanford University. However, this goes beyond what Stanford are working on with Goodnotes; this is a global community effort. Teachers and students are invited to share their experiences and insights, helping shape a testing interface that meets real-world needs. Whether you're directly involved or simply interested in educational innovation, your voice matters in this conversation about shaping the future of assessment.

As this project progresses, the insights gained will not only benefit Goodnotes' users but it will also offer valuable lessons on integrating technology in education. By focusing on user-friendly design and equitable access we're reimagining the possibilities of digital learning.

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