Aidan's Infinite Play 1 The Problems With Student Notetaking

Aidan's Infinite Play 1 The Problems With Student Notetaking
Photo by David Travis / Unsplash

Hello Learners!

I'm rebranding the newsletter! After some deliberation with friends and family, I have decided to call it, Aidan's Infinite Play.

Why Infinite Play? Because my favorite way to play life is to treat it like an infinite game. Every day is part of a greater whole, a level in your infinite game.

In an infinite game, I might as well learn about all the cool things I can do inside of it and meet awesome people to do it with along the way.

It's this concept of Infinite Play that I would like to discuss this week. I recently had a podcast conversation with my brother, Skye Helfant (it will be up on my podcast in the next few weeks). During the podcast we discussed how terribly most students take lecture notes during class.

The Big Problem With Students' Notetaking

Most students I see open up a google doc or the slides and write down exactly what the professor says verbatim.

Notetaking like this is disastrous for developing an understanding of the topic. This is because it's a form of passive notetaking. Writing down exactly what the professor says doesn't take any effort.

In fact, it actually hurts your ability to learn the material because you run the danger of becoming a zombie and writing without thinking for the entire class. Sometimes I will look into students eyes during lecture who take notes like this and see nothing there.

Students who use this notetaking style aren't creating their own unique body of knowledge. They are simply copying the ideas of others. In effect they inhibit their motivation for school because it's not inspiring to go to class.

The Solution

The solution is to treat your lecture notetaking like an infinite game. Realize that the point of the notetaking isn't just to get a good great in the class but to help you build your own unique body of knowledge that comes from a mixture of all the information you are consuming in your classes, books, conversations, and the internet.

I do this through Notemaking, writing notes in my own words. Then I connect my notes to each other and build higher order Maps of Contents (MOCs) summarizing multitudes of atomic notes when it becomes too disorganized.

Notemaking like this sparks my curiosity and wonder. Every time I wake up in the morning I get excited at what new pieces of knowledge I will add into my Obsidian system.

The parts of my brain that love figuring out the optimal tech tree advancement in Civilization 6 or finding the best item combinations in Terraria is the same parts that get activated by figuring out the best way to link a note inside of my system.

The same parts of my brain that love collecting League of Legends skins love amassing a compounding body of notes formed from the connections of my own unique information diet.

Here's what I would like to share this week.

📸News From The Channel!

How I Profit From Randomness: Antifragile by Nassim Taleb : In this video, I give a video book summary of Antifragile by Nassim Taleb. It's a book that gives insight into a concept known as antifragility, a system that gains from disorder. Apart from summarizing the book, I give three examples of how I have applied antifragility in my own life.

🌳Environmental Design: How I Change Habits Without Willpower : In this article, I discuss how to change habits, many people rely on brief spurts of motivation and willpower. But motivation and willpower are limited. Instead, you should design your environment to negate the need to use willpower in the first place.

Peter Su: Using Notes to Learn Across Jobs : In this podcast episode, I interview Peter Su. He's a songwriter, former investment banker, and fellow YouTuber. He builds his second brain with a mix of Evernote, Notion, and Google Keep. By mindfully creating notes, he has been able to transfer insight from his work in songwriting and investment banking into his current passion of creating videos.

💡My Best Insights:

✍️Blog Post - 🌲 How Obsidian Replaced Video Games & Helped Me Publish : Like me Eleanor went through a long period of her life where she struggled with video game addiction. She wanted to become a fantasy novel writer. But every summer she had off would inevitably get filled with playing Rimworld, Path of Exile, 7 Days to Die, or some other video game. Years went by and her dreams of becoming a writer started to seem more and more like a distant reality. Then she found Obsidian. Suddenly, she had a system that could gamify her learning. Obsidians promotion of linking and atomic notemaking allowed her to fight the procrastination of writing. Instead of writing a massive novel she only had to focus on writing atomic notes and connecting them into greater writings over time. She realized the parts of games she really really enjoys are inventory management and tweaking automations. The same part of her brain that enjoys moving information around in her notes, or fiddling with her templates to optimize them.

🎙️Podcast - TKP Insights: Sex and Relationships : In the playing of my infinite game I have yet to go on a single date. But it's not like I haven't tried. So of course this merits I give relationship advice on my newsletter. Lol. In all seriousness one of the most important things to a long term healthy relationship is intimacy. Humans have a deep seeded need to be understood by another human. This podcast episode gives some of the best advice I have heard on how to do that. For example, in your romantic relationships you can implement a monthly relationship audit where you talk about what is good in the relationship, what is bad, and what you would like to improve for next month.

📺YouTube Video - How to take notes from a book with Obsidian // The Culture Map : Highly recommend people check out this video by my friend, Nicole van der Hoeven. She talks about how she takes book notes inside of Obsidian. I have been taking book notes for years inside of Roam Research and now Obsidian and I still got tons of insight out of it.