How many of you take class notes with a laptop?
If you’re one of the many students who types your notes during a lecture, you may want to check out this article from The Chronicle of Higher Education: The Benefits of No-Tech Note Taking
After an instructor at the University of Kansas banned taking notes with laptops during her lectures, she saw a rise in test scores.
If you type your notes in class, the theory is that you can copy down more of what the instructor is saying and then have more thorough study material in the long run. But, as the author points out in the article, research shows that taking notes with a pencil and paper actually increases how much of the original information you retain.
The reasons seem simple enough:
First, taking notes on paper frees us from the usual laptop distractions and multi-tasting.
Second, when writing notes on paper, we have to think more critically about the information our instructor is giving in order to transcribe the message meaningfully. Because handwriting is typically slower than typing, we have to synthesize and really absorb the information the first time in order to decide what’s important enough to write down.
Third, when taking notes by computer, most are not paying attention to the content, so much as focusing on getting every word down. So while our fingers may be keeping up, our brains are snoozing through the message.
What do you think, readers? Which note-taking method do you usually prefer? If it means getting higher grades, would you consider taking notes by hand instead of using a laptop? Do you think if your instructor banned taking notes by computer that you’d benefit from it? Let us know in the comments!