One of the most obvious changes and transitions we see today is in technology. Technology can be related to many things especially to school. In college, almost everybody here has a laptop to do their work on. Every class that I am in now (except Andrew’s) I see the majority of people are on their computers taking notes instead of the traditional way of writing notes down by hand. Overall technology is supposed to make things easier for us and to make what we do in life more efficient and time saving. However, is there actually a difference if we right the same notes down on either paper or our laptop?
Pro – Laptops are mainly useful for quick note taking. It is so much easier to type everything up on the presentation instead of hand writing the notes and having the possibility of falling behind.
Con – One word. Distractions. There are distractions that are only a few clicks away from popping up on your screen for you and other people around you to see.
An advantage to hand writing notes is your brain learns more of what you are writing instead of when you are typing. When typing, people usually try to put down as much as they can instead of understanding what they are actually writing. This is thought to be true because of the encoding hypothesis. According to Joanna Penn from the article The pen is mightier than the keyboard, she describes the encoding process basically as the process of taking notes allows your brain to improve in learning and retention, increasing a greater level of cognitive process. Although you are able to get more information down while typing, I believe the most negative idea of typing notes is having the possibly of distraction where once you click to go on twitter or Facebook, you lose all focus on what you are learning and were previously typing down.
Study – A recent study performed by Wood et al. (2012), was designed to understand how, in a real university setting, the impact of technology like laptops would affect real time learning in lectures. This is an experimental study and is set up with 4 different groups either texting using a cell-phone, emailing, MSN messaging or Facebook, being compared to three control groups of hand writing notes, word-processing note taking, and note by laptop. Students were also given quizzes in order to check their comprehension of the information throughout the three lectures. Overall the results came out to be that the actual hand writing of notes outperformed those of the multitasking participants. In addition, those who were considered to be a non-multitasker overall did better on the quizzes than all of the multitasking participants. This shows no matter what the effect of multitasking, it’s better to not do it in order to perform better in class.
My personal preference is to hand write notes so I may be a little biased with this. However, I know it’s hard to persuade people to hand write notes instead of using laptops since today all we see is improvements in technology which leads people further and further away from hand writing. Instead, maybe we can look at this from a different point and incorporate handwriting into our technology. For example, a product called Livescribe, a smart pen that transfers the notes you write down on paper back onto your laptop. It also records everything allowing you to go back and replay it again in case you missed anything else important. More products like this can keep the idea of hand writing notes the same but connect the use of technology to make it even easier for you as well as help your performance in class.