I love to write my notes by hand for more ways than one. Mainly because I hate to carry around the extra weight of a bulky laptop but also I can do everything it can, on my phone. Now I recognize about 1/3 maybe even 1/2 of some of my classes are filled with people who bury their face in their laptop. I still prefer the old fashioned way or writing my notes, and after searching for studies on this topic, I’m glad I still do. As stated by The Journal, 1/3 of high schools and middle schools now provide their students with mobile devices.
According to Medical Daily, two psychological researchers performed two experiments to actually test whether it is good/bad for us to use technology in the classroom. For the first study they set up a classroom students who were told to listen to a presentation and takes notes however they typically do. Shortly after the participate were then asked to complete a test based on the material that was just taught. The researchers looked to observe whether the students had a deep grasp of the concept and topics that were spoke about. While observing the results they noticed that whether the used a notebook or a laptop, they both were able to retain facts the same amount. It also showed that students who used a laptop took many more notes and tended to copy them down word for word. On the flip side those who took notes by hand tended to comprehend the topic and summarize it in their notes, showing a deeper understanding. They used this study to see if it effects students immediate comprehension. In this case we would reject the null hypothesis because there was an effect of handwritten notes compared to a laptop.
To further the experiment they conducted it again, but instead of taking the test almost immediately the students were given a week to prepare for the exam. The again tested the students on the facts of the presentation as well as apprehension and the concepts overall. This study had the same results showing a significant difference with those who write by hand being ahead. Even those who used a laptop and wrote the lecture word for word (even though told not to) scored significantly lower in comprehension. They concluded by the study that students who took notes by hand had a different reaction in the brain and were able to process the words and letters they were writing. In this case they were could accept the alternate hypothesis.
Overall, I think we have data to say that taking notes by hand cant not be substituted by using a laptop without affecting ones comprehension. As always even though it is convincing, correlation doesn’t equal causation.
Images: Image 1