Digital Note-Taking Is Fast But Not Effective

Photo Credit / Edita Bardhi Laptops are frequently used and seen by students during class.

By Cassandra Sedler

Staff Writer

The use of technology in the classroom is a ubiquitous occurrence among all levels of education.

For many college students, note-taking on laptops or tablets has long since replaced the now ancient concept of paper and pen.  However, studies show that the old-fashioned method of note-taking leads to a deeper understanding and better recollection of the course material by exam time.

Most people can type faster than they can physically write, but copying verbatim everything your professor says is not going to make studying later any simpler.

It seems counter intuitive, but taking more notes by typing decreases your comprehension of the material overall.

This is due to the fact that typing is faster, allowing you to capture every sentence, but without any actual processing of the information.

Instead, handwriting forces you to formulate the notes in your own words, summarizing the main points and connecting concepts, all the while actively listening to the lecture.

This process is key to long term recognition and application of the information learned in class.

Not only is technology detrimental to your study habits when it comes to note-taking, but it is no surprise that laptops can also be a major source of distraction.

Although Word processing may be opened in one window on your laptop while sitting in class, it is just as easy and probably more tempting to open another tab to log onto Facebook, Twitter, or, if using a Mac, iMessage.

In studies conducted among undergraduate students that used laptops during lecture at UCLA and Princeton, 40% of their time in the class was wasted by using online applications unrelated to the course.

Obviously, it is ultimately up to the conscious of the student to either listen while in class or not, but access to technology during class makes choosing the latter that much easier.

Technology can be a powerful tool, but when it comes to note-taking and studying, students are better off sticking to the tried and true methods to see improvements in their grades.

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