taking notesWhenever school gets back into session, technology companies like Dell and Apple launch back to school specials which sees laptops and computers go on promotion. The idea, we guess, is so that students will have devices to use in the lecture hall, type up assignments, and also keep them entertained especially if they’re away from home.


However such gadgets might not be particularly conducive in the classroom, at least according to a recent study conducted by Pam Mueller and Daniel Oppenheimer. The study began when Mueller forgot to bring her laptop to class and instead of feeling listless and bored, she found that she managed to learn more that day, which prompted her to approach Oppenheimer, her professor, to conduct a study about it.

According to the study, it has discovered that when taking notes in the lecture hall using the traditional way of pen and paper, it has resulted in students actually remembering their lectures better, as opposed to typing out notes on their laptops. The study involved students watching a video or a TED talk and were tasked to take down notes either by hand or by laptop.

They were also tasked to perform mental tasks for 30 minutes and were then quizzed on the content. Based on the results, it was found that those who took notes the old fashioned way outperformed those who used their laptops. This is because those who used laptops tend to transcribe the speaker’s words, as opposed to processing them.

According to Mueller, “We don’t write longhand as fast as we type these days, but people who were typing just tended to transcribe large parts of lecture content verbatim. The people who were taking notes on the laptops don’t have to be judicious in what they write down.” However Mueller is also realistic in the sense that she does not expect technology to be abandoned in the classroom.

Instead she seems tablets as being a compromise, where you don’t have the same speed as a physical keyboard on a laptop, meaning that you have to choose your words carefully, while at the same time retaining an electronic copy. Evernote, anyone?

[Image credit – Wrote]

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