Which Is Better for Taking Notes: a Laptop or Notebook?
The laptop’s popularity in today’s university classrooms raises the question: what’s happening to the good old-fashioned notebook and pen? Is typing more efficient than writing? Many teachers feel that having students bring laptops to class is both a liability and a hindrance. Yet many students claim that using a laptop is more helpful than taking handwritten notes. So, who’s right? Which is better, a laptop or a notebook, and why?
The Pros of the Laptop
It is faster to type than to write.
Some university teachers have a rapid-fire delivery. There will inevitably be times during a lecture when everyone in the room is scrambling to jot down the information on a screen, and a chorus of sighs breaks out as the professor moves on. Here, the chances of remembering everything improve significantly when you type it.
A laptop is well organized.
A laptop allows you to keep all of your school materials in one place, including your syllabus, notes, calendar, etc. You won’t need to carry your precious Parker pen or file folders full of printed pages for your studies. It’s widely known that laptops provide a lot of practical benefits.
You can send emails promptly.
The convenience of email makes it preferable to send your notes to an unwell friend than to hand over your entire notebook or rip out pages that could be misplaced. Alternatively, you might contact your teacher with a query concerning the material you took notes on and have them look it up in the text.
With a laptop, just cut and paste.
Creating study guides on a laptop? Just cut and paste what you’ve written down. For your research study, you will need to cite a few sources. Do a quick copy and paste. Need to review for an exam but don’t feel like writing everything again with your favorite Cross fountain pen? Simply cut and paste.
The Cons of the Laptop
A laptop is a kind of distraction.
Let’s be fair: switching between taking attentive notes in class and mindlessly checking social media is a click of a mouse away. There are advantages and disadvantages to having the internet, but using it during the lecture is more of a disadvantage. Distractions from your laptop and those around you might make it difficult to focus on your studies. If someone in the front row clicks on Facebook or whatever, you’ll likely do the same thing, even if just for a second.
You might have to take copious notes.
Surprisingly, taking copious notes on everything the teacher says is not the best way to learn. If you don’t actively write down what is being said, you won’t be able to remember as much.
You might face technical difficulties.
A laptop malfunction may occur at the most unexpected moment. Getting the dreaded “blue screen” during a lecture is a frustrating experience. When a laptop crashes, valuable information and precious time are lost. This means that your Internet connection could be sluggish or inconsistent. When anything bad can happen, it generally will.
The Pros of the Notebook
There is a correlation between writing and better memory.
Research shows that writing notes by hand is a good way to remember information for later use, which is helpful for tests.
Choose your notes carefully.
Because writing takes longer than typing, conventional note-takers must prioritize what they jot down. In other words, you’re not just hearing the words being spoken; you’re paying attention to them and digging for the core of the discussion. In the end, you’ll have a deeper understanding of the subject matter.
You are capable of jotting down illustrative thoughts.
Do you need to highlight a certain paragraph? Certainly, you are capable of doing it. Do you need to create a table or diagram to label? You are capable of doing this. Do you want to highlight the relevant passage with an arrow and add some comments in the margins? The answer is yes. Taking notes in a notebook gives you more flexibility.
The Cons of the Notebook
There can be slow notes and cramped hands.
We’ve clearly accepted that typing is quicker than writing. While this might be an advantage in certain situations, it could also be a hindrance if you’re trying to take notes. Take notes rapidly, but be aware that your hand will get tired if you write quickly.
It is difficult to understand the notes in bad handwriting.
Bad handwriting may make any collection of notes difficult to understand, whether as a result of a rush or a lack of skill, as typing is more popular. While you’re preoccupied with trying to read your own handwriting, you’re not paying attention to the content at hand.
You will do some doodling instead of actually writing the notes.
When presented with a pen, a doodler will inevitably create artwork. During a dull lecture, it might be tempting to draw, especially if the professor’s voice is always the same.
The Final Verdict
Although both methods have pros and cons, research suggests that notebooks are the better choice. Compared to students who take notes on laptops, those who take notes in a notebook seem to better understand the material, score better on mental assessments, and process it more thoroughly. Consequently, if we had to recommend one type over another, we’d go with the research. Write everything down in a notebook with a pen. You have a grip over it.