Students, whether of past or present, are working towards a common goal – education. The common method of educating students through formal education system is same as practiced from last many decades i.e. a subject specialist gives lecture and students take notes. Then there is question answer session, evaluation, formal exams and so on.
Previously, students note teacher’s lecture by hand on paper. But then this practice started fading away with the advent of technology. And today situation is, no student bother to take notes by hands, instead they either type it on laptop/tablet or record it through smart devices. Even in Pakistan, government is encouraging use of technology by providing tablets to the students of government schools.
Apparently, it looks very fascinating and efficient way. Typing is more easy, quick and neat. But you will be surprised to know that taking notes by hand is much more recommended then recording lectures digitally. This statement is not in air; it has been empirically proved by Pam Mueller and Daniel Oppenheimer; researchers from Princeton University and university of California.
According to this research, students who take notes by hand are found to have better learning in comparison with students who use smart devices to take lecture notes. Some of the reason why this is so as described in research paper are:
Writing by Hand Engages Brain:
Typing and writing are two different cognitive activities for our brain. When we write, our brain is more involved cognitively as compared to when we type. During typing, we literally write every word we hear without going through its meaning same as in transcription process. But when we write by hands, it is literally impossible to write each and every word the professor says. Instead we listen, understand and then lists only main points. So writing by hand involves comprehension that makes us remember the written information in a better manner.
Writing by hand makes better notes:
Typing on laptop may enable students to write quickly and make longer notes. But then again, longer notes cannot be equal to better notes. Hand written notes are better in quality as they are comprehensively written. In fact you are not only writing, but also understanding and concluding alongside. So writing with hands allows better comprehension and understanding. In the research stated above, the researchers tested both types of students and observed that those who take notes by hand performed better than those who use to take notes on laptops especially in conceptual questions.
Writing by hand carries concentration
When you write by hand, you are totally concentrated upon listening, understanding and writing process. There is no distraction to divert your mind. However, when you type on laptop or any other smart device, you confront lot of distractions like email notifications and text messages, etc. even if you ignore them, they will keep you curious unless you open them, distracting you from your study.
So these are the main reasons presented by researchers as why students should prefer writing by hand. Yes, you can use your laptop for study purposes and for better collaboration, but when in class, take your notes by hands and see your grades getting better.