Spilling the Tea...Laptop Laziness

Breaking news, laptops are officially out….of the classroom. Now I know its a little hypocritical for me to be writing this blog post on a computer, but hear me out. A few years ago, NPR wrote an insightful article called, “Attention, Students: Put Your Laptops Away.” Click right here to check it out for yourself! Basically, NPR broke it down for us and explained why having laptops in the classroom can harm your grade.

Now I know what you’re thinking, how the hell am I supposed to write down every little thing that my professor says if I don’t have my laptop??

Here’s your answer:

You. Don’t.

My friend Lauren taking her notes by hand!

My friend Lauren taking her notes by hand!

Instead, you’re going to take out a pen and paper and write down the key points addressed in the lecture. Do you remember learning penmanship in first grade? I know it’s outdated, but just like mom jeans and fanny packs, handwriting is back in style.

The NPR article explained two main reasons why taking notes by hand is beneficial. First off, there’s this idea called the encoding hypothesis, which means when you are writing something by hand, you are more likely to learn and remember the information. There’s also the external-storage hypothesis, which means when you re-read tangible notes on paper, you’ll learn the information better than re-reading something on your laptop.

Also, have you seen those gorgeous and aesthetically pleasing study guides that are circulating through Tumblr? Here’s a couple examples, and that alone is enough motivation for me to start writing all of my notes. (click images for credit!)

Ok, back to the serious stuff. NPR explained a study from UCLA where two groups of college students took notes on TED talk videos. One group took notes on a computer, and the other group wrote their notes down. Afterward, the two groups received the same test to see how much they learned. Can you guess which group did significantly better? If you guessed the “taking notes by hand” group, congrats, you’re 100% correct. If you think the “laptop students” did better….message me and let’s chat.

When I read this article at the beginning of the week, I posted this tweet where I challenged myself and my classmates to take notes by hand this week. Usually, I take notes by hand in the classroom, but when I’m doing my homework, I’ll type of summaries of my readings. This week I wrote those summaries in my notebook instead of digitally, and as a result, I found it easier to recall information in classroom discussions! I’m going to continue writing my summaries by hand to aid in learning the material…and hopefully create some of those pretty notes in the process!

Sarah Twitter

Do you think you’ll take more notes by hand, or stick to the world of writing notes on Google Docs in one tab, and having Facebook open in another tab during class? Let me know in the comments below!