Friday, April 29, 2016

Returning to pen and paper

I still use pen and paper for a lot of things: Shopping lists, stories for my other blog, notes at work and planning events. Since I went to college when laptops weren't a thing, it still feels more natural for me to take notes with pen and paper than by typing them. Also, I feel that I tend to remember things better if I write them down.

It turns out that my feeling is backed up by science. (Thanks, science!) In a recent series of experiments, researchers found that people who wrote their notes instead of typing them tended to have better conceptual comprehension rates. They also found that people who typed their notes were actually almost transcribing the lectures, whereas note-taking is a slower process, and people have to be more cognizant of what they are writing down. It's that few seconds delay to find the meat of the information that allows note-takers to remember more.

It's important to note that there was no advantage for factual learning (items like names and dates).

So, what does this mean for all those students who are bringing their laptops to every class? It is hard to return to pen-and-paper note taking, or learn to start writing facts out longhand if you are only used to typing. As parents, maybe we need to encourage our children to be familiar with both methods.

Do you tend to remember more of what you type or more of what you write out longhand? Tell me in the comments. 

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