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Rhee Helliwell | Sep 4, 2017

Should students type class notes on a computer?

Categories: Teens, Education, Children, Performance, News

Note taking may not be the most enjoyable part of a lesson but is integral for any student’s academic success. Writing notes down manually may be the current norm, however, with technology constantly advancing other techniques could be more beneficial. Many students have even argued they type out clearer and more accurate notes rather than writing them on paper. Even though laptops and tablets are often banned during class time, it’s still important to help parents and teachers understand which technique is the most beneficial for a student’s academic performance.

Advantages of typing notes

Embracing technology in the classroom can be extremely helpful for many students and teachers - especially when it comes to typing out notes and being able to have individual access to relevant study material. Here’s three of the most important advantages.

Quick access to subject related content

Having access to the internet during class does have more benefits than you may think. In fact, using a laptop enables students to quickly access subject related material, especially if there’s an online learning space that teachers can also access. The internet allows students to conduct online searches for more information on a specific topic and broaden their researching skills. It’s a platform they can share their progress, find help or build digital projects.

Organised notes

Students who are able to type out their notes may be able to organise them more effectively and efficiently using technology. They can do this by saving typed out documents into digital folders and using online storage clouds. When it comes to studying and revision this can be extremely useful and means no more searching through masses of paperwork and folders.

Accurate, easy to read notes

When students are trying to quickly write down notes, it’s easy for messy handwriting and incomplete sentences to take over! Typing means that notes are already formatted, accurate and easy to read later on. Gone are the days of trying to interpret messy handwriting!

Disadvantages to technology in the classroom

Even though technology may seem like a worthwhile technique to adapt into classrooms, there are disadvantages to doing so.

It’s a distraction

Getting the balance of technology right can be tricky for students. Often social media and other sites can be a huge distraction, especially in the classroom. In fact, a 2016 study by Michigan State University found that when laptops were used in class students earned lower test scores. In some cases students spent an average of 37 minutes using the internet to browse social media and online shopping sites.

Word for word copying

Most students can type much faster than they’re able to write by hand, meaning it’s much more tempting for them to write down an entire lecture word for word. Even though this may seem great, it’s not an effective method. The writing by hand process requires students to think critically about the information they’re copying down. This means they’re having to interpret and understand the words being spoken by their teacher rather than aimlessly copying without actually thinking about what they’re typing.

Pen and paper is a great technique

The simple act of writing something down with pen and paper sets off a process in our brain that enables us to remember things better. A note taking study even found that students who took notes by hand retained and understood the material better than their classmates who typed out the same notes. If it’s not broken- don’t try to fix it!