BY EMMA HUERTA
It’s a regular Tuesday at school and you’re shuffling down the halls to head to your Algebra class. Once you enter the classroom, you scan the rows for your seat and sit down. As soon as you take your seat, what is the first thing that you immediately do?
Most likely, the first thing you should do is take out a pencil and some paper. Ever since the earliest civilizations, writing has been a major form of communicating ideas. Writing has always been a guaranteed form of obtaining and recording information; thus, it is one of the most significant parts of any generic classroom environment. Although taking handwritten notes has been proven to be beneficial, opponents of the traditional method tend to favor technological advances, such as laptops, for taking notes instead.
Consequently, higher comprehension leads to higher test scores, yet another benefit that physical notetaking brings.
Although computers and tablets may be of some aid at school, the normal writing utensils have more positive implications than those of technology. Notebooks should not be replaced in education because they help students learn more intuitively, increase creativity, improve test scores and work free from distractions.
While listening to a teacher’s lecture, students often take notes to retain the information given and hopefully review it later. But because so much is said by a professor during class time, it’s virtually impossible for pupils to copy down every word.
Although this may seem like a downfall of handwritten notes, it can actually be perceived as an advantage because students attain a special skill from having to summarize a lesson. As stated by Psychology Today, since students must focus their notes on the most significant ideas given by the professor, they carefully articulate which areas they must concentrate on the most and eventually write those down. This, in turn, is more efficient because students comprehend the information adequately. They listen, process and then write down, leading to a higher understanding.
Consequently, higher comprehension leads to higher test scores, yet another benefit that physical notetaking brings. This is especially visible in a study by researchers Pam Mueller and Daniel Oppenheimer, who assessed students on factual and contextual information either from a TED Talk presentation or a lecture. The research concluded that even a week after the lesson, those who handwrote their notes still performed relatively better than those who took notes on a laptop.
On the other hand, laptops do not help facilitate this increase in actual learning, because students are so focused on typing every single word said by their teacher verbatim that they are unaware of what they are actually “learning” and are completely disconnected from the lesson.
The temptation to escape from a given assignment is caused purely by how easy it can be to switch from work to play on a device.
Not only do notebooks generally help to facilitate increased comprehension, but they also help raise creativity within students. In fact, according to a study done by the University of Washington, grade-school children wrote longer essays and more complete sentences when given a pen rather than a laptop.
This is mostly due to the fact that handwriting contributes to the enhancement of the brain. Virginia Berninger, the University of Washington professor who led the study, explains that multiple brain assessments on adults also show this benefit. The studies exemplify that forming actual letters–rather than selecting them on technological software– stimulates brain engagement.
Laptops can be highly distractive in learning environments. For instance, Lifehack states that about 40 percent of pupils’ class time is wasted on technological “productivity killers,” which can prevent them from successfully improving in their studies. The temptation to escape from a given assignment is caused purely by how easy it can be to switch from work to play on a device. This distractedness often leads to no improvement in grades and a decline in satisfaction among students, according to an article by Temple University researchers.
In short, the positive assets of notebooks should not be overshadowed by the emergence of new technologies in the classroom. Handwritten notes can be beneficial to students because they increase engagement in the learning environment, improve test scores and creativity and tend to be less distracting than technology. All in all, students should lay off the laptops and pick up their pencils instead.
Photo by Kayla Florenco