Nota Bene

Posted: March 5, 2018 in Uncategorized

As laptops become smaller and more ubiquitous, and with the advent of tablets, the idea of taking notes by hand just seems old-fashioned to many students today. Typing your notes is faster — which comes in handy when there’s a lot of information to take down. But it turns out there are still advantages to doing things the old-fashioned way.

For one thing, research shows that laptops and tablets have a tendency to be distracting — it’s so easy to click over to Facebook in that dull lecture. And a study has shown that the fact that you have to be slower when you take notes by hand is what makes it more useful in the long run.

In the study published in Psychological Science, Pam A. Mueller of Princeton University and Daniel M. Oppenheimer of the University of California, Los Angeles sought to test how note-taking by hand or by computer affects learning.

  1. Josh Holt says:

    I found this topic very interesting because I have had many teachers and professors over the years who have differing opinions regarding the use of laptops. While this article makes many good points, for example that you may have more retention when taking hand written notes, I don’t think it matters. Students, especially in universities, are part of a generation of technology. Some of the practical reasons for using technology such as improved organization are appealing to people of our generation. Furthermore, the article comments that laptops are very distracting because of the ease at which you can open facebook during a boring lecture. However, I think that the use of technology forces students to decide if they will learn to control tech, or let it control them. This world is headed toward many more technological advances, so we best learn to use it wisely now.

    • I certainly agree that tech is not going away, and that students need to learn how to interact with it responsibly. However, I must disagree with the use of technology in learning is a matter of indifference. Everything I have been reading for the last decade indicates to me that that we don’t simply use technology, but that technology, in turn, uses us back. Human consciousness, per se, does not exist. It always exists within some technological apparatus, and the apparatus within which it exists determines the form which consciousness can take. This is something I have tried to stress throughout the entire semester when discussing mediums and medium specificity. This precisely what Brecht has in mind when discussing the apparatus of the theater. To miss this point is not to understand Brecht at all. If it did manage to get by you, fear not! Our discussion of the topic will continue, in a more technical and nuanced form, in our next reading, by Walter Benjamin.

      If you want to have a glance at the kind of readings in Media Studies I’ve been pursuing most recently, please have a glance at the following. This study is truly brilliant.

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