You have probably recently seen a college classroom with a bunch of students typing notes on their MacBook Pros. (I haven’t seen many students with PCs.) There are students who do use an iPad, but I see them using an external keyboard rather than the Apple Pencil, which they should be using. This is because several studies have shown that writing things down helps one learn more than typing the same things.
As Scientific American points out, students may be able to take more notes than writing them down. They are also enable to instantly engage in more online activities. But the study they point out, done by Pam Mueller and Daniel Oppenheimer, notes that students who write out their notes on paper actually learn more (the same goes for using a digital pen to write notes).
Imagine this — You are in a lecture hall and have access to your laptop. You are typing notes just as fast as the lecturer is speaking. Now, it’s time to put your laptop away and use a pen device. At first, it may be scary. But this is forcing you to pay attention more to what is being said while summarizing the information your own way. Sometimes, you draw figures to represent what you are hearing. Other times, you map out what is being said. You are getting a lot more out of the lecture.
Using a Surface Pro, iPad (with Apple Pencil), or even a Galaxy Note to take notes may have some disadvantages. After all, they still can be distractions. But the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages. Not only can you write down everything in your own handwriting, but you can save everything as well. You don’t have to worry about losing your notes, unless someone steals your digital device.
More importantly, advanced programs such as Microsoft OneNote allow you to search your handwritten notes. If you are looking for your notes on the Shakespeare discussion, just type (or write) Shakespeare in the search bar, and all your notes on Shakespeare will come up. If you are looking for all instances of the word “sedimentary rock,” you can search all your handwritten notes — that is, unless you write like an absolute maniac.
The Galaxy Note is also a good note-taking device, although the screen is small (compared to a piece of paper) and narrow. You’ll have to do a lot of scrolling. The S Note program allows you to search all your handwritten notes like you can on Microsoft OneNote but with even more accuracy.
Whatever you do, don’t leave the pen at home — either the regular pen or the digital stylus. While it may seem like more of an effort to write your notes rather than typing them, it’s been proven to be more beneficial.