As more districts roll out 1-to-1 laptop and tablet initiatives, new research suggests students may be better off sticking to traditional pen-and-paper longhand for taking and studying notes.
In a series of experiments published in the June edition of Psychological Science, Pam Mueller of Princeton University and Daniel Oppenheimer of the University of California, Los Angeles, found that while students taking notes on laptop computers could include more material, that wasn’t always a good thing.
In three different experiments, college students watched 15-minute talks and took notes either by writing in longhand or via laptop. Regardless of whether students were tested right away or a week later, the results were the same: Students who took more notes outperformed those who took fewer notes, and students who used laptops took more notes. But the study also showed that those who took down more of the lecture verbatim remembered less than students who summarized and rewrote the concepts in their own words.
A version of this article appeared in the September 10, 2014 edition of Education Week as Technology and Learning