ST. CLOUD -- With technology advancing by the minute the way students take notes has been changing. Is using a laptop better than cracking open a notebook and handwriting your notes?

St. Cloud State University professor and director of academic support, Cari Kenner says taking notes the traditional way has been proven to make students more successful.

"The research says it's preferable to write by hand rather than using a laptop and the reason for that tends to be that when we use laptops, most of us type really quickly and it's easy to just type down everything the professor says without really taking the time to process. When we write by hand we're much more likely to pick and choose what we want to write about, so we tend to slow down and only write down the key concepts and main ideas."

After going out to St. Cloud State it was clear that many students still prefer to take notes by hand. Transfer student Nuamin Chebssi is in her second semester at SCSU she says she was taught how to take notes at a young age and to her it's the best way.

"I like taking notes by hand because it's something we've been doing for a very long time, it's something I learned in nursery school. I believe it's easier, I can change the note into the way I understand it, I can switch up the words, cut up things. I like a notepad more because I can play around with it, doodle, cancel. It just makes me feel like I can do what I want to easily."

Although handwriting is statistically a better way to take notes, Kenner says laptops do have their benefits.

"I think the nice thing about laptops is that it's easy to be looking at other supplemental materials at the same time. For example most professors will put their powerpoints up and they can click and open the powerpoint and [type] in the notes section."

Handwriting can be slower and the amount of information gather may be less but just like taking notes by hand, laptops have their disadvantages. Chebssi says she never brings a laptop to class and some of her professors support her choice.

"People usually google something else in class or consider doing something else, I have a teacher that does not want laptop use at all in class."

Some students do prefer to embrace the use of technology. SCSU senior, Billy Schneider says using a laptop to take notes is more convenient.

"My handwriting has been garbage, it is garbage and has been garbage for some time. My mind works a lot faster than my hand so I need something that can match that. My words per minute was been going up, especially since I work in an office building. Since my words per minute is a lot higher, typing is a lot easier to [take] notes."

Schneider agrees laptops can be very distracting but a student can battle the distraction.

"You get distracted a lot but usually I just turn off WiFi. If people are able to utilize what they know, they'll be able to do great things."

In the end it comes down to what each individual student prefers but it's safe to say the pen and paper way isn't going out of style.

SCSU students studying. (Chrissy Gaetke, WJON)
SCSU students studying. (Chrissy Gaetke, WJON)


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