Technology is changing the way we take notes

Musayero Bah

In today’s world, students often pass their free time on their phones. They frequently check their social media, text messages, and feeds for any new activity. Technology has changed so much in just a few decades. In class, some students take notes in their notebooks and others type on their laptops. However, for many different reasons, sometimes students will pull their phone out to snap a picture of the notes. Sometimes there is not enough time to copy notes,  the homework seems too tedious to copy or there’s a lot of information already on the board so students resort to using their phones to take a photo of the board.

Teachers are also starting to notice this new phenomenon in their classrooms. Ms. Kenny-Jones, music teacher, commented on when she was a kid. “Most of us didn’t have phones at this age and if we did, they weren’t as advanced as the one I have now.” When asked if she thinks that taking notes or taking a picture of notes is more helpful, she responded, “taking notes is better, but taking pictures and copying down notes is good too because you get to see what the teacher wrote and your own notes.”

Ms. Pizzano, IB English teacher, said, “nowadays I give far less notes than I used to because of our ability to use technology to provide information to students. However, there are times when I believe that note-taking is important, such as the definitions of important terms. The process of writing things down assists our memory more and I also think that it helps us recall information better. When I tell students to explicitly copy something, it’s because I very purposefully chose the wording and notes that the students should have.”

Another comment comes from Señora Husbands, Spanish teacher. “You can’t take a picture as your only resource, you should actually write it down elsewhere. When you take a picture, there’s no connection from it to your brain.” When asked on how technology in general has impacted the way she teaches, she responded, “I have had to tailor lessons to changing attention spans and different presentation types. I do believe that writing notes, especially for a foreign language, is much different than typing it. Technology has its place because sometimes it is faster and neater, but it doesn’t replace the intellectual and cognitive connections through reading and writing.”

            Students around Curtis also have their own opinions on the matter too. Some students believe writing down notes is better, but find pictures to be more convenient. For example, Arianna Paquette, a freshman, takes pictures of her notes because it can be hard to see it from the board. She also types up her notes because its faster and more organized compared to writing them. Other students also believe that it’s easier to just take out your phone and look at notes there compared to writing it down all the time. They are at your fingertips wherever and whenever.

Based on studies such as Pam A. Mueller and Daniel M. Oppenheimer’s research on the effects of writing vs typing, writing out notes seems to be the better option. In their research, they find that college students who wrote out their lecture notes scored higher on content assessments compared to the students who typed it out. They also tested to see the difference between giving students a few minutes to a week to study and then testing them. The results were the same in many different universities.

While there are many differing opinions and research done on whether students should take pictures of their notes or write it down, it all comes down to what an individual student prefers to use. Some might find it more helpful to take pictures of notes or type them up on their laptops, while others find it more comfortable to write them out in a notebook or binder.