Handwritten vs. Typed Notes


Lauren Chang

Junior Lauren Chang uses her planner, pens, and notebooks because she prefers the technique of handwriting her notes.

The age of technology drastically changed the life of a student. Students went from having pen, paper, highlighters, and notebooks as critical resources for learning. Lately, it seems all a student needs is a tablet, Chromebook, or laptop they are set. In fact, it seems outdated and “old fashioned” to take notes by hand anymore. 

As technology advances, laptops and tablets become more easy to access and carry; the idea of taking notes by hand became “old fashioned” for students. 

According to National Public Radio, taking notes using a laptop can become very distracting as one can switch to different tabs or websites without any hesitation. Because students can type faster, many would transcribe what they hear from their teachers or professors. As switching tabs can become a personal distraction, as a student I set my priorities straight and would take notes while the teacher is talking, but would also write my own personal summary of it so I understand it much better.

Studies show that taking notes by hand tends to be a lot slower, but it helps with muscle memory and gives the satisfaction of making colorful notes. In the long run, when one would write notes by hand the process of information is much easier and clearer to retain. 

According to e-student, the benefits of hand-written notes can help with memorization and the organization process. Writing with pen and paper is an effective way to recall and write in-depth information. While typing out notes can limit knowledge acquisition, retention, and consists of many repetitive words. In most cases, teachers tend to tell students to avoid taking verbatim notes because it does not improve their note-taking skills or allow them to obtain necessary information. As a student who takes notes by hand, I tend to not only write in my notebook, but use other materials that are beneficial for myself. For instance, I would make flashcards a few days before I take my exams so I can test my understanding of the material. Handwriting may take longer, but it helps with retention and consistently when note taking. 

Others would say that taking notes with pen and paper is old news, while using laptops and ipads are more advanced. As a student who has experienced both online and in person learning, I love taking notes by hand, not only because I have control of how much I write, but I can understand and remember it better. I tried to transcribe my handwritten notes into my laptop, but I would not retain it as fast compared to notes on pen and paper.

The beauty of taking notes not only strengthens one’s memory, but gathers one’s thoughts and how it looks. Most people like to highlight, use different color pens or fonts, but no matter what method one uses, we are not limited to only one. Each individual has a choice of taking notes by hand or typing it out on a laptop.