A Learning Secret: Don’t Take Notes with a Laptop
“More is better.” From the number of gigs in a cellular data plan to the horsepower in a pickup truck, this mantra is ubiquitous in American culture. When it comes to college students, the belief that more is better may underlie their widely-held view that laptops in the classroom enhance their academic performance. Laptops do in fact allow students to do more, like engage in online activities and demonstrations, collaborate more easily on papers and projects, access information from the internet, and take more notes. Indeed, because students can type significantly faster than they can write, those who use laptops in the classroom tend to take more notes than those who write out their notes by hand. Moreover, when students take notes using laptops they tend to take notes verbatim, writing down every last word uttered by their professor. What drives this paradoxical finding? To evaluate this theory, Mueller and Oppenheimer assessed the content of notes taken by hand versus laptop.
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