Taking or faking notes?

A comparison between taking notes on a computer tablet vs using a pen and paper

Side by side, the two most commonly used methods of taking notes at Elder High School

Robert Marion Ellerhorst

Side by side, the two most commonly used methods of taking notes at Elder High School

When the latest and greatest device in technology comes out, the latest and greatest way of living our lives usually comes right along with it. Whether it be something as big as working for our paycheck, or simply a newer faster cell phone, technology changes the way we take control of our daily lives.

But, once again, teachers wind usually wind up logging onto DyKnow and finding out that students are either playing games or surfing web, instead of doing what they are supposed to do.

Some students are starting to realize that maybe the new gadgets aren’t all that they’re cracked up to be, and are reverting to the old ways of taking notes via pen and paper.

After decades of requiring students to use pencil and paper to take notes, Elder High School introduced the PC tablets to its students in the class of ’14, and since then there has been a mix up of ways the students prefer to copy down crucial class information.

For the most part, the students prefer to use the new, shiny tablets for the note taking, but there is still that group of holdouts that pay tribute to the old way of doing things.

There are a number of pros and cons for both sides of the argument.

The student-issued PC tablets are useful for learning due to the rapid pace that students can type notes in, much faster than using an ink pen. Students can also access Google images to provide pictures for the class subject.

But ask almost any teacher, and they will tell you that they have caught students goofing off and wandering away from the required subject. No matter how many bricksheets or demerits they have to give out, it seems like the students just don’t listen sometimes.

Mr. Suer, renowned science and chemistry teacher, said that he supports any type of note taking method his students have, as long as they aren’t being distracted.

“My only issue is distraction.” said Suer.  “I’m fine with it because I have a tough time monitoring thirty screens at the same time. One of the good things about the PC is that students can add in their own images. I think it’s a great learning tool for the students, as long as they’re using it for good.”

Mr. Roush, math teacher and head wrestling coach, says that the method of note taking really depends on the subject.

“In math, using a laptop it can be difficult because of the amount of different symbols used. But it can also be easier for classes like English, because it makes writing vocab sentences much more convenient than taking more time to write on paper.”

The classic paper notebook and pen can be the preferred note-taking practice for those who hate staring at a screen for the entire forty seven minutes. Students have also admitted that they are routinely distracted by all the options the Internet provides for them.

Obviously, handwritten notes come with a few downsides. It is considerably slower to write each individual letter down, when you can just press down on a key to make the letter appear. Also, the computers are provided along with your tuition, so if you want to use paper you would have to do out and spend your own money on school supplies.

I find that it’s also much easier for studying, when you can just pull out your notebook and flip through, compared to wasting precious minutes waiting for the clunky tablet to power up.

Senior Andrew Burke prefers to use a pen and paper because of the safe feeling that he would never have a computer error, and possibly lose a valuable file.

“I prefer pen and paper just because if I ever lose a file, I can go back to my notebook to find them.,” said Burke. “It’s the best way for me to learn. It’s also easier to draw pictures or diagrams.”

Senior Ethan Duwell uses both a tablet and a notebook for his different classes, and he finds that writing notes down by hand helps him study better.

“The notebook helps me take clearer notes,” said Duwell. ” I do better in classes like American Government where I take notes on paper.”

Senior Riley James simply likes the feel of a notebook and paper better than a machine.

“It’s not as distracting. I like the feel of paper. Paper feels good.”

I personally prefer the old fashioned way because your hands make you understand what you’re actually writing down. You form the letter itself with your hand, and it helps to remember the information better than a laptop does.

I used OneNote for my note taking for my freshman and sophomore year, and switched over to pen and paper the most recent two years. If you use the laptop for notes and find it distracting, or don’t think that it is all that beneficial to studying, I would give the spiral notebook another chance and see if you like it any better.

Whether you prefer using your tablet or a notebook to take notes in class, just be sure that you get what the teacher is saying, and be prepared for pop quiz day in Mr. Reiring’s class!