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The Tutor Outreach Group

Laptop Notes Vs. Handwritten Notes: What’s Better for Learners?

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Walk into almost any college classroom today, and you will find students taking notes on laptops and tablets. While these devices are smaller with more storage capacity than ever before and are generally faster in taking notes, research shows that handwritten notes are still better. So if you want to remember critical data that you have read or heard, then grab a pencil or an ink pen and some notebooks.

Forces Idea Summaries

While it is relatively easy to type most words that a teacher may say, most people cannot write as fast as they can type. Therefore, they must listen for the main ideas and write summaries of what the teacher is saying. This requires a person to process the information at a deeper level leading to a better level of retention.

Conceptual Application

Researchers have found that even when students with laptops were warned not to write things down verbatim, they did so anyway. College America says that writing your notes by hand is better than using a laptop because it forces users to draw their own hypotheses as they listen to the information. Therefore, those who used laptops performed worse as a group on test questions requiring students to draw conclusions from the information.

Fewer Distractions

Researchers believe that while students may doodle on the edge of their notes while listening, they actually stay more engaged with the material than those using electronic devices. On the other hand, it is far easier (and tempting) when using a laptop or tablet to tap over to your favorite social media or your favorite game. In fact, researchers found that students taking handwritten notes have better short-and-long-term recall of material.

Impacts Different Parts of the Brain

The researchers believe that information that is handwritten may be stored differently in the brain than that which is typed on a keyboard. The most substantial difference came when students were asked to recall information from a list, chart or a graph. Those who had hand-drawn the chart or graph remembered the info substantially better than those using an electronic device. Effectivology explains, “one experiment on word recall and recognition showed that people remember lists of vocabulary words better when they write them by hand compared to when they type them on a computer.” They believe that the difference comes from the different part of the brain required to visualize and draw the information.

If you want to raise your GPA or simply recall information better, research clearly shows that you need to put away the electronics. Instead, create handwritten notes that will help you recall the most important details. Then, show others who want to laugh at you for being old-fashioned the results when it comes time to take a test.


Tips and Tricks to Help Students Take Better Notes In Class

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Note taking has been one of the most helpful, research-tested methods for successfully learning new material since the dawn of education. It’s one very important study habit. Students may find it tedious, but there really is no better way to cement information into their brains. You may be surprised to learn that handwritten note taking is better for your brain because it maximizes learning potential because of the kinesthetic connection between body and brain. Here are some things to consider as you look to refine your study habits.

Review Notes From The Previous Lecture

Before heading into your next class, take some time to review the notes from the previous lecture. This will help kickstart your brain and help you access the pathways initiated in the last class. Think of your mind like a filing cabinet, and before you can add onto to a file, you first need to open it up and rifle through. You can complete this task in as little as ten minutes.

Take Handwritten Notes

While most of us have enjoyed the luxuries of our laptops and iPads, when it comes to note-taking, there is more value in writing your notes by hand. The process engages your brain and body in a process that allows for better retention. Also, because most students type faster than they write, they end up writing down almost exactly what the teacher says. When students take longhand notes, they engage their brain in rewriting the information, a process that helps personalize the information and make it “stick” better. In this way, handwritten note taking is better for your brain. It may be tempting to just take notes on your phone or laptop, especially if you participate in any kind of online school, but you’ll learn much better if you get out the paper and pencil. 

Ask Questions to Clarify the Subject

Another helpful study tip is to ask questions as you need clarification. Not only does this show your teacher that you are actively listening, but it also helps your brain absorb information correctly– the first time around. It’s difficult to learn the next building block of information without understanding the first, so be sure to inquire early and often. This can be more difficult if you’re taking classes online, since most lectures aren’t live. However, if you have questions, send a message to your teacher right away instead of just sitting on it.

Pay Attention During the Lecture

All of these tips can help you pay attention during a lecture, which is really your most valuable habit. This might sound obvious, but minds do often wander. Curtail this by being an active notetaker and asking questions; this will ensure your mind is engaged and your brain working at optimum capacity.

Forming good study habits will provide efficiency in your learning. Don’t spend twice as long trying to study; instead, try reviewing previous lectures, taking handwritten notes, asking good questions, and keeping your brain focused during class.



College America

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Pros and Cons to Homeschooling Middle Schoolers

By | homeschooling, middle school, Uncategorized | No Comments

Parents of middle schoolers have a lot to think about when it comes to their child’s education and development. There are public or private schools, online schools, and homeschool, and as a parent, you may agonize over which option is best for your child. When considering homeschool, there are a few pros and cons to consider.

Pros to Homeschooling

There are many advantages to homeschooling. When you homeschool, you have control over what your child is learning and exposed to on a daily basis. You get the benefit of setting the schedule and pace to suit your child’s individual needs. Additionally, you will have the time to add in activities or lessons not offered at a public or private school such as money management, thinking skills, religious subjects, etiquette and more. To supplement your child’s education, you can add in online courses or groups. Additionally, some homeschoolers get involved in community courses and activities, giving the added benefit of social interaction.

Middle school can be such a hard time for pre-teens and teenagers as the chances for ridicule and bullying have heightened in response to the hormonal changes happening to everyone. Because of this, it’s not uncommon to decide to homeschool your child at home for their best interest and health. The pre-teen/early-teen years are a great time to introduce new life skills and strengthen a child’s self-confidence, but unfortunately public and private schools are often more harmful than good when it comes to raising self-confident teens. When a child experiences bullying in their formative years, it can leave an adverse effect that can last years. As a parent, you want to do the best for you child. This has led many families to choose homeschooling to ensure the best environment and best future for their child.

Cons to Homeschooling

There are a few cons to consider when you are thinking about homeschooling. Firstly, each state is different, and you will want to make sure you can meet the requirements of your state. Secondly, homeschooling is time-consuming. Homeschooling takes effort from the parents for everything from planning to teaching, to finding alternatives for classes such as music or art if the parents are not comfortable in those areas. Of course, there are plenty of alternatives to be considered, so it’s not a huge deterrent. And in the end, self-starting on electives could teach your children to cultivate healthy habits and hobbies that will last a lifetime.

Homeschooling is an excellent option with limitless opportunities. While homeschooling can be intimidating for the parents, it is well worth the effort. This could be the best investment in your family’s future.


Parents On The Pros And Cons Of Homeschooling | NPR

Middle School Curriculum | International Connections Academy

3 Reasons To Love Homeschooling Your Middle Schooler | Only Passionate Curiosity

4 Study Tips to Become a Successful Student

By | Tutoring, Uncategorized | No Comments

Whether you’re a prospective student or well into graduate school, knowing how to study is an important skill that you can improve on at any time. If you’ve been struggling to maintain your grades or feel like you’re burning out instead of making progress, it may be time to assess your study habits and implement changes.

Time Management

While some of us may get lucky cramming before exams, it’s much more fruitful to manage our time effectively. If you know you have an important test or research project to study for, don’t put your work off until the last minute.

Create a set schedule that you can be consistent with and allow yourself breaks so you don’t get overwhelmed. If you find it difficult to focus for long periods, consider sectioning your study time into thirty-minute chunks with short breaks in-between.

Limit Distractions

It may be tempting to listen to music or the hum of a television while you’re studying, but such background noise can be distracting, particularly if you’re prone to procrastinating.

The Internet can also be a very distracting time warp that saps your concentration. So when studying, limit technology and try to seek a quiet, cozy atmosphere. If you insist on playing music, opt for instrumentals and orchestrated pieces rather than songs with lyrics.

Test Yourself

We’ve all been in situations where a teacher springs a surprise test on us to check our absorption of the material. The benefit of doing this at home is you don’t have to have an anxiety attack.

Once you’ve read an important selection or think you understand the basics of a formula, go ahead and test yourself. Test your reading comprehension of books and passages. If you’re studying a language or unfamiliar terms, see if you can write down the definitions and translations without looking them up. Testing yourself will give you the confidence you need to overcome exam jitters and be successful.

Take Copious Notes

Some instructors forgo lengthy textbook readings and refer most to lectures. When your teacher is speaking, make sure you not only listen but write down as much content as possible. Identify the important facts and transcribe them so that you have a reliable source to study from. Make an effort to jot down dates, names, formulas, and definitions. Keep your notes simple and follow what works for you.

As long as you keep your mind open to learning something new, it’s possible to make studying more effective. Remember that everyone learns a bit differently and at a different pace, so don’t compare your methods to others. Find what works for you and be consistent.

For more helpful tips about being a great student, check out more posts here!


Featured image courtesy of CollegeAmerica