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MacBook or Notebook?

IFA 2012 Consumer Electronics Trade Fair
Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images

I graduated from college a few months ago, and there are some things I know now that I wish I knew when I first started school. For instance, laptops are a great investment. They allow you to do research, work on presentations, and type your papers in the comfort of your own dorm room, or wherever you feel comfortable. However, there is one major downside to having this technology.

Laptops are no match for good, old fashioned, hand-written note taking! There is now scientific evidence to prove what our parents have been telling us for years. In a study done using 327 undergrads from UCLA and Princeton, researchers split the participants into two separate groups. They were asked to watch a 15 minute Ted Talk video and take a test 30 minutes afterwards. One group used laptops for note taking, the other used longhand. The group that used the laptops remembered less information than those who wrote their notes by hand!

Part of the problem was that “typers” wrote their notes word-for-word from the video. Those that hand-wrote their notes were able to come up with some abbreviations and shorthand to grasp the concept. Focusing on the most important information was key and active listening was essential.

Not to be forgotten, let’s address the fact that laptops are also incredibly distracting. In fact, I’ve checked Facebook at least twice while writing this blog. I knew myself well enough to leave my computer at home when I took notes in college, otherwise I’d be browsing my Facebook newsfeed and checking out wedding stuff on Pinterest.

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