With the increasing quality and availability of lightweight and speedy laptops, it is worth knowing whether these machines are a viable option when it comes to taking notes at university. To help investigate whether laptops are a viable option for university students, this article will compare the pros and cons of using a laptop to take notes.
Pro: Highly Portable
One of the major benefits of laptops is their portability, and this translates very well to a university context. With constant travel between classes, accommodation, the library, and who knows where else, a laptop’s ability to quickly pack and unpack into a suitably sized bag is undeniably useful, especially given the amount of content that can be stored inside a laptop.
Con: Highly Distracting
On the other hand, a laptop is made for so much more than simply working, and the easy access to leisure content from a work context can make laptops more than a little distracting to a working student. Even a momentary distraction can cause issues in complex lectures, and it is far easier to stay focused without a (literally) glowing distraction right in front of you.
Pro: Typing is Faster Than Handwriting
If you are looking to make particularly detailed notes on the content of your lectures, then the speed at which most people can type is a powerful benefit of making notes on your laptop. By using a laptop, you allow yourself a speed of note-taking that most hand writers cannot hope to match.
Con: Typing is Worse for Note Comprehension
However, the trade-off for this kind of speed is that when it comes to handwriting notes, you are far more likely to properly comprehend the information you are taking notes on if you have to paraphrase it for your notes. However, when you type your notes, you are more likely to transcribe directly, which will stop you from benefiting from this particular effect of note-taking.
Pro: You Won’t Lose Your Notes
By keeping your notes on your laptop, you ensure that you will always be able to find your notes again, assuming you keep your laptop storage neat. When writing on paper, it is not uncommon to accidentally lose your notes or to have difficulty retrieving notes on a specific topic. With a laptop, this is unlikely to be an issue.
Con: You May Not Be Able to Study as Easily
Because the majority of your notes are stored in a digital format, many of the tricks that help people to study would be less effective with a laptop. Short of printing off your notes, you lose the option to reshuffle, highlight, and otherwise physically interact with notes, which can make studying more difficult.
So, Should You Use a Laptop to Take Notes?
Overall, if you find really good student discounts on laptops if you don’t want to fix your laptop, then you should absolutely get yourself a good laptop as they are highly useful for university work. However, handwritten notes are definitely the way to go when it comes to note-taking.
Handwritten notes are better for your comprehension of the material, and many of the benefits of laptop notes would be better applied if you copied your notes onto your laptop after taking them by hand.