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The Best Experience Always Comes from the Hard Work

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Although e readers and laptops provide quick accessible content at your fingertips, books and paper copies are more effective for learning. With rising technology, students all over the country are using different techniques to study, and take notes. It is more effective to take notes by hand, rather than by laptop. The average student in 2016 is less likely to read a paper-back book than a kindle or laptop. What should they really pick up? A book that’s not shown through a screen. A book with an enticing cover that captivates the reader, stirring excitement, eagerness and impatience.

Everyone always wants to do better. They want to do better, be better, and have way more than they need. Most students believe that taking notes on a laptop will increase their test scores, due to the fact that they basically have the professor’s entire lecture written down in Google Drive. This, is wrong. Students listen to the content, and summarize it in their own words instead of copying down word for word.“Writing by hand is slower and more cumbersome than typing, and students cannot possibly write down every word in a lecture. Instead, they listen, digest, and summarize so that they can succinctly capture the essence of the information.” (May) Concentrating on taking notes that pertain to what exactly the professor says is wasting time, energy, and by the time they are done typing it all out, the professor has moved on to a whole different subject.

When students focus on capturing what the professor is saying word for word instead of taking the information in, therefore, they are missing out on the amount of knowledge they could have been attaining. When we experimented with taking notes on a laptop vs by hand, the people that handwrote did better than the people that took notes on a laptop. When students summarized the content in their own words, they had an easier time answering the questions. Familiarity is important. When a student can recognize what they wrote and how they wrote it to understand it, they have an easier time processing the information and studying for tests, and will essentially do better on tests.

During our class research, we had mixed results for various reasons. The results showed that the students that took notes on laptops did better, but our strategy wasn’t as effective as round two. Various possibilities for a poor score are pointing to the interest of the student, the focus and attention of the student, and the engagement of the student. If the student cared less about what they were learning, they listened less and therefore took less notes, and did poorly on the quiz. If the student was engaged and interested in the project and the content, he/she would take specific notes and did well on the quizzes.The second time around, we let the whole class read the article, and then take a quiz without using the article. The students who read the article as a paper copy did a lot better than those who used a laptop. This can mimic a real life situation. If a student is taking notes for a subject he/she doesn’t want to take, they may not take as detailed notes and contrary, they may take overly detailed, very specific notes for courses in their major. It really comes down to dedication and application.

There’s a certain experience that comes with picking up a book, and physically flipping to through the pages, anticipating what comes next. Each chapter creates a hopeful anxiety furnishing the story further and further. With e readers and ipads, people aren’t meeting these magical literary moments. People lose the experience that comes with having a book in hand which in turn limits their learning capacity. “most screens, e-readers, smartphones and tablets interfere with intuitive navigation of a text and inhibit people from mapping the journey in their minds. A reader of digital text might scroll through a seamless stream of words, tap forward one page at a time or use the search function to immediately locate a particular phrase—but it is difficult to see any one passage in the context of the entire text.” (Jabr ) There is such a magical feeling to a book that just cannot be compensated. You can open it and close it whenever you please, and still be in the same place. Time doesn’t pass, and you can relive moments over and over again. The images of the content dances in your head, and leave your imagination running wild. When reading on an e reader, the reader doesn’t get the physical feel of the book, they cannot see where it begins and ends and where the story will end. “Although e-readers like the Kindle and tablets like the iPad re-create pagination—sometimes complete with page numbers, headers and illustrations—the screen only displays a single virtual page: it is there and then it is gone. Instead of hiking the trail yourself, the trees, rocks and moss move past you in flashes with no trace of what came before and no way to see what lies ahead.” (Jabr) As Jabr states, the reader doesn’t have the same experience, it can be argued that they do not need the feel of the book, and they do not need to see where it begins and where it ends, but I would say that’s wrong. The standard that we have created for stories has been on paper. That’s how people were born to read. They were born to tell stories, and read them, and throughout the thousands of years “writing” has been around, it has created it’s own ambiance.

In America, we enjoy gadgets that are fast, easy, and portable. Many people prefer e readers and ipads because everything is in one place. You can have your homework, your notes, your textbook, and your messages all in one spot with a click of a button. People do not want to carry around 6 different books for 6 different subjects when they can just have all of it in one. Many students who take notes on laptops will become distracted with all the apps, and gadgets that this new technology has to offer. Many people will agree that learning should be deeper than just a screen to a face. To learn effectively, we must pick our heads up and look deeper into what we are engaging in. Distractibility is a big issue in adolescents. ? of students are wasting their time in class on social media and other non related websites (study by Carl Straumsheim). Because we are tempted by every app, photo, website, and control on laptops, we are less likely to focus on what the material we are being taught is. “In most typical college settings, however, internet access is available, and evidence suggests that when college students use laptops, they spend 40% of class time using applications unrelated to coursework, are more likely to fall off task, and are less satisfied with their education. In one study with law school students, nearly 90% of laptop users engaged in online activities unrelated to coursework for at least five minutes, and roughly 60% were distracted for half the class.” (May) As adolescents, our brains are still developing. They don’t stop developing until about 24 years old. As this is happening, there’s so much information that can be used and taken in! We take these opportunities for granted, but learning physically will benefit us in the long run.

Learning hands on has been proven more powerful. In most classes, every lesson involves some portion of a hands on section. This, (excluding lectures) has been thought of to be a very functional tool that is accessible to students. When students learn hands on, their cognitive senses are still growing, and as their brain develops, they are intaking essential skills. Sensory skills are of importance when the average child is learning. Research shows that the average child needs to use touch and sight to develop the best memorization skills. “ Learning involves more than the receipt and the regurgitation of information. If we want students to synthesize material, draw inferences, see new connections, evaluate evidence, and apply concepts in novel situations, we need to encourage the deep, effortful cognitive processes that underlie these abilities. When it comes to taking notes, students need fewer gigs, more brain power.” (May) A teacher’s job is to do their very best to educate students and teach them everything that they can in a way that they remember it all, thus the reason they prefer to teach out of a textbook, rather than on a laptop or a computer. Again, some educators believe that laptops are an effective tool for students, given they have everything the student may need. Don’t know an answer? Google it! But wait, arises is a whole different issue. New technologies in online sites are trying to keep an eye on online test takers. Cheating. Teachers will preach “don’t plagiarize, don’t cheat.” until they are blue in the face, but nethertheless, students will not listen. This technology offers temptations to “just find this one answer” or “boost my test score”. Educators of today are struggling to find a way to rid of the opportunities to cheat. The way out? Don’t give tests online! Paper copies of tests and quizzes prompt the student to check and recheck their answers over and over again, rather than submitting a question, and not being able to go back to it.

In turn, there are various methods to study. Some, more effective than others. When it comes down to taking notes, take them by hand. If you’re thinking of picking up the latest best seller, grab a paperback book and get the full experience, you wouldn’t want to miss out on pivotal experiences.

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