Is it Better to Type and Touch or Write and Mark?

It has been said by students that physically writing down content makes it easier for the mind to remember simple details. For example, address, telephone numbers, names or even notes. Due to the amount of technology that is available to us nowadays (laptops, tablets and smartphones to name a few) less people use the simpler techniques. You are now expected to type or swipe rather than write or mark.

In the 21st century, we are extremely privileged to be able to access such advanced technology. What is considered a basic device, smartphones, uses more computing power than NASA used to land on the moon in the 1960s. On most smartphones there is a pre-installed note taking feature allowing you to type what you want. As you can imagine, this will save both time and effort, although, some say it is not as satisfying as writing down content on a paper pad with a pen.


An experiment was recently carried out by the University of New York on the best way to revise for an exam. The test had both Maths and English language questions. 100 students were to sit the exam, however, they could only use a certain method of revision. 50 where assigned to tablets and the others used pen’s and paper. 50% of the students with tablets had easy access to the internet to find relevant resources. The other 50% of students only had access to books in the library. You would think this automatically gave the technology students the advantage due to having a massive range of information and them being able to find it in a matter of clicks. Additionally you’d think the note takers were restricted with the information they could find due to it taking more time to research the relevant information.

The results were unusual, in the technology group, only 15/50 people passed the test. However the note takers had a whopping 40/50 people pass the test. This is what a student from the technology group said, “I did not feel as though I worked hard enough, not being able to physically press down on the pad had an impact on the outcome of this result”. Another student from the note takers group said this, “I felt as though reading and writing on a blank piece of paper makes it clearer for the mind to process large amounts of information rather than looking at a LED screen stressing your eyes”. Additionally, the students that had access to only notepads said the divider lines on paper gave them a strategic advantage due to the lines separating each sentence making the information clear and easy to understand.

Some people think that the simplicity of using a pen and notepad is the most effective and enjoyable way of taking notes. Others think the speediness of using technology is far superior.

Pen and pad

In my opinion, I find physically writing something down is much more satisfying than typing. Feeling the smooth pen navigate from line to line. The movement of my hand and pen helps me to remember information. The pain from my hands after a long session of writing reminds me what I have written.

Even though writing down information is proven to be better than typing, writing in notepads still brings lots of distractions. This might sound funny but it is a known fact that when people use notepads, they waste up to 3 pages of doodling and writing their own signatures.

Technology Benefits

Easy to find information you need

Quick to find the information you need

More sources available

You are able to have your work spellchecked

Technology Drawbacks

Information not guaranteed to be correct

Takes a long time to find the relevant information

You don’t learn things as quick

You tend to become lazy when trying to search new things


Note Taking Benefits

Prevents you from being distracted

Strengthens your memory when you get older

Improves your handwriting

Writing leads to increased gratitude

Note Taking Drawbacks

Takes a long time to find the correct information

Makes your eyes go funny and therefore give you a headache

Gives you hand problems and aches

You may become frustrated with yourself not knowing if the information you have received is relevant or not

Who’s side are you one? Comment below

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