Should Schools Go Back to Hand Written Notes?


Katelyn Ruggles

One can personalize hand written notes through underlining, highlighting, and using different colors to help with memorization.

Katelyn Ruggles, Editor-in-Chief

With the advancement of technology like desktops, laptops, and tablets, the act of hand writing notes in school has dyed out. In the past, students would either get worksheets to write their work on or simply write their notes in a notebook. However, if you were to look around a high school classroom, there is no doubt that over half the students will be using a laptop to record their notes. However, there are many more benefits to physically writing notes rather than typing them. This leads us to the question; should schools go back to hand written notes.

The switch to digital notes was most evident when schools moved online due to Covid-19. Of course, that was the last resort for many schools. It seems, though, that when we finally went back to in person school, many students and teachers continued to work through an online system rather than handing out physical copies of assignments or requiring written work to be done. When Covid first hit, the school passed out chromebooks to every student so that online learning would be accessible to all and most students continue to use those laptops in school now. 

There are some benefits to moving to a digital style of learning. To start, less paper is being used to print out copies of worksheets which of course is great for our environment. It is also easier to stay organized when all of your work is stored on a device rather than having clusters of papers in your backpack. In college, it is very common that you will be taking all your notes through some type of device, so most see it beneficial to start typing notes in high school to be more prepared for note taking in college. Laptops are also very small and portable, so it is easy to take them to places like school or cafes to work. 

Personally, I retain information better when I hand write the notes because it is more engaging.

— Emilia Nivinskus

Even though there are a lot of benefits to digital notes, there are still some pros of written notes to take into account. The main positive to written notes is that it is easier to memorize things when you physically write it down. When writing things, you are encoding that information into more areas of your brain which enhances recall of that information. With the main objective of note taking being learning and memorization, it seems that it is a no brainer that written notes are more efficient than digital notes. Also, written notes tend to be more personalized which can also help with recall. People can underline, highlight, draw pictures, and do many other things to write notes. Emilia Nivnskus (12) comments on her note taking style, saying “personally, I retain information better when I hand write the notes because it is more engaging.” All these things increase the chance of you memorizing that material because you are writing specific things that will stand out when your brain is encoding information. 

The list of benefits towards digital notes may seem longer, but the advantages to handwritten notes are more substantial. It would be more beneficial for schools to move back to handwritten notes as it improves how well students encode information into their memory, as well as enhancing the chances of recall.