Note Taking 101

Cheyenne Leasure, Reporter

Notes are a vital part of learning when it comes to school. In almost every class, students are often required, or expected to take some kind of notes to help them keep track of the information they are being taught. There are many ways to take notes, two of which include on paper or on computer, but the question is, which do students prefer?

When six students were asked if they prefer taking notes on their computers or on paper, they each said they prefer to take paper notes. Many students expressed different reasons why they prefer to take notes on paper.

“I can write information down more than once to help myself remember what I am being taught” said freshman Alyssa Tetro.

Another freshman, Lucy Goldberg stated, “I prefer paper notes over computer notes because it is easier to organize information when I write it down on paper. I don’t have to make a text box or spend the extra time organizing my notes when I am taking them on paper like I usually have to do when taking computer notes.”

Many of the students interviewed said organizing their notes on a computer takes a lot of time because of the extra steps they have to go through when underlining, highlighting, or even structuring their notes in a way that makes sense to them. On the other hand, notes that are taken on paper can be easily misplaced.

Library Media Specialist, Jayme Pingrey said, “If you are a person that likes to go through the physical movements of writing down words to help ingrain information into your brain, hand writing notes can be very beneficial. On the other hand, it’s really hard to file and organize those notes when they are in paper format, whereas with digital notes you can file them electronically and access them from just about anywhere.”

Another reason students mentioned they preferred paper notes was because they find it to be easier.

“Taking notes with pencil and paper is the way I have always done it. It was the way I was originally taught,” stated Goldberg.

Taking notes on computer is a fairly new concept, due to the laptops being distributed to students for the first time in Columbia Public Schools two years ago, so many students are still learning how to work the programs.

When asked if students benefit more from taking computer notes or paper notes, Government/Sociology teacher Michael Fernandez said, “I think both can be effective, however I think it’s important for students to begin to get used to using their laptops. They really need to understand how to navigate their laptop, because it’s something that they will use a lot in the future.”

Fernandez also added, “I think now that we are giving students laptops, when they come in as ninth graders there should be a mandatory keyboarding class so students can get a formal training with how to use their keyboard, and help them understand how to type and maneuver a laptop.”

In an article written by Fiona Macaulay, “Technology skills training critical to employ low-income youth,” she stated, “More than 50 percent of today’s jobs require some degree of technology skills, and experts say that percentage will increase to 77 percent in the next decade.”


From all of the thoughts that were expressed by students and teachers, there is no “one size fits all” when it comes to taking notes. Both computer and paper notes have their own benefits, whether it’s organization, filing, or which is better for memorization. It really just depends on what style helps the student learn best. Which style do you prefer?