Note Taking W/ Laptops

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50 Replies - 6263 Views - Last Post: 01 September 2010 - 07:04 PM

#1 Brewer  Icon User is offline

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Note Taking W/ Laptops

Post icon  Posted 24 August 2010 - 05:30 AM

Last night I had a discussion with my mom and my girlfriend about why students should/should not be allowed to use their laptops to take notes during class.

I have never been a great note taker and I blame this partially on the fact that I can not write very quick. I much prefer to be able to read my writing than to write as fast as possible. However, like most Computer Science students, I can type my ass off without trouble. Looking at the keyboard isn't even necessary, hell I can watch T.V. and type and entire research paper without looking at the keyboard. Obviously, I was pro-laptop in our discussion.

Interested on whether or not I would be allowed to use my laptop to take notes in class (my mom and girlfriend had doubts) I emailed 4 of my 5 professors this semester (my Math professor is still to be announced, this doesn't matter though as I will probably still write my notes in Math) today asking whether or not they allow laptops (and doing a bit of sucking up before class starts :whistling: ). I received a reply from my CS1700 - Intro to CS professor a few minutes ago saying of course I can use my laptop and that he would be lost without his.

Obviously this was a great thing to hear!

What are your thoughts on this? Should students be allowed to take notes with a laptop in class? Is this distracting? I think it is actually less distracting than writing the notes (at least for me).

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Replies To: Note Taking W/ Laptops

#2 macosxnerd101  Icon User is online

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Re: Note Taking W/ Laptops

Posted 24 August 2010 - 05:43 AM

I can honestly say the same thing as your professor. I take all my notes on my school laptop b/c I prefer easier access to them. I can't keep up with papers for my life. They all get shoved onto my desk when I get home, never to be looked at again. I also take my math notes on the computer, with the notes looking more like Lisp. Which is why my Calculus teacher hated my work: she hates programming (I don't understand it but she does). My statistics teacher and I ran into a little trouble as I have a habit of multitasking in class while still paying attention and taking necessary notes. In most classes, I usually end up doing some sort of additional research that adds to the discussion. For the most part, she gave me a little more slack than she does most people.
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#3 Tom9729  Icon User is offline

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Re: Note Taking W/ Laptops

Posted 24 August 2010 - 05:44 AM

I type faster than I can write, but I prefer taking notes on paper because IMO it is more difficult to do inline illustrations and doodles when you're typing on the computer. Some of my friends have tablets and that seems to work out pretty well for them.

I'll be a junior in the fall so perhaps I'm not the most qualified to answer this, but I have never had a teacher who "didn't allow" laptops in the classroom (although they will generally call you out if they don't think you're paying attention).
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#4 Brewer  Icon User is offline

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Re: Note Taking W/ Laptops

Posted 24 August 2010 - 05:53 AM

I have to agree with Macosxnerd101, I can't keep up with papers at all. I also just throw them down and never touch them again. Also, if you could upload a text file of some of your math notes and PM me the file that would be awesome. I am very interested in seeing how you take math notes with a computer.

Do you ever run into problems with teachers drawing illustrations?
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#5 Locke  Icon User is offline

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Re: Note Taking W/ Laptops

Posted 24 August 2010 - 06:08 AM

Drawing illustrations is usually a problem with the laptop note-taking. This is to be expected in math classes. That's really the only issue I run in to.

I generally prefer to take notes on my computer, however, I generally find it as more of a distraction. ;)
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#6 Brewer  Icon User is offline

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Re: Note Taking W/ Laptops

Posted 24 August 2010 - 07:48 AM

I suppose I can see how it could be more distracting, always having the option to check your email and the like. However, I find that if I try to write something down while my instructor is talking, I tend to miss whatever it is they said when I was writing. On the other hand, I can type as fast as my instructor talks. (I spend way too much time on a computer!)
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#7 guahguahmonster  Icon User is offline

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Re: Note Taking W/ Laptops

Posted 24 August 2010 - 07:52 AM

This is probably a horrible thing for me to say, but for most of my classes, whether I take notes with my laptop or on paper, I'll never look at the notes again. But, even just writing something down (even if I never look at it again) helps me to remember something, while the same probably isn't true for just typing something.

On the other hand, it's probably easier to read something I type than something I write. Meh. Either way, I figure if I use my laptop to take notes, I'm just going to get myself distracted.
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#8 SpeedisaVirus  Icon User is offline

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Re: Note Taking W/ Laptops

Posted 24 August 2010 - 08:17 AM

The often cited (and completely valid reason) is that most people with laptops out in class are not often taking notes. They usually are IMing, facebooking, watching youtube, etc. If people did what they were supposed to with them, taking notes, it would be easier for teachers to justify it.
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#9 Tuishimi  Icon User is offline

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Re: Note Taking W/ Laptops

Posted 24 August 2010 - 08:30 AM

I love the sound of keyboards clicking away. It's soothing to me. :)

I don't see why they cannot be used for note-taking... the only concern I would have as a teacher would be that you aren't really taking notes. On the other hand, at least you were at class and not skipping lecture.
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#10 JMarchesoni  Icon User is offline

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Re: Note Taking W/ Laptops

Posted 24 August 2010 - 08:31 AM

As long as people are actually taking notes or doing work pertaining to the class, I think it should be allowed. It is allowed at my university, and although I am only taking Calculus right now and wouldn't use my laptop in it, I will for other classes. The only time I have a problem with it is when people are doing things other than notetaking or classwork, like playing games. It's very distracting to me for someone to be doing that where I can see it.
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#11 Tom9729  Icon User is offline

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Re: Note Taking W/ Laptops

Posted 24 August 2010 - 08:35 AM

View Postguahguahmonster, on 24 August 2010 - 09:52 AM, said:

This is probably a horrible thing for me to say, but for most of my classes, whether I take notes with my laptop or on paper, I'll never look at the notes again.

You're not alone on this.

I pay better attention when I hand-write my notes, but there are still days where I go into "autopilot" and walk out of the lecture with a page full of notes that I don't ever remember writing.
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#12 calebjonasson  Icon User is offline

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Re: Note Taking W/ Laptops

Posted 24 August 2010 - 08:48 AM

I don't know where I would be without my laptop during class hours. I usually just roll with microsoft one note import pdf files into it. This way I can highlight and make adjustments, additions and subtractions as needed.
The problem with this post is that the results are going to be biased seeing as a majority of the form are or have been comp sci students. Of course we are going to be pro-laptop.
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#13 Brewer  Icon User is offline

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Re: Note Taking W/ Laptops

Posted 24 August 2010 - 08:51 AM

Luckily at least one of my professors (CS 1700 - Intro to CS) has already replied to my email saying that he allows the use of laptops for note taking purposes. Also, I plan on sitting at the front of the room, in the first or second row, in every class.

I screwed around a lot in high school, so I have set pretty high ambitions for myself as far as university is concerned!

Also, I think that it is a lot easier to keep things organized on the computer. I supposed folders exist in the real world too, but I don't like the space that they take up. I like things being digital!
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#14 programmer4life  Icon User is offline

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Re: Note Taking W/ Laptops

Posted 24 August 2010 - 08:52 AM

I gotta agree with Tom...For some reason whenever I hand-write my notes they kinda keep stuck in my head longer!! When typing, I just don't remember anything at all, though they're easier to access and share with others later on. Plus, you can't create backups for hand-written notes that's the major problem :notify:

You don't really have to have papers strewn around, just use one of them notebooks ;) (The 'paper' notebooks!) Planning to be more organized this fall lol...that's what I say everytime :whistling:

It's my second uni. year and really, none of my professors have problems with laptops. Though, sometimes they tend to distract other students when you're watching an album on facebook or playing Warcraft...so one of my professors had a neat little idea to divide the lecture hall placing all the laptop people in one section!! :lol:

This post has been edited by programmer4life: 24 August 2010 - 08:56 AM

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#15 Brewer  Icon User is offline

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Re: Note Taking W/ Laptops

Posted 24 August 2010 - 09:00 AM

I'm not very good at keeping paper notes organized, I do find it a lot easier to keep organized on a computer though. I suppose thats why I am pursuing a career with computers though. I love waking up in the morning, opening my email client, checking my calendar, adding anything new and removing anything old. I enjoy opening CNN.com and Consumerist.com and seeing whats on the go. I just couldn't imagine life without my laptop. :tt1:

I am still waiting to hear back from my other professors it is only noon though so hopefully I will hear back from some of them today.

I must admit though, I just installed Ubuntu (dual-boot) and I am getting quite annoyed at how much my mouse is clicking by itself. And let's be honest, no one wants to start freaking out at their computer in the middle of class, that's only to be done in the privacy of our homes!

This post has been edited by .i7: 24 August 2010 - 09:01 AM

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