Business Insider, Reader's Digest, New York Times>
In this day and age, technology has made most things faster and easier. Snail mail was too slow, so we invented the telephone. Speaking on the telephone became too taxing, so we developed texting. Thought texting was a hassle? Now you can SPEAK your text message into your phone and good old Siri will send it on over for you. Your phone doesn't even need to leave your pocket. More technology = faster society.
But is all this speed actually helping our learning process?
Nowadays, college or even high school classroom are filled with laptops and iPads. Most students can transcribe a professor's entire lecture, word for word, without breaking a sweat. Some even record the audio of the professor to listen later. You'd think this precision and speed would help information retention, but studies have shown that handwriting actually increases information retention more than typing. Why?
Because it slows the brain down.
When you take notes by hand, it's impossible to write down EVERY word a professor says. The brain picks out the important information from the lesson and puts it into words more graspable for later study. And if you miss something and didn't write it down? You're required to ask questions, to clarify what your brain hasn't solidified yet. This process is what cements the ideas into your head while a skilled typist who can mindlessly type the professor's speech verbatim loses out. Why? Because he isn't paying attention.
Researchers Pam A. Mueller of Princeton University and Daniel M. Oppenheimer of the University of California at Los Angeles, conclude that “transcrib lectures verbatim rather than processing information and reframing it in their own words is detrimental to learning.”
A sad conclusion, while the art of handwriting and penmanship is slowly fading away, outshone by the bright laptop screen. We may have increased our speed, but at what cost? French psychologist Stanislas Dehaene confirmed to the New York Times that "when we write, a unique, neural circuit is automatically activated. There is a core recognition of the gesture in the written word, a sort of recognition by mental simulation in your brain, it seems that this circuit is contributing in unique ways we didn’t realize... Learning is made easier."
Today's technology is clearly revolutionary. But, maybe for the sake of knowledge and true intellectual retention, we should take a step back and pick up good old fashioned pen and paper.