Paper vs Technology Debate (notetaking)


Are there pros and cons of whether you choose to type or handwrite your notes?

I’m thinking…yes! There are pros and cons associated to paper or technology methods of notetaking. But I reckon overall, it completely up to you and what works for you!

But here’s is what I think about the Paper vs Technology debate!

#1 Technology wins at speed and clarity

Typing notes on a computer during a lecture is SOOOO much faster. I get a lot more down when I am typing in comparison to me handwriting my notes out. And at the end of the day – I can actually read what I typed in the lecture, and not having to struggle to read my really rushed/messy handwriting.

Handwriting notes when your lecture is speaking 100 miles an hour, and you’ve got a gazillion things to take down may not be the greatest. I know when I am trying to write during a lecture, my handwriting gets crazy messy.

#2 Paper wins at keeping friends

It’s no surprise that laptop keyboards are super loud. Whether it’s the tapping noise when you type, or if it’s the laptop fan that is loud (like my ridiculously loud lappy). Whenever I pull my laptop out of my bag and start typing, I can sense the judgement from everyone sitting around me even though I’m typing as quietly as I can!

And there’s always that one person that is frantically typing EVERYTHING the lecturer says. Safe to say that that is not me!

Screen Shot 2013-03-07 at 6.28.50 PM

Handwriting notes? Well, a much quieter and friendlier option of note-taking :)

#3 Technology wins at organisation

I found that when I switched from paper to technology back in first year, it was so much easier to manage my notes! And for example if I wanted to search through my lecture notes for anything to do with ‘Cyanobacteria’. I will just type that key term into the search engine of my computer and BAM! Every mention in my lecture notes about cyanobacteria will pop up!

This is a much easier way to find specific content than if you have a whole of paper notes to flip through.


#4 Paper wins at not stressing you out

funny-animals-34Oh no, only 10% of battery life left.

Oh no, what if someone steals my laptop.

Oh no, what if the computer didn’t save my notes.

Oh no, what if I can’t connect to the internet to download my lecture notes.

In my mind, there’s a bit to worry about with bringing laptop to uni.

#5 Technology wins at saving $$ and trees

So. Much. Printing. To. Do.

I don’t know about you, but the costs associated with replacing ink, toner, paper…everything adds up!

So. Many. Folders. To. Buy.

So you’ve printed out all your lecturer notes, now you need a way to store them….OFFICEWORKS RUN!

As exciting stationary shopping is – there goes more money!

So. Many. Trees. 

It’s no secret that I’m a big tree hugger, and as much as I love things in hardcopy – I don’t think I need to print my lecture notes out because it’s A LOT of paper if you’re printing out 12 weeks of notes. And realistically – are you going to read through ALL that? You’re better off condensing the lecture notes in a separate book and writing your own notes out in your own words!

#6 Paper wins at retaining information in memory

I don’t know about you guys, but I learn best if I actually write things out by hand. So for me, I would type of notes during lectures. Then go home, do the readings and all things associated with lecture. Then HANDWRITE a big summary of everything in my notebook.

And a good thing with writing out notes during lectures – is that you can easily draw on the diagrams and such on the lecture slides (if that makes sense?). So if you have a little picture, and the lecturer is pointing out specific things about this and that…you can easily draw lines and label them! Whereas, this takes so much longer on a laptop and sometimes impossible!

PLUS! I feel that if you rely too much on typing, that when it comes to exams and when you have to WRITE essays and stuff…it’s not going to work out too well because you may have very well forgotten how to write!


Well, it’s all about the same really! I reckon, at the end of the day it’s personal preference and it’s up to whatever works best for you. There is not right or wrong way to take notes, everyone has their own way and it’s best to do a bit of trial and error to see what works!


A really big shout out to my awesome Destination Melbourne friends – Yohan, Lucy, and Julian for inspiring this blog post! You guys are awesome!

Julian (left), Lucy (middle), Yohan (right)



4 thoughts on “Paper vs Technology Debate (notetaking)

  1. To quieten the tapping sounds I think you should get a keyboard cover :)
    Keeping your friends + keep keyboard clean = WINNING!

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