Students still take notes on paper

Taylor Moss opens his planner to show a typical day. This planner has helped him keep track of his busy schedule. (Taylor Ricks)
Taylor Moss opens his planner to show a typical day. This planner helps him keep track of his busy schedule. (Taylor Ricks)

College students have their own ways of managing a full-time schedule, be it with the latest smartphone or laptop or hand-written notes and planners.

A 2014 survey by technology company AMD revealed that 85 percent of college students in the United States own a laptop computer, and nearly 81 percent of students can’t imagine doing school work without their technology.

Professor Scott Church of the BYU School of Communications sees a lot of laptop usage in his class, but not as much as some people would think.

“The ratio of laptop users to students hand-writing notes has been pretty static over the last few years,” he said.

Church says about half of his students use laptops, while the other half still prefer hand-writing their notes. This has been a surprise to him.

“I think there is something that students enjoy about writing in their notebooks,” he said. “It seems it is easier to get those ideas down with pen and paper than typing on an electronic screen.”

Church does believe there are benefits to having laptops and other technology in class. “There are lot of advantages,” he said. “I encourage students to use computers for class activities.”

Church also recognizes the distractions that computers or technology can cause in a classroom. “It is easy to use that screen as a barrier between you and your professor,” he said. “It is one of those ‘right place at the right time’ instances.”

Cory Weidman, a statistics major, finds that taking notes on his laptop helps him stay more organized, and he keeps his notes online as well. “I use Google Docs,” he said. “You can categorize it by the subject or the unit you are reading.”

Bailey Coneg, a sociology major, also uses her laptop for school work, but she prefers using pen and paper when it comes to taking notes. “It is easier for me to find things,” she said. “It helps me remember things that I learn.”

Keeping track of regular assignments, exams, social events and other responsibilities can also be important and a lot of work. Many students use smartphones and calendar apps on laptops to plan their days and stay on top of deadlines.

Joslyn Chadburn, a biology science major, uses technology to manage her time. “I use Google Calendar for scheduling everything,” she said. “I use my phone, and my schedule will pop up on it.”

Although Chadburn uses technology to plan her time and schedule, she uses a more simple method to remember assignments and tasks. “I am a firm believer of Post-it Notes,” Chadburn said. “Every day I make a list of what is due that day and cross it off the list until everything is done.”

This strategy helps Chadburn feel good about what she is accomplishing each day. “For me it’s really helpful because it is something that I need that day and then throw it away and feel like I accomplished it,” Chadburn said.

Public health major Taylor Moss sticks to a more traditional method to plan his days and stay on task. Each day he refers to a small planner he carries with him everywhere. “At the beginning of the week I write down all of my assignments,” Moss said. “And each day I just go through what I have to do.”

Moss has used a planner and written out his schedule since high school.

Chadburn also learned at a young age from her mother to keep track of her responsibilities.

“My mom always used a calendar,” Chadburn said. “She would also make mini to-do lists, but not as often as I do.”


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