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Does Writing Something Down Help You to Remember It?

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Student Taking NotesAfter I wrote about cursive handwriting last week, I started thinking about all the times when my students use a computer (or other electronic device) to write instead of handwriting with a pencil and paper. One of the arguments that I heard supporting teaching cursive was that some people learn better when they actually write their notes in class rather than typing them on a computer.

Two of our teachers were sitting in the faculty room this morning. One was looking in her calendar at her schedule for the day. Looking at her paper day planner, I jokingly said, "What is that thing?"

The other one laughed and said, "I just can't function without writing on my calendar. I tried using Outlook for one school year. And, another year I used a PDA. During both years, I frequently forgot important appointments. It just didn't work for me. I cannot remember if I type something; I have to write it down."

Both teachers agreed that the act of handwriting helps them to remember things. I wonder if this is true for most people. Do you remember better if you handwrite something?

Tagged in: Livia McCoy


#5 Raquel 2011-10-08 01:51
My friends used to make fun of me when handwritten my essays, and then typed them out. oh well that's the way I learn! What can I do.
#4 Johnny 2011-10-07 13:02
Technology, technology, technology...I must use my blackberry and sync it with my work calendar and personal calendar, (which is done automatically). I am the type of person who will write it down a date and loose the piece of paper I wrote it down on :-) Now, I will say, when I have a "to do list" I use my little notebook for that. It allows me to write more freely and take notes. I tried using my blackberry for this function, but it's not effective for me. I have a good system in place. If I have any important dates, they go in my blackberry...to do lists, I use a small spiral notebook...I do give my wife a hard time about not "inviting" me to events using her blackberry :-) nice blog post!
#3 Livia McCoy 2011-10-05 23:48
Courtney--you made me laugh! Why do people have to harrass us for what we know works? Emily--that's a great point. I often start on paper and then move to the computer later after I have my basic ideas down. I wonder how many people are like us?
#2 Courtney 2011-10-05 13:34
This is too funny and right on time. I am always, always, always the one being harassed by someone, either at work or home for carrying around my big Academic Dayminder monthly calendar. I absolutely must write things down in this manner. It is my entire life on paper. If I were to merely keep things in outlook or via blackberry calendar, I would absolutely be lost. My paper planner stays out on my desk all day for easy glancing. I don't have to keep switching between technological devices in order to see when my next appointment will arrive because it is written right there on the planner in front of me. I definitely think there is some correlation between actually writing it and remembering it versus typing the information. It is also very benefical for me to have written this information and also be able to see the entire month of activities on paper every day.

Good follow up blog!

#1 Emily 2011-10-04 22:07
I can remember things better if I handwrite them. I've also found that if I need to be creative or brainstorm, I generate more ideas with a pen and paper than with my hands on the keyboard!

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Do you allow your children to watch TV or play on the computer before doing their homework?