Digital Notetaking can in fact fit into two of our digital capabilities’ digital creation and digital learning. So instead of ‘notetaking’, it should really be thought of as ‘note creating’ or ‘note making’. This is because good notes are creations that represent your thinking, learning, understanding, and questioning. In contrast ‘taking notes’ where you just write down what you have heard or read is actually poor for learning. Whilst these notes do help you record information (like in a lecture), they are actually poor for learning as they don’t require much thought.
The benefits of Digital Notetaking
Though notetaking with paper is very useful and I’m not suggesting you should only use digital notes but there are some benefits to digital notetaking.
- Organization. Endless folders can be created almost instantly so sorting is simple and easy. Tags can be applied to files for easy access, sorting, and searching. Each file is named so it is clear what each file is; and you can change the name if you want. Also, files can easily be moved to different areas on the computer. Since the files are digital, they do not take up any physical space (unlike notebooks or papers).
- Easy to share. Rather than copying or scanning notes, computers have simple share screens to instantly share with anyone. People can collaborate on a document like in Google Docs, or files can be emailed quickly. When sharing notes, unlike with paper you still retain the original notes.
- Faster. Writing is time-consuming, especially in a fast lecture. Typing takes the least amount of time so more information can be put on the page.
- Backups. Although computers and tablets can go wrong, they can be backed up on the cloud another drive or on a usb so that your notes are safe. Losing notes can be costly when studying for an exam especially if you spent a lot of time working on them. The ability to back up your notes is one less thing to worry about.
- Audio recording. You can use a recording software or app that allows you to playback your notes, which is a great tool if you prefer to learn audibly. You could also record your lectures to back up your notes.
Digital notetaking via tablet
The tablet is a happy medium that has both benefits of the computer and paper notes. Sharing and customization is easy, and it also gives you the option of handwriting which while not as fast provides better retention. Additionally, the small size makes tablets as portable as notebooks. Some note-taking apps for tablets such as the iPad include GoodNotes and Notability.
Apps for note creation
Here are a few apps that you might find useful. The Hull University Libguides has a full explanation of all these applications.
How should I take my notes?
Today we have discussed the benefits of digital notetaking but that isn’t to say that one form of notetaking is better than the other. You could utilize both physical or digital noteataking effectively as this video explores. It’s up to you which one you find most useful or you could use a combination of the two.