On the Values of Writing Notes by Hand

As a tactile learner, it helps me to better absorb and retain knowledge when I write my notes by hand. Sadly, technology has played a huge part in my dwindling ability to write legible notes quickly and completely. With its convenience and the speed with which it displays my thoughts on screen, the keyboard has become a very close friend to my fingertips.

Still, I believe that nothing beats having written notes for learning.

I admit that sometimes it can be somewhat difficult to decipher the tasmanian devil scribblings disguised as my notes. But that's part of the fun, isn't it? Trying to figure out what the heck it was that was so important I had to write it down.

Below is a short video clip of me flipping through some of my handwritten notes.

Is it weird that I love how the leaves of the notebook feel and sound when I flip through them like that? The tiny creases and dents on the pages from the pressure of my heavy handwriting feel comforting against my fingertips, as if to assure me: "You'll remember these things on exam day."

The audible crackling sounds sing to me, as the blur of color-coded lecture notes rush by, and a subtle breeze brushes upon my face.  It's simply marvelous.

Turning the Page

More than three years ago, I stumbled upon a wonderful gem that is www.edx.org. It would eventually inspire me to go back to school to continue the pursuit of my college degree. Through edX I was able to take free online courses for fun and intellectual stimulation. This was exactly the motivation I needed to push me to resume my studies.

I still have this notebook from the very first edX course that I have taken, Justice: Ethical Reasoning and Political Philosophy (ER22x), taught by Professor Michael Sandel. Once in a while, when I'm feeling nostalgic, I pull the notebook out from the bookshelf to skim through its pages and say hello.

Post Script

I love discovering new sites when I explore the Internet. Here is one in our network that happens to be about note-taking: Take Note: An Exploration of Note-Taking in Harvard University Collections.