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Submission + - Ask Slashdot: best way to take notes in the modern classroom? 3

Krau Ming writes: After about 8 years spent in research, I've made the decision to go back to school... medical school. When I last spent the bulk of my days sitting in lectures, I took notes with paper, and if the professor wasn't technologically impaired, he/she would have posted powerpoint slides as a pdf online for us to print and make our notes on. Since it has been so long, I am looking for some options other than the ol' pen and paper. Is there an effective way of taking notes with a laptop? What about tablet options? Are there note-taking programs that can handle a variety of file types (eg: electronic textbooks, powerpoint slides, pdfs)? Or should I just sleep in and get the lectures posted online and delay learning the course material until the exam (kidding)? Thanks Slashdot!
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Ask Slashdot: best way to take notes in the modern classroom?

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  • I just graduated last May. For a humanities class (where notes were all text) you might have 10% of the students taking notes on a laptop. For science or math classes, it was below 1%. There's a reason for that. Paper and pencil is still the easiest, cheapest, and most effective method.

    The only place I saw any significant number of students using laptops were computer science classes -- and then it was still at most five out of thirty students using them, and those five were either playing games/checking Fa

  • You can do that with a phone or a computer, you'll have the whole thing to go back to, and you're actually listening to the instructor rather than trying to pay attention to what (s)he says while writing.

    • Unless your phone or computer has an outstanding microphone, I would strongly recommend against this. Recording ambient sounds are not what those onboard microphones were designed for. Good digital recorders are cheap and the audio quality will be many times better than what is possible using the integrated microphone. Still, recording alone is not a good idea, it should be used to complement note taking. And for this, there is no good replacement for paper and pencil. It has better tracking than any touch

Mathemeticians stand on each other's shoulders while computer scientists stand on each other's toes. -- Richard Hamming