Students who take notes by hand have higher GPA, remember more than those who type on digital devices

NEW YORK — Maybe having iPads and computers become a regular part of the classroom isn’t the best idea after all. Kids who write their notes by hand may get higher grades than their peers, according to new research

A recent poll asked 2,000 parents whether or not they’ve noticed a preference for digital or analog studying habits in their children between six and 18 years-old. Although typing (34%) proved slightly more popular than handwriting (30%), the latter group had a higher median GPA (3.2) than the overall average (2.9).

Pencil vs. keyboard

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Five Star, the survey also finds other interesting correlations between how students write and how they behave. According to their parents, left-handed children favored handwriting more frequently (57%) than right-handed ones (30%), who prefer to use a keyboard (46% vs 33%).

Interestingly, kids who preferred typing were also significantly more likely to favor the two-handed “homekey” method (46%), while kids who write by hand tend to “hunt and peck” with two fingers (60%).

Meanwhile, those who write longhand tend to be more left-brained (73%) – analytical and organized — while those with no preference were most likely to be right-brained, or creative and intuitive (21%). Similarly, longhand writers tended to be introverted (75%), while kids with no preference were more extroverted (33%).

Regardless of personality differences, 53 percent of parents feel their child’s grades have improved since the 2019-2020 school year – although parents of longhand writers (87%) noticed the most improvement overall.

“Over the past few years, digital learning has become more of a necessity, with computers and tablets now an essential tool for education,” says Jessica Hodges, vice-president of marketing for Five Star, in a statement. “Even so, studies consistently show that handwriting notes helps students improve their focus and memory recall.”

Getting homework done faster by hand?

When asked which study aids provided their kids with the greatest benefits, parents reported that in-person study groups (33%) and handwritten notes (32%) seemed nearly as ubiquitous as more technology-heavy options like interactive quizzes (37%), video lessons (36%), and online tools (35%). Although most parents surveyed were confident in their children’s overall abilities, they were more likely to rate those abilities higher if their children preferred handwriting their notes.

In particular, kids who handwrite their notes seemed more successful in remembering information they’ve read (98% vs. 67%) and finishing assignments on time (74% vs. 55%).

“Studies show that things like flashcards, interactive games, study groups, or guided sessions help kids excel in and out of the classroom,” Hodges says. “Finding a virtual study tool can be a great way to make learning fun and engaging for students today.”

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