Study Habits: Traditional vs. new age

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Study Habits: Traditional vs. new age
Illustration by Omar Forty

By Alana Dutson

How important are your study habits? If you were asked to change the way you study, would you?

As students settle into the new semester at Pensacola State College (PSC), many are fine-tuning their study habits. So, do students choose a traditional study method or a new age study method?

Some students prefer a traditional study method and use pen, paper and a physical textbook. “If I write it down, I can remember it,” Linda Welt, a business major at PSC, said. Others prefer the new age method and study using an electronic device, stylus and an e-book. Several students choose to use both.

“I use everything,” said Roxy Resendiz-Garcia, an RN candidate at PSC. “I don’t trust everything online and if I base everything on the book, I feel like [it] sounds outdated.”

Each study method has its advantages and disadvantages. The NPR article “Attention, Students: Put Your Laptops Away,” written by James Doubek, explains that writing your notes with a pen and paper forces you to focus on the most important information versus trying to type your notes verbatim on your laptop.

“The more words the students copied verbatim, the worse they performed on recall tests,” Doubek wrote.

Students can also argue that a paper notebook costs 99 cents while a laptop can cost anywhere from $200 to over $1,000. Additionally, laptops can be distracting. Not much is stopping a student from clicking over to a social media site in the middle of a lecture.

On the other hand, using a laptop to write your notes allows you to type out more information much faster and more legibly. Having an electronic version of your notes allows you to study wherever you go, without the added hassle of carrying a bulky book bag.

Students aren’t the only ones making the decision to choose traditional vs. new age methods. Many PSC teachers are incorporating technology into their lectures. Chris Hunt, a PSC math instructor, provides Panopto recordings of all his lectures as well as an electronic notebook of everything covered during class.

“They [students] love that I record my lectures,” Hunt said. “There’s a lot of easy access.”

We all know that learning is beneficial at any age but it can be tricky when different generations are learning together. A generational gap could be the reason for such varied study habits and teaching methods.

“Yes, I do believe there is some generational gap but you’re going to have a generational gap regardless,” Hunt said.

Many younger students have never searched through the Encyclopedia Britannica to complete a research paper. “I see middle-schoolers now using their Chromebooks as their books instead of what we use as physical books,” said Marrum Sheikh, a PSC general studies student.

In addition, several older students have never before completed assignments or taken classes online. “I’m a Generation X and we [used] paper and pen. The computers were just starting to come out so my brain isn’t made that way,” Welt said.

Ultimately, the goal students have is the same: Study the material to pass the course, whichever way works best for them. The study methods are continually changing, for better or worse.

Who knows, maybe one day we won’t have to take notes because they will be automatically downloaded into our brains.