NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — If you want to be smarter you might want to swap out your smart phone for a pen and paper.

A new study out of Princeton found that there’s no replacement for old school note taking.

As CBS2’s Emily Smith explained, if you like to write things out rather than type them there’s a chance you’re smarter for it.

According to a new study at Princeton University, handwriting helps students focus, and boosts learning in a way a keyboard can’t.

“The art of note taking and students processing that pen to page helps retain information and personalize it,” Dr. Alexis Eckert explained.

Dr. Eckert, principal of Ho-Ho-Kus elementary, said as more schools do away with teaching cursive, and writing in general, she’s hoping the results of the study will sound an alarm to educators.

“I do believe technology has a place, but handwriting, manuscript, and cursive, has to be part of practice,” she said.

Researchers have been studying note-taking for a hundred years, but only recently started zeroing in on the difference between a pen and paper versus a keyboard.

According to the study, students who take notes on a laptop take more notes, but their pace and volume tend to undermine learning.

They said computer not takers typically forgot the material 24 hours later, but those who took notes by hand could remember longer. Even a week later.

Experts said brain imaging shows there’s actually something about writing things down that excites the brain.

“They feel it emotionally. They are actually using part of their body. It’s not just in the eye. They are actually forming the letters,” Dr. William Quigley explained.

Eighth graders said they agree with the study even though a pen and paper seems antique.

“When you’re typing you’re not writing out the letters. You’re pressing part of a screen,” Rimas Shacar-Palubinskas said.

“I think just writing it down makes your brain remember it better,” Natalie Ratner said.

Studies show when it comes to learning any notes are better than none, but if you want to make the most of a lesson then you may want to go old school with a pen and paper.

While the study was done in the classroom, experts said the findings likely apply equally to a business meeting or a doctor’s office.

 

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