There is a lot of debate about the best way to take notes. There are some studies that show that paper note taking is better for long term retention than computer-based notes.

I do not think that the conclusions of these studies are not as clear as suggested. But they do highlight some important points to consider when picking a note taking strategy.

1- Paper can be easier to draw on that most software. This is very helpful for classes that require a lot of pictures, equations, diagrams, or charts. If you have a class that uses a lot of these it might be best to take notes on paper or a computer that allows you to use a table setting.
2- Most people cannot write as fast as someone speaks. Taking notes on paper can force us to summarize what is being discussed. While being able to type everything the professor says can seem like an advantage but our brains need to process information in order for it to stick. Students can learn how to summarize while using a computer, it just takes practice.
3- Computers can be distracting to the student using it and those around them. The distraction level seems to go up as the wifi speed improves. Lectures are generally very dense and require a student’s full attention, but it is very easy to “just check” something. If students want to use a computer I suggest that they use a distraction blocker during lectures, or turn off their wifi.

Here are some advantages of taking notes on a computer:

1- It is easier to hone your notes if they are digital. Often students reject the idea of honing their notes because it requires a time commitment.
2- It is easier to make Quizlet decks if the information is already digital. In college students are reluctant to use, flashcards because they are time consuming to make. But the deep understanding and application required in college and many high school classes is supported if students can understand and recall the supporting facts and details fluently.
3- And finally it can be easier to type than to write. This is especially true now that students can type with ease and many schools do not teach cursive. Printing in lecture can feel very slow and frustating for students even when they are summarizing well.

There is not a right or a wrong way to take notes, each student should work to find a strategy that works for each class.