Tech vs traditionalBy TheStudentGuide
Are the newfangled alternatives always worth splashing your cash on?
There are three groups of people when it comes to technology: the techies, who will buy anything that is in some way technological; the luddites, who will reject anything slightly mechanical; and the rest of us who embrace technology, but only when it solves more problems than it causes.
Here we look at the mod-tech versions of everyday things that we've been getting by with perfectly fine until now. So is now the time to change? We help you decide when it is worth splurging and when to save the pennies for something you really need.
Tablet vs notebook
It has never been easier to take notes than if you have the latest tablet in your backpack. You just have to launch a notebook application and you’re done! Tablets offer so much flexibility for word processing that it makes them super easy to work on. However, tablets don’t usually have a hardware keyboard which makes typing really tricky. Therefore you risk having a lot of spelling mistakes and under pressure, lecture notes written on a gadget like this might end up unreadable. The good news is that many of the writing apps offer a spell checker which can be a helping hand.
In favour of the traditional, notebooks are often lighter than a tablet and you can browse through the content of your notes pretty quickly: no having to find and load documents. It is also easier to highlight something when you write it with a pen or pencil, and it is very likely that you’ll remember more of the things you’ve written. You should also remember that no tablet on Earth can beat the speed of the average shorthand writer at 120 words per minute!
Verdict: If you have money to spare, a tablet can provide a convenient platform for digitised notes, but we can’t see it totally replacing a pen and paper anytime soon.
E-book reader vs book
E-book readers are now widely available at very reasonable prices. Your e-book reader can store all of your favourite books in one place to take with you everywhere. They are particularly handy when traveling as you can take plenty of poolside reading without having to carry extra kilos.
But for us, nothing can really beat the experience of the oldschool paperbacks. You can flip through the pages on your Kindle, but you’ll never feel the thickness of the paper, the smell of the newly bought book and the full-colour cover art. It’s true that with some devices you can read without having to switch the light on when it’s dark but this isn’t enough to warrant the death of its bound and covered counterpart.
Verdict: E-book readers are fabulous inventions which are great for travelers and commuters, but a shelf full of old books will always be more appealing to the mind and soul.
Digital recorder vs notes
Some would never want to hand write their lecture notes again if they were to try a digital recorder as it is much quicker and more effortless than note-taking. And as you can now get decent sound quality for a small spend, many students are ditching the paper and picking up their Dictaphones. However, your lecturer or tutor should be made aware that you want to record them and has to agree in order for you to use it. If they don’t, you might end up in a class without a notebook or a pen and only your memory for note-taking. In addition, recording might be a good idea for short lectures, but if your classes last a couple of hours, you'll probably have a very long recording to listen to all over again. It is hard to highlight a sound bite on a digital device, and it is even more difficult to find specific information in a lengthy piece. Dictaphones are invaluable however, if you are a slow writer or suffer from dyslexia.
Verdict: Recording your lectures is a great idea for those who don’t get on with note-taking, but don’t rely too much on the tech side. It is best to carry some traditional equipment, too—if it’s still around it’s because it has worked well for so many years!