Take Notes by Hand for Deeper Processing

By Diane Ross, M.Ed., Realityworks Senior Field Account Manager for NC, SC, VA, WV

A young man who is close to me recently showed me his college report card, which indicated he had received an A in English. He was previously challenged in that subject, but has always excelled in math and science. I had warned him that without really good writing skills, his future as an engineer would suffer.

I asked him what was different this semester, and he told me that his teacher asked him to take notes by hand, rather than typing them on his computer. It turns out her advice to him is researched-based.

Researchers have found that taking notes on a computer results in “shallow processing.” This means that the student is not processing the information, but merely recording it. Handwriting, they say, allows the student to “listen, digest and summarize.”

Of course, by no means am I suggesting laptops be banned from schools. Many times, teachers use them as a tool to allow students to research information. Sometimes verbatim note-taking is appropriate, but for deep learning, the student needs time – the time it takes to write it down, to take in and retain the information.

Realityworks embraces this research and offers a “RealCare Baby Experience  Workbook” for students engaged in our RealCare Baby programs, as well a s a “My Life Workbook” for our Pregnancy Profile program.  This allows students to access all information inside the program, and to take notes, quizzes and essentially create a simple portfolio of learned activities.

Incorporating tools like workbooks into the classroom can help students reach that deeper level of understanding. As the study stated, “taking notes by hand forces the brain to engage in some heavy ‘mental lifting,'” and these efforts will foster comprehension and retention.

As we travel through the country this summer make sure to stop by and see us at the different conferences and conventions we’ll be at. We’d love to get your input and feedback!

Celebrate World Prematurity Day with a Free Classroom Handout

By Denise Bodart, Realityworks RealCare Product Manager

Did you know that every year around the world, 15 million babies are born too soon? In fact, the March of Dimes reports that premature birth is the leading cause of newborn death each year worldwide. To raise awareness about premature births and how they can be prevented, the March of Dimes promotes the observation of World Prematurity Day on November 17 each year.

There are many serious problems and risks involved in the development of a premature infant, or an infant who is born before 37 weeks gestation. Babies who survive a preterm birth often face increased risks of health issues like breathing problems, cerebral palsy, cognitive disabilities and other challenges. For some families, preterm birth can involve neonatal or infant loss.


The curriculum that is designed to accompany our infant simulators addresses prenatal health and decision-making through a variety of topics and activities.

An important part of Realityworks’ mission is to improve the human condition around the globe. One way we achieve this is by enabling educators to show the probable outcomes of behaviors and choices, like pregnancy and prenatal care. The RealCare® curriculum that accompanies our infant simulators addresses prenatal health and decision-making through a variety of topics and activities that can be used in child development or parenting education classes, including this simple, easy-to-understand list of items to avoid while pregnant.

After all, the best way to ensure a healthy, full-term baby is to make good decisions regarding your own health. This list provides a good reminder of potentially harmful substances to avoid during pregnancy. It could also be used as a springboard to a more in-depth discussion of other “non-healthy” substances or habits to avoid during pregnancy.

Click here to download your own copy of this handout, which can be used to supplement a discussion of World Prematurity Day in your classroom.

Additional information on World Prematurity Day can be found on the March of Dimes website here.