Sunday, 2 February 2014

Digital Notetaking

Notetaking is one of the most dreadful tasks that high school students can conjure up in their minds.  Never having learned or been taught how to take proper notes, it was a bit of a guessing game when I first starting having to record what my teachers presented in class, commencing around grade 7.  It was one of those things that you were expected to learn through osmosis, similar to how I recall learning how to read. There wasn't an explicit way I was taught- I seemed to pull those skills out of thin air.
Jennifer Hart and Allison Papke, doctoral candidates at the University of South Florida, presented some practical strategies that students can use to take a proper set of notes on the second day of the Florida Educational Technology Conference.  One of the first strategies presented in their Get Caught Passing Notes presentation, was using the Cornell Note-taking system, which has students structure their notes using a graphic organizer.  Check out this helpful video here, which clearly outlines the process.  As participants, we were given an article and asked to go through the process of summarizing the article using this outline.  I found it incredibly useful and wished I had heard of this technique years ago.  Jennifer and Alison suggested that this technique be presented to all students, taking the time to go through and model each step of the process.  You can copy and use the template that was shared with participants here.
What I enjoyed most about the session other than the above mentioned tool, was the fact that the presenters discussed tech tools I had never heard about.  One of them was Canva, which allows users to create a infographic using pictures and text.  It was pretty user-friendly and new to me.  An easy way to cite references is to use citelighter, which, if you are a regular user of Google Chrome, can also be added as an app to your browser.  Simply highlight text from an online article and the app will cite a reference in APA, MLA, or Chicago format.  Jennifer and Alison presented  few other amazing tech tools, including my favourite, Evernote. This comes in both a web based and app form.  If you haven't heard of any of these technology tools, then I would highly suggest checking out these great apps that can be used to assist students at the middle and senior years level.

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