Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Digital Note Taking

Note taking in the digital age presents new challenges for teachers and students. Prior to 1-to-1 in the classroom, students dutifully took notes on paper and in notebooks. Now that our students have Chromebooks, this process of knowledge transfer can take on a different form.

Beth Holland, a Johns Hopkins University Doctoral Student and EdTechTeacher Instructor, uses the 4Ss of Note Taking with Technology. She writes, the 4Ss is a "system that:
  • Supports [students'] learning needs;
  • Allows them to save across devices;
  • Possesses search capabilities;
  • can be shared."
Note taking should be more than "just transcribing information" (source). With their notes, students can "curate and synthesize information so that they can make conclusions, build deeper understanding, and construct new knowledge" (source). Teachers can build time into their period to allow students to reflect on what they learned to strengthen their comprehension of the content.

Google's Explore tool can help students curate and synthesize information. Students can type a few key vocabulary words into the body of a Google Doc then click on the Explore button on the lower right corner of the screen. Google will pull up related research, topics, and images related to the topics in the Doc. Students can also search directly from the Explore tool, without having to leave their Doc.

Digital note taking should support students, allow students to save across devices, have the ability to search, and students should be able to share their information. Using the 4Ss will ensure students are able to curate, synthesize, and reflect on course content.