Monday, November 10, 2014

Tip of the Week: The Four S's of Notetaking with Laptops: Part 1: November 10, 2014

Articles have been written recently about the value of handwriting vs. keyboarding and some arguing about the effect on notetaking in particular. (The Pen Is Mightier Than the Keyboard). In question is whether information is synthesized deeply enough when taking notes electronically as opposed to writing by hand.  A friend and colleague at EdTechTeacher.org, Beth Holland, wrote a very interesting article that addresses this (in my opinion) in an educationally sound way. The Four S's stand for Support, Save, Search and Share! 
I am going to cite her article word for word (http://www.edutopia.org/blog/the-4ss-of-note-taking-beth-holland) but breaking it down by each "S" week by week.

"... before making a blanket statement that one device may be better than another (e.g. pen vs. laptop) or calling into question what may be the best note-taking system, what if we approach the concept by identifying what is best for individual students? In other words, does the system . . .
  • Adequately support the students' learning needs?
  • Allow students to save their notes to multiple locations?
  • Let students search for salient points?
  • Permit students to share with peers and teachers?"
SUPPORT
What if, because of individual learning styles, pen and paper are a detriment to learning? By providing students with digital options, we can remove a number of barriers to learning and create a least restrictive environment.

1. Anything that's text can be heard.

By typing content, students have the option of hearing it played back through text-to-speech. Imagine the potential for an ELL/ESL student or struggling reader to be able to listen to his or her own notes!

2. Record audio directly into notes.

Others may benefit from recording audio directly into a note. Both Evernote and OneNote include an option to add audio files. Similarly, Notability and AudioNote support audio syncing. Not only do these apps record audio, but they also sync it to anything typed or written while recording. While a student might not replay an entire class, he or she might tap on a word and jump directly to that portion of the audio.

3. Establish visual hierarchy.

Most note taking and word processing tools quickly create bulleted or numbered lists. For several of my former students with visual-spatial challenges, aligning text and creating visual order helped them to better synthesize the information.
Digital notes offer multiple dimensions -- text, images, drawing, handwriting, and audio -- that paper notes do not. Students need the opportunity to identify strategies that best support their learning."
stay tuned... 

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