Thursday, August 14, 2008

Notetaking and Collaborative Research

This week's episode of Wicked Decent Learning titled Take Note features a discussion of teaching notetaking skills and research skills. Jeff and Dan explore the value of notetaking and reasons why we make students take note. The WDL guys also review a neat little gadget from Livescribe. As always the Wicked Decent Learning podcast is informative and entertaining. Check it out on iTunes.

The Wicked Decent Learning discussion about notetaking reminded me of two free resources that every student and teacher should be familiar with. Google Notebook and Zoho Notebook are great, free, collaborative resources that can help students take notes and outline their online and offline research.

Below is a video introduction to Google Notebook. After the video are my thoughts about using Google Notebook and Zoho Notebook in education.


Applications for Education
Both Google Notebook and Zoho Notebook can be used to "clip" or bookmark webpages that students find online. That isn't anything special what makes it useful and different from simply bookmarking pages is that users can write notes about to accompany each clipped page. Adding notes helps students to record why they are saving that page and what they found useful and important on a particular webpage. Google and Zoho both offer browser extensions which make it very easy to clip or bookmark pages and write notes without having to open a new browser window.

Google Notebook
and Zoho Notebook both have collaborative features that allow users to share and edit notebooks with other users. This is a great tool for students that are working collaboratively on research projects. For example if three students were working a research project about the Cold War they can create a notebook of information to which each person can add information as it is found. Then when it is time to write a paper or create a presentation each student can harness the power of the group's efforts.

Comparing the two notebook applications Google's Notebook interface has fewer easily accessed features than Zoho offers. Zoho's Notebook allows users to add more layers to a notebook by including videos and pictures with a very simple and obvious process.