Showing posts with label notebooks. Show all posts
Showing posts with label notebooks. Show all posts

Monday, July 4, 2022

Summer Reading, Notebooks, and Thinking

If you've joined one of my webinars about search strategies or taken my Teaching History With Technology course, you probably know that I advocate for two very non-techy activities. Those things are reading physical books and writing in a physical notebook. 

I have always found that when I read physical books, regardless of whether they're fiction or nonfiction, there at least three things that happen. I get new ideas to dabble with in my head. I have ideas that I want to remember. I have to stop and write my ideas down. All of those things are similar and all of those contribute to making me a bit of a slow reader if your only gauge for reading speed is how many pages you turn in a given timeframe. 

A physical notebook is almost always within my reach throughout the day. I start my day writing in a notebook (goals for the day, to-do list, reminders). During the day when I need to puzzle through an idea I write in my notebook. And when I'm stuck and can't think of anything to blog about or make videos about, I turn back through the pages of my notebooks (in my office I have notebooks going back at least ten years). 

This summer I'm reading The Last King of America and re-reading Twenty Things to Do With a Computer. Both books are quickly filling with notes. Both have given me ideas that I wouldn't have found through scrolling social media accounts or through Google search. I wouldn't have those notes and ideas through a Google search because I wouldn't have known what I didn't know until I read the books. Those notes then prompt and form my later Google searches. In other words, the books start me down the rabbit hole of investigating more ideas.

Is there a point to this post? Yes, it's to remind you to pick up a good book this summer and take notes. And in the fall, do the same for your students. 

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Convert Handwritten Notes Into Google Documents

This week my Practical Ed Tech Tip of the Week newsletter was about tools for digitizing physical notes. There are tools like CamScanner and Office Lens specifically made for that task. There are also tools that have the "hidden" capability to digitize physical notes. One of those tools is Google Drive.

When you snap a picture and upload it to Google Drive you can then have it converted into a Google Document that you can edit and share just like any other Google Doc. In the following video I demonstrate how easy it is to use Google Drive to convert physical notes into Google Docs.


Applications for Education
Many teachers, including me, still like to have students write at least some of their notes in physical notebooks. The trouble is that some students are prone to losing those physical notes. Having students snap a picture and save it to Google Drive is one way to preserve those physical notes.

Ease of sharing notes with you is another benefit of snapping a picture of physical notes and converting them into Google Docs. If you like to do periodic "notebook checks," taking pictures of notebook pages and uploading them to Google Drive is a good alternative to collecting physical notebooks.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

The Value of Paper In a Digital World

One of the things that I mention in my keynote Leading Students In a Hyper-connected World is the need to teach students the value of occasionally disconnecting from the web to focus on the completion of a task. A few years ago I heard Chris Brogan sum this up nicely by saying "paper doesn't have a new browser window." In other words, doing something on paper creates a good obstacle to distracting yourself by checking Facebook, email, or doing some other non-essential task.

Chris made his comment in the context of planning and task management. I apply that comment to the process of brainstorming and or reflecting. Taking the time to read a book, to write some ideas on paper, or to simply go for a walk give out brains time to wonder and develop new-to-us ideas without the distraction of digital input. My best stretches of blogging always come after I have taken a couple of hours to brainstorm a week or more worth of blog post topics.

Don't get me wrong, I love some of the digital brainstorming and project management tools that we have available to us. There is a time for using those, but there is also a time for not using digital tools too. As our students grow up in a hyper-connected world, it is will be increasingly important to take the time to teach them when being connected might not be the best choice.