The Most Effective Way to Take Notes in Class | Edudemic

I am not sure how many teachers talk about note-taking strategies in their class – I know I talk about different methods when giving sessions on plagiarism and how to avoid it.

This article provides some great pointers to share with your students on how to take notes in class. Personally, I  am a total “dynamic Outline” kind of gal!

Also, we have talked about the pros and cons of typing rather than writing notes. For some, effective note-taking takes place on paper, for others they prefer to type. Either way, it doesn’t make our technology less useful or the paper and pencil people luddites. There’s room for all kinds!

Check it out!


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rAPPido review: SketchNotes

Screen Shot 2014-12-02 at 10.00.39 AMI saw this amazing post by Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano about Sketchnoting and decided I would try the app SketchNotes. I used the information about best practices for passwords to try it out.

Price: free

What is it? 

It is a visual note-taking app. This means you can type your notes like you would in any note app. But as an extra bonus, you have the ability to doodle on it. Since Science has proven that doodling can actually be a good thing, this could be useful for certain types of learners.

How does it work?

Easily. You have the option either to typer or to draw. It just takes a tap to switch modes.

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My biggest problem happened when I tried to export it as a PDF or text. However, I got none of these options:

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Hmmm. This might be a glitch, but even shutting the app and opening it again didn’t help. Still, it is kind of game over if you can’t get your notes out from the app.

A neat feature is also the re-arrange. You select an object by drawing a box around it:

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Then drag it with your finger:

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However, this only works with the drawings, not the text.

Here are the formatting options:

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You can see what notes you have created on the left-hand side.

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Although the drawing feature is kind of neat,and it is relatively simple to use. There are some features lacking (not to mention the export options which are just plain missing). For instance, you can’t zoom in or out, which would be helpful with the drawing. As I mentioned above, you can’t move blocks of text around either.

11 Note-Taking Tips For The Digital Classroom – Edudemic

I was visited by a teacher yesterday who was wondering what the best way was to use the  iPads in her class for research. This teacher had a couple of sites she wanted the students to explore but wanted to make sure they were actually engaging with it.

I have been thinking of this ever since and I am not sure I have a good solution. The only thing I can think of is what our math and multimedia teacher mentioned in his Flipped Classroom presentation- that taking notes are a very important part of making sure the students are viewing the presentations/videos,etc he wants them to view.

But is paper better than digital? According to this infographic, it seems that our instincts were right-the answer differs for everybody:


Some ways the first teacher could go about it would be to have them do what Mr. Math teacher does- make them take notes on paper and then take a photo of their notes and post them on a class blog. Or, as the sites includes many images the students will have to explore, they can save the images to their camera roll and then stick them in a place where they can annotate them (whiteboard app, keynote,etc.). Or a combination of both.

Her concern is that she wants to be able to retrieve all the documents in one place- not to be bombarded by a bunch of emails. I am intrigued by the idea that pen and paper and technology are not mutually exclusive-there is no need to throw the baby out of the bathwater.

What do you think? If you get your students to look at certain websites on their iPad what are your tips and tricks to ensure they are engaging with the site and not with instagram?

Below is the article where I found the infographic.

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Does the physical act of writing something down help you to remember it? What is the most effective way to take notes? How does all of this play into a more digital classroom?

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Evernote-Breaking through the wall

Evernote Free


Sometimes I have unexplainable mental blocks for certain things. For example, anything with the Oprah Book Club selection sticker on it. For some reason, the very fact that a book is plastered with that sticker will ensure that I do not read that book unless under duress (of which book club counts as duress). And of course, the moment I finally pick the book up, years after the hype has died down and all my friends who highly recommended it can’t remember the plot line, I discover how amazing it is and can’t believe I didn’t read it sooner.


Treebeard the Ent. “…we never say anything unless it is worth taking a long time to say. “

I have the same phenomena with certain apps and social media. I have already written about my reticence with Twitter ( I think I am altogether to Ent-like to enjoy a medium that restricts me to 144 characters) I pushed through the wall and figured out how it can be useful to me.

Now it is time to scale the Evernote wall. A few things has made me re-visit Evernote:

1. This article about an iPad workflow (will have to tackle edmodo next)

2. My husband asked me about it last night as he is being encouraged by his work to begin using it.

As it so happens, I have been playing with it for the last week in order to figure out how it can be useful to me. I am giving a Digital Citizenship workshop tomorrow and thought that would be a good project to gather information, especially since I plan to build on the workshop with other ideas.

And lo and behold, it is useful ( I know, I know. I am so darn slow.) I can access it on my desktop, iPad and iPhone (in fact,my family and I spent a few minutes last night dictating limericks on Evernote and watching them being transcribed automatically into our notes).

I created a notebook called Mindful use:

1. Tap Notebooks

2. Tap Edit

3. Tap new Notebook


So far, it has been useful as a bucket for all the websites and resources I find on the topic:



But you can also add lists:


I also emailed myself the text I wrote for it last year as well as saved some of the infographics I use:





You can also share your notebooks with other people, which makes it ideal for any group work:



The dictation function is helpful, especially when I am using it on my phone or iPad (not so much on my desk top). But on the desktop, you have the option to use the Evernote website clipper, which allows you to save only a snippet of a website not the whole website itself. This is useful if you only need a chunk of the info.

Okay. Fine. I am now an Evernote convert.I would be interested to know if you use Evernote and how and what you use it for!

Official Scribes of the Classroom

The article below made me think of a conversation I had the other day with Mr. Math and Multi media about how it was going with his flipped classroom. He was telling me that since he required the students to take notes on the videos they must watch at home, it has been way more successful. He then took it a step further and not only required his students to take notes, but to post them to their math blogs.

All the students in his class (and now all of you) can benefit from their notes. The fact that they are public I suspect also contributes to the quality. I have made a pinterest board of all their blogs so you can peruse a sampling of their notes, or click on an individual pin to go their blog.

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This is a great example of how you can leverage the use of the iPad (or any device) in the class, from watching the videos or presentations on the iPad, to making notes, to posting them on a blog. All this can be done with great ease on one device.

Below is an article on another way one can use the iPad and collaborative tools in order to create a class pool of notes.

See on Scoop.itipadyoupad

Alan November elevated the “Official Scribe” as one of the roles that empower student learners. I see the role of the scribe as follows: The official scribe plays an important role in the classroom…

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rAPPido Review: Paperdesk

Complain and you shall receive…Promo codes! Apparently the folks at Paperdesk  must have an alert whenever their product is mentioned, because I received a comment in response to my post about not reading the fine print from their support desk apologizing for their fine print etiquette and offering me a couple of promo codes for the school!

Woohoo! Free stuff! My frugal heart is all a flutter.

So I am giving it a whirl as I speak.

In order to populate my folders and my notes, I thought I would copy and paste some of my notes from Pages to paper desk, so that I can group them in folders.

Oh. Just figured out that I can make folders with Pages the same way you can make folders with your apps… So what else does paperdesk have to offer?

Okay. I just tried copying and pasting my pages document into paper desk. The document I pasted was several pages. When I tried to copy the whole thing, paper desk would not automatically paste on to other pages.  Meaning that as soon as the first page was filled up, I lost my content. So I pasted bits and pieces onto several pages, which seems like a waste of time, and even then it was difficult to tell how much was too much for the notebook…

Hmm. First glitch.

When you open up Paperdesk it asks if you want to autosync your notebooks with dropbox:

Paperdesk converts your notebooks into PDFs and puts them in your dropbox automatically. The only issue that I can see is that the PDF format does not allow editing which sorts of puts the kibosh on collaborating doesn’t it?

Second Glitch.

I uploaded my document to my dropbox and lo and behold, it was in a folder called apps–> paper desk. Excellent! That worked fine.

What happens when you edit the same document on your iPad? Does it replace the dropbox copy?

I went back and modified my document, and then tried again. The dropbox copy does indeed replace the new version with the old version, but, and this is a BIG GLITCH, it only uploads the first page of the notebook.

This is a problem. Third glitch.

I just tried to upload the second page of notes and still it only turns the first page into a PDF.

Correct me if I am wrong, but if you are taking notes in a class, chances are you are going to  have more to say than an iPad size page. And to ask people to upload one notebook several times seems ludicrous.

I tried uploading it to google docs (which does not work well on the iPad anyway, and it does the same thing: PDF. One page.

However, you can get all four pages when you email the notebook to yourself.

So why use paper desk instead of other note taking apps?

Hmmm. It does allow you to add voice recording:

What is the use of having a notebook app on the iPad win the uploading function is dysfunctional and there is no possibility of collaboration (i.e., several people being able to work on the same document) is non-existent. It is true that compared to Pages you add audio and sync to dropbox, which would be a nice function if it worked properly. All the other stuff that does work is, in my opinion, bells and whistles. If I wanted to record over my notes, I would want my noted and the recording to be one package not separately uploaded. If I wanted PDFs of my notes, I can just use Pages. It also allows you to import pdfs from different apps, but they remain pdfs so you cannot edit them. Unless you are just trying to gather all you information on one area, this is not so helpful.


It has a nice, simple interface. Most of its functions are intuitive. If paper desk fixed the glitches mentioned above it could be a nice solution for students. Otherwise I don’t see the point.


































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































Lessons Learned: Always Read the Fine Print

Which sounds more ominous than it actually is. Although this mistake can have more disastrous consequences than what I experienced today (Like giving Facebook the permission to own all your information. Just sayin’) it did waste a lot of time. And, as I am sure is the case with you, that is the one thing I do not have to waste.

This story begins with reading this article about how the app Paperdesk is the bomb for education.

Really? I thought to myself. How interesting. I should check it out. At the bottom of the article, was a link to a site entitled freemyapps, which would allow me to try out paper desk for free.

Excellent! I quickly went to the site, downloaded the app and tapped on the paper desk icon.

Oh! First glitch. I needed 640 credits to download the app. How does one get credits, you ask? Why, by downloading the sponsor apps, which all have a certain number of points attached to them. In order to redeem the points, all you have to do is download the app and keep it open for thirty seconds. Okay, I thought to myself. That is worth not paying $3.99.

In all I had to download 6 apps: Mobil, Klip, Stitcher, itriage, Hotel Tonight, Pirates (getting desperate)

Some were terrible:

Ugh. So did not need to know this. Ultra-conservative propagandist tabloid crap anyone?


Mobil and Klip seemed to be for young ladies who want to make inappropriate social media choices:



Some were good, like Stitcher, which is like an RSS feed for all of the radio stations and podcasts you listen to:


And triage was downright hypochondriac-making:

The Pirates of the Caribbean game was stupid and I didn’t understand the purpose at all.

Finally, I got my credits, and hurried to the gifts tab to download the app I really wanted. Tapped the little install button, it took me to the app store and I am just about to redeem my coupon when a little pop up message appears telling me this deal is only available to people in the U.S.

This is the Mutant enemy logo, the Joss Whedon?  Buffy people, just in case you don't know. It also represents how I feel most of the time.

Sigh. After I threw myself on the floor, beating my hands and fists, I went back to the app store and download the lite version of the app.

And yes, I can see how it would be useful. Each class could have a folder, and each notebook could represent the notes for a specific lecture:

You can add audio and images to your notes as well as customize it, and use a stylus.

You can also send it to  yourself via email, dropbox, googles docs,etc.:

You can also add tasks to your folders:

According to the app store, the difference between the lite version and the full version, is that in the lite version your notebooks can only contain 3 pages. Still- pretty useful!


NOTES: How to delete the automatic mailing

I went to the lunch room today at around 2 pm, hungry and grumpier than usual. So when the very friendly French Drama teacher said he had a challenge for me, I’m afraid I wasn’t very gracious.

He asked me if I knew how to stop the Notes app (built-in to your ipad) from emailing a version to his inbox every time he edited it.

I said, “Just don’t use it.”

Ha ha ha.

I want to publicly apologise to said French Dramatical teacher for being so flip. I am usually much more cheerful about challenges, really. It’s just that there have been a lot of them lately and I hadn’t had my lunch yet.

So. Tomorrow’s post is happening today.

Here is how to disable the function that rivals auto-correction for the hellishly annoying thing about the ipad prize.

But don’t worry – it is totally fixable.

Go to settings–> mail, contacts, calendars –> Gmail

Turn Notes off.

I know. Duh, right? I should have done that long ago. Except watch out- when I turned mine off, I lost all of the different Note pages I had gathered up to that point, so make sure you have copies of anything important.

Then, when you are ready to email or print your notes, just tap the arrow at the bottom of the page and email the finished version to yourself.

C’est tout. Tout fini. La fin.