‘Notetaking’ should actually be thought as ‘note creating’ or 'note making'. This is because good notes are unique creations that represent your thinking, learning, understanding and questioning – all of which are active processes. In contrast, ‘taking notes’ that represent exactly what you have heard or have read are actually poor for learning. While they are great for capturing an experience (like a lecture), they are actually poor notes for learning as they are developed passively and this does not require much thought.
If you currently use the traditional pen and paper method for creating notes, then you might like to consider the powerful benefits of using digital devices for note-taking:
- Audio recording: The more popular note-taking apps allow users to playback their notes, which is a great tool if you prefer to learn audibly. Additionally, you can record sound bites from your lectures, or even an entire lecture, as a backup to your note-taking. Some allow you to simultaneously take notes which sync with the audio recording - so you can replay sections of the lecture when reviewing your notes.
- Simplified sharing:If you are involved in group work then digital notetaking simplifies the sharing process and means you can’t lose shared material. Notes can be shared with the click of a button, and as long as they are saved or backed up it’s pretty difficult to lose them.
- Search functionality:An obvious reason for you to take notes is so that you can go back and review them later. But sometimes flipping through pages of notes to find one piece of information can be frustrating. Many note-taking apps offer search functionality where you can search for keywords and phrases to quickly find information. Some note-taking apps even allow you to search your handwriting.
Microsoft OneNote gathers users’ notes (handwritten or typed), drawings, screen clippings and audio commentaries. Notes can be shared with other OneNote users over the Internet or a network. OneNote is available as a part of the Microsoft Office suite. It is also available as a free stand-alone application for Windows, Mac, Windows Phone, iOS, and Android. A web-based version of OneNote is provided as part of OneDrive or Office Online and enables users to edit notes via a web browser.
OneNote is available for free to all Swansea University students through Office 365.
Glean allows you to record your lectures and meetings, linking slides with the relevant captured audio, whilst highlighting key information with and brief written annotations. This will allow you to stay focused and actively engage in the session, with the peace of mind that you can easily return to the important parts after the session when you re-visit your notes.
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This provides an alternative way to make notes, by creating a mind map you can create a visual representation of your ideas allowing you to tie together key concepts, showing relationships and hierarchies in your ideas. You can access a 30 day free trial through the Mindview website.
This content is drawn from the following source from Hull University, which is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.