Archive for August 23, 2017

How to take notes & stay engaged

From Natalie C., Reference & Digital Resources Librarian

Recent studies on note-taking (The Pen is Mightier than the Keyboard, Effect of Computer Usage on Academic Performance) have suggested that handwritten notes are superior to notes taken digitally.

Whenever I heard about these studies, I kind of smiled to myself smugly — I always preferred taking my notes by hand, and even when computers became more prominent in my classes, I still stuck with my pen and notepad.

However, after reading a recent blog post on Mind/Shift I may be convinced to reevaluate the merits of digital note-taking tools. Beth Holland argues that educators should be less focused on the method by which students are taking notes and instead work on ensuring that students are using their notes, not to copy information verbatim, but rather to make key connections.

She believes that in note-taking, focus should be shifted from the “what” to the “how.” She also explains how digital tools can increase engagement in classroom material, allowing students to tag notes based on content or theme, as well as quickly search through notes to make connections between lectures and classes.

Holland includes links to some key strategies & tools for teaching about engaged note-taking including Visible Thinking from Harvard’s Project Zero which provides tools to support inquiry and develop students’ thinking.

I highly suggest you check out the full blog post. It’s a really interesting read.

There are also additional resources to support note-taking on the Virtual Library:

  • Check out the Inquiry section of the Virtual Library. Our Inquiry guide, Research Success has handouts to help students learn about note-taking (see pp. 33-34)
  • Mindomo is an OSAPAC licensed resource that allows students to create and collaborate on mind maps. Just create an account using your TDSB email address


August 23, 2017 at 10:51 am Leave a comment

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