What might best practices of note-taking in teaching tell us about general strategies for organizing notes? Alena, the rock star of Outline tech support, is back on air, to share her real-life experience on the matter. Here is a spoiler:
Note-taking is not just a method to record some information, it’s one of the most useful skills in studying and everyday life. It helps to understand and memorize material more easily and avoid wasting time, focus on important details and express yourself in any form you like by sketch, scheme or mind map. It also allows to structure things in an easy-to-understand from and quickly remember them when required.
Most people can drag out information from their memory more easily if they were taken notes during a lecture, business meeting or when just keeping a diary. A strong case for this practice is that taking notes incentives recollection and mental imagery of once heard and seen information. Human’s memory is as good as the memory of a machine, and you just need to learn how to effectively remember details which are stored in your mind. Here are universal tips about how to take notes properly:
- If you are familiar with the subject of conversation or lecture, outline a preliminary plan and list of key questions, prepare a free space in your notebook. Try to prepare in advance as many things as you can, so you could significantly save your time before you start taking notes and tune in to the right wave-length.
- Do not try to write all that speaker says or re-write whole text from some source. Make a framework from notes which can be supplemented with minor information further. Just skip some space to allow you to fill in more details later.
- Use a separate notebook for each subject and don’t forget to structure information by dividing text on paragraphs and sub-paragraphs, using numbered and bulleted lists, tables, and titles. Notes organized in a logical way are always more convenient than straight text.
- Develop your own system of abbreviations. By using abbreviations, you will speed up your note-taking and cover a bigger amount of information. Save abbreviation expansion to be sure you will not forget their meanings.
- Paraphrase! It’s simpler to read and put information into memory in your own thoughts than somebody’s.
- Review your notes after you finished writing them and add your comments, ideas and things-to-do while heard information is still fresh in your memory. Summarize and write what you think were the main points and what questions still remain opened.
- Use colors, outlines or tags to star key points, but be careful not to overdo your text with highlighting.
- Try all note-taking techniques from Cornell method to mind-mapping and charting to identify which one suits you better. Don’t be afraid to combine methods and experiment with your creativity.
Note-taking is an essential method that is commonly used in a daily life, studying, teaching and in many other professions. In all cases, these advices will help you to improve your note-taking skills and Outline app will become an ideal digital helper to collect, sort and structure notes and thereby make your life easier.
In the past, an overachieving student would manually scribble in a notebook when jotting down important notes while listening to class discussions. But, with the advent of tablets and note-taking applications these days, the traditional paper-and-pen technique is being replaced by a digital method. Instead of heavy textbooks and notebooks, we are now presented with portable mobile devices like the very popular iPad loads with built-in and installed apps such as e-book reader, Notes and Calendar organizer. Apart from making their bags lighter, we’ll present to you how a simple note taking application can bring out the A+ student in your children.
Intelligent Storage and File Retrieval via Cloud
One of the best features of a digital organizer is the convenience of file back-up and retrieval system. For instance, the Outline +, provides a virtual notebook where students can create numerous journals for each subject that they are taking. As soon as they update the notebook with a new entry, it’s automatically backed up to cloud storages such as SkyDrive, Dropbox and Box (SharePoint support coming in the next update). This feature gives students the flexibility to choose on which platform they are going to retrieve the said file for studying. Should they use their desktop PC (OneNote client) iPad or Mac with Outline installed. They can freely locate their data anywhere they go.
Organized Files: Personal and School
Apart from lessening the burden of carrying a heavy set of notebooks, a digital note-taking application also promotes file organization. They need to separate lectures, homework assignments and library researches. While a loose leaf notebook and a bookmark are the most established solutions, note apps offer a smart way to sequence the lessons according to subjects, hierarchy of needs or chronological order. Each time a category is added (for ex. AP Literature), a notebook is automatically created with a customizable cover and a dedicated tab. It provides three ways to browse your notes: in-app keyword searching, library view or tab switching.
Unlike the school stuff, with the note-taking app you don’t have to worry about an unorganized file.
More than Just Text
Using Outline for studies is much like providing them with an opportunity to create a digital scrapbook of their lessons: students can attach images, maps or spreadsheets and highlight most prominent ideas.
Since modern devices are now equipped with high resolution cameras, students can just snap a photo of the class board instead of writing down notes. With this application on their iPad, they can just insert this photo and review it anytime.
Instant Sharing with Study Peers or Tutors
Apart from jotting down notes and keeping pertinent files in class, note-taking applications also have the ability to send data across other users such as your study buddy or your tutor through email or Bluetooth connection. Outline even offers a special feature of converting the virtual notes into a PDF file. If the student still prefers a hard copy over digital, you can easily send this information across a wireless printer. No need for a USB flashdrive, just send the file across from your device to the printer.
Based from these scenarios, a student who organizes their notes well are more likely to achieve academic excellence, since their mind is less likely to be cluttered. However, it needs a powerful tool such as a note-taking application in order to fully enhance their potential in organizing their ideas, thoughts and, of course, their daily lessons. All of these plus a dedicated student, you’ll build an A+ student in no time.
About the Author: Allie Cooper is a tech enthusiast who loves writing about newly released gadgets like the iPhone 5 on O2, social media updates and trending apps. Her free time is taken up exploring her passion for playing piano and old films. Follow her on Twitter.