Digital Notetaking to Stimulate Their Minds

Included in the Digital Ideas Advent Calendar with a new idea each day!

I am not a teacher, but an awakener. – Robert Frost

Many students take notes, because the teacher requires it, but many do not know how to take notes effectively. Students also don’t know how to preserve paper notes well. The ink gets smeared, the paper gets tattered, and their isn’t a quick and easy way to categorize or search paper notes. With digital tools and apps, students can create beautifully illustrated notes that support their cognitive development and stimulate their minds. The right tools and apps make research quick, engaging, and interactive by allowing students to bookmark, curate, tag, categorize, and annotate. One of the reflection activities in my new book, The 30 Goals Challenge for Teachers, is to visually map an idea. Visual mapping, or sketch noting, is similar to mindmapping/concept mapping. At the center of these notes students highlight a concept then draw branches that provide information about the concept. Students do not have to be artists. Instead, they are encouraged to be creative and allow their minds to explore the concept through different branches. With digital tools and apps, students can choose the font, color, or background. They can include stickers, images, links, videos, drawings, and documents. My students are required to include research (links, videos, etc.) and examples of how the concept impacts them. They can keep these notes in the cloud so they can access them anywhere or on the go and they can also share them with others or create notes collaboratively with their peers. See examples in the slide share below and find the resources, web tools, and apps in the bookmarks at the end of this post.

Free Brainstorming Apps

Below are some great apps and tools for digital note-taking. Keep scrolling to find the bookmarks with the rest of the  resources.

  • Linoit web/iOS/Android App- Online sticky note board. Include links, images, video, and audio as well as change the size and color of your fonts. Has various background options and other attractive options. It’s embeddable as well. More stable than Padlet.
  • Padlet web/iOS/Android- Online sticky note board with beautiful templates and backgrounds.  Include links, images, video, text (160 characters) and audio as well as change the size and color of your fonts. Has various background options and other attractive options. It’s embeddable as well. Drag and drop files. Print as pdf and offline.
  • Popplet web/iOS App- The browser tool provides collaborative mindmapping. Students can support text with images from Flickr or Youtube videos. They can upload their own images or draw on their iPads. Embeddable.
  • Google Drive for all devices- I can document all events offline and it automatically updates when I get an Internet connection. Integrate with apps to do more. Test out the Research tool that shows students different resources with the MLA, APA, or Chicago citation.
  • Evernote web/iOS/Android- take notes, draw, add audio and tag, categorize, and search your notes. Use the app offline and it will update the notes when you get an Internet connection. With Postach.io you can automatically publish the notes you add to a specified folder as a blog.
  • Skitch iOS- annotate images and websites with capturing and doodle and text tools.
  • Diigo web/iOS/Android- bookmark, categorize, join groups, bookmark on other social networks using hashtags, annotate websites, add sticky notes and highlight text.
  • Lucid Chart web/iPad app- Collaborate with others and create flow charts, concept maps, and more. Drag and drop options. Add text. Send as a pdf or image.
  • Inkflow iOS app- Sketch & write ideas then move them around and organize them.
  • PenUltimate iPad app- Draw & write on notebook paper on your iPad. The writing becomes searchable, stored, and categorized with Evernote.
  • EduCreations web/iPad app- Interactive whiteboard and screen recording app. Ability to include images taken and from the web and narrate with audio. Create a 9 minute video that can be edited and embedded. Students can record their note-taking to playback later in case they want to revisit ideas they voiced.

Challenge:

Get students to create visual notes for a test or essay.

If you enjoyed these ideas, you may want to get your copy of The 30 Goals for Teachers or my $5.99 ebook, Learning to Go, which has digital/mobile activities for any device and editable/printable handouts and rubrics. Subscribe for FREE to receive regular updates!

Bookmarks
Notetaking, by shellyterrell
Included in the Digital Ideas Advent Calendar! Scroll the image below and each day discover free web tools, apps, and resources.

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Use Humor to Inspire Learning

Included in the Digital Ideas Advent Calendar with a new idea each day!

I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living. – Dr. Seuss

Often, you will see me include pictures of my pug in my webinars, keynotes, or profile pictures. I had few people question if this is professional. When I conduct classes- online and offline- I am more concerned with building relationships with my students and getting them to warm up to me. I find that laughter helps students get to know me and relaxes them when heavy duty learning that is stressful is involved. My classes are challenging and I require a lot of effort but I also need my students to be open to the content and motivated to learn. Humor also has helped ease my stress. It’s always a great teaching day when I get to laugh with my students. Recently, I published an article in the GO Teach magazine, LOL! Teacher! Using Humor to Enhance Student Learning. Click the link for a free digital version of the article. Below, find a slide presentation you can download with ideas included in the article, such as introducing a subject with jokes, using memes, choosing humorous content and more! Scroll to find a list of humorous apps for learning.

Favorite Apps and Web Tools

Challenge:

Create a great learning atmosphere or interrupt the monotony by using humor effectively.

If you enjoyed these ideas, you may want to get your copy of The 30 Goals for Teachers or my $5.99 ebook, Learning to Go, which has digital/mobile activities for any device and editable/printable handouts and rubrics. Subscribe for FREE to receive regular updates!

Bookmarks
Humor & Learning, by shellyterrell
Included in the Digital Ideas Advent Calendar! Scroll the image below and each day discover free web tools, apps, and resources.

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Spice Up That Lecture! 20+ Ideas & Resources

Included in the Digital Ideas Advent Calendar with a new idea each day!

Undergraduate students taught by lectures are 1.5 times more likely to fail than those involved in active learning. – Bajak, A. (2014)

In my new book, The 30 Goals Challenge for Teachers, I talk about how even the best lectures aren’t fair for the majority of students in our classes. They simply aren’t brain-friendly if the lectures are over 10 minutes and students are not actively involved either by taking notes, using a backchannel, etc. It’s actually natural for us to want to share what we learned the last 4 or more years in college with our new audience of learner, especially if we are inspired. I’ve lectured before and felt I inspired people. However, I’ve been trying to make even my keynotes and presentations more interactive with demonstrations, backchanneling, and a few activities. The idea is to change things up at least every 10 minutes so that you can awaken your learners’ brains. My art history teacher was a master at this. She’d throw in a funny image to make us laugh, then we’d move on. Try any of the ideas listed below to spice up your lectures and if you find them interesting then share them with your colleagues who lecture. Feel free to download the slide presentation below with ideas, examples, resources, and web tools. Keep scrolling to find the bookmarks with free apps, tools, and ideas.

Ideas

Find the presentation ideas listed below:

Challenge: Use one of these ideas or resources to spice up your lecture!

If you enjoyed these ideas, you may want to get your copy of The 30 Goals for Teachers or my $5.99 ebook, Learning to Go, which has digital/mobile activities for any device and editable/printable handouts and rubrics. Subscribe for FREE to receive regular updates!

Bookmarks

Included in the Digital Ideas Advent Calendar! Scroll the image below and each day discover free web tools, apps, and resources.

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Newsworthy! Learning as Reporters & Journalists

Included in the Digital Ideas Advent Calendar with a new idea each day!

Put it before them briefly so they will read it, clearly so they will appreciate it, picturesquely so they will remember it and, above all, accurately so they will be guided by its light. – Joseph Pulitzer

The best kind of learning motivates you to question, explore, make it your own, then pass it on. I’m not interested in my students coming to specific conclusions or answers. I’m more interested in them taking what they learn and applying it to their lives. This way I know they will continue using that knowledge. That’s why I love when teachers get students to act as reporters and regularly produce podcasts, vodcasts, ezines, digital newspapers, or radio shows. Every subject has their own news sites, journals, or podcasts with examples students can replicate. Students learn to write for an audience and the responsibility of providing accurate and succinct information. In my book, Learning to Go, I include a lesson plan, rubric, script template, and handouts for reporting the news. Feel free to download the slide presentation below with ideas, examples, resources, and web tools. Keep scrolling to find the bookmarks with free apps, tools, and ideas.

Important Points

  • You can decide to produce the news in whichever digital form you find easiest and you can also choose to publish this weekly, monthly, or quarterly.
  • Depending on the format, the process may include giving students time to collaborate, designate roles and responsibilities (taking photos, proofing, etc.), brainstorm, research, script and plan it if aired, record it, edit, and publish.
  • I find it helpful to have students evaluate newscasts from famous broadcasters such as Walter Cronkite or Barbara Walters. Find audio clips and bios of famous broadcasters here, http://otr.com/news.html
  • Teach students how to conduct digital research, which involves social bookmarking, curation, citing resources,  note-taking, etc. You’ll find this visual map of the process helpful, http://kyvl.org/kids/homebase.html
  • I recommend these tools for digital research- Google Drive, Evernote, Postach.io, PearlTrees, Storify, Educlipper, and Diigo.
  • Storycorps.org is a great site for teaching students how to interview.

Challenge: Get students to report the news around them regularly or as a project for a unit.

If you enjoyed these ideas, you may want to get your copy of The 30 Goals for Teachers or my $5.99 ebook, Learning to Go, which has digital/mobile activities for any device and editable/printable handouts and rubrics. Subscribe for FREE to receive regular updates!

Bookmarks

Included in the Digital Ideas Advent Calendar! Scroll the image below and each day discover free web tools, apps, and resources.

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Creating Digital Books to Help Others: 20+ Apps, Tools & Ideas

Included in the Digital Ideas Advent Calendar with a new idea each day!

During one of my teaching internships, my mentor had us create books we read to children from the Boys and Girls Club. I still have my construction paper book with my poor drawings. My artistic abilities didn’t matter to the kids who were just excited to have someone spend time with them. Our learners have the power to greatly impact others with their creations. This holiday season we can get them to create digital books that help others. Fortunately, several free web tools and apps help students quickly and easily create and publish digital books. Keep scrolling to access my bookmarks of free web tools and apps for creating digital books on any device. I’ve included some ideas below and a slide presentation with tips and resources to get students creating digital books that help those around them while learning. If you enjoy these ideas, you may want to join the free 5 week session, eTextbook Teachers, where over 500 teachers support each other in creating digital textbooks.

Cookbooks

Students can learn math, science and literature while helping feed others by creating cookbooks. I recommend using BookCreator, Issuu, Slipp.It, or Google Docs. Enhance the cookbooks by getting students to include short how to videos, images, or audio clips of interviews explaining the science, history, traditions or origins of the recipe.

  • Our family recipes and traditions cookbook- create a class cookbook in which students share a traditional recipe and include information about the traditions and origins of the dish. Students can interview family members to discover the history behind the dish and the traditions surrounding it.
  • Special diet cookbook-  students can work in pairs to create cookbooks for those with different allergies who require special diets or for vegans and vegetarians.
  • Science experiments you can eat- students can learn the science behind making homemade ice cream, taffy, or fizzy potions. Check out these bookmarks for ideas.

More Book Ideas

You can choose to publish these books and offer them to the public for free or ask for donations to support a charity or get something important for your class or school.

  • Digital scrapbook- students can take their paper scrapbooks and transform them into digital scrapbooks so that they preserve these family memories for life.
  • Nature book- students work with the local park or campsites to document the plants, animal life, bugs, birds, and other species that visitors will be able to see. Students add important resources and information like maps, diagrams, images, important facts, and more. Many local parks have these documented on paper and could benefit from having a digital book that encourages people to spend time outdoors visiting the park.
  • Books to help local museums or charities
  • Goal journals- students can work in pairs or small groups to create journals for specific goals like a runner’s journal or study journal. They leave entries for each day of the year for people to record their progress and reflect. Each entry can include songs, quotes, anecdotes, famous people, interviews, Ted Talks, and other motivational resources.
  • Learning books for younger relatives or for a class of young learners- your students can create books that teach children the alphabet, animals, to be better citizens, or are full of jokes related to science, math, history, or grammar. Students can visit the class and read them their digital books.
  • A book starring their younger siblings as superheroes or having an adventure.

Challenge:
Get your students to create a digital book that helps someone in a meaningful way.

If you enjoyed these ideas, you may want to get your copy of The 30 Goals for Teachers or my $5.99 ebook, Learning to Go, which has digital/mobile activities for any device and editable/printable handouts and rubrics. Subscribe for FREE to receive regular updates!

Book Creation Web Tools & Apps

Included in the Digital Ideas Advent Calendar! Scroll the image below and each day discover free web tools, apps, and resources.

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