Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Note Taking in a Blended Environment

As many teachers move toward student directed learning many begin substituting classroom lectures for video.  This allows students to move through class material at their own pace and review material on an as needed basis.  There are a few apps and online web applications that make iPad note-taking in this environment a little easier to accomplish.  The trick is to find browsers that allow for multiple windows on one screen.

Side by Side (free) is a multiple-window reader/browser with offline reading and note taking capabilities. It turns the iPad into multiple resizable reading devices working in parallel.  You can browse webpages, download files, read documents, or take notes on each split screen.  Watch the video on one side of the screen, take notes on the other.  There is a pro version for side by side available for $1.99 but the free version works just fine for this task.

sling Note ($2.99) is another app that pairs a web browser and a notepad or a calculator and a notepad side by side.  Again, you can watch the video on one side of the screen and take notes on the other side.
What I like about slingNote is that you drag and drop objects from one side to the other, a nice feature for note taking from a website.  You can also insert text boxes and use a stylis with ease on the note taking side of the page.  slingNote integrates with Dropbox nicely and allows for opening of the notes in other applications.

VideoNotes is a neat new web based tool for taking notes while watching YouTube videos. VideoNotes allows you to load any YouTube video on the left side of your screen and on the right side of the screen VideoNotes gives you a notepad to type on.  It's a little buggy on the iPad due to VideoNotes being web-based, at least for now.

The caveat of course is that once students are aware of side by side browsing they can use the app for any task, including online testing.  This creates a pressing issue for teachers to redesign test questions that can't be answered by using Google.

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