Note Taking in Classrooms - Not Limited to Just Those With a Sensory o
Dec 8, 2017 Study Skills 1824 Views
Note taking can be distracting at the best of times. Listening to the teacher or lecturer and trying to concentrate and understand what he is saying is difficult enough. Then trying to scribble down copious notes which you then can't decipher afterwards just compounds the problem.
If the subject matter is partly visual - maybe some complex formulas on a whiteboard or a scientific experiment which cannot be drawn easily, then the task of writing down and visualizing the session is double difficult.
If you have some form of sensory disability or learning difficulty then the challenge just got even harder. Then there are the foreign language students who come from Asia to study in the UK. A Glaswegian or Tyne side accent may be quite difficult for them to understand and quite unlike the English that they have been taught in their home country. So for them the challenge of comprehension and note taking is similar.
For the last twenty years students with a specific learning disability have been given a voice recorder, or Dictaphone and a directional microphone to enable them to record the class or lecture without having to write notes at the same time. This frees the student to listen to the teacher or lecturer and really understand the content.
The student can then play back the recording in the privacy of their own study or bedroom and start to make notes in their own time which make sense.
With the advent of Digital Voice Recorders (DVRs) there are now a small number of software providers who have written PC programs to use these recordings and augment them with photographs, PowerPoint presentations and PDFs so that the student has a complete audio-visual record of what happened in the lecture.
The DVR is an extra piece of equipment for the student to remember and it often gets left behind.
Since 2013 it has been trialling voice-recording Apps for smartphones with a cable connector and microphone used with DVRs. It provides a similar solution to the DVR with the ability to Audio Bookmark tag the voice recording at key points in the lecture or class. The student can then fast forward to these bookmarks on playback.
However, until 2015 one major drawback for smartphones was the amount of memory available for storing voice recordings alongside photos, images and all the space required for Apps and personal data. Now most smartphones come equipped with 64 to 128 GB of data storage - almost 10 times that available two years ago.
Some very advanced note taking Apps for Android and Apple devices have been launched in 2015. These apps come with unlimited audio bookmarking and photographs which are stored with the recording for later upload to a software program for Mac and Windows PCs which can be used to playback recordings, edit the bookmarks and images, add PowerPoint presentations and then write detailed text notes for later study or revision.
Since nearly all of us have a smartphone or tablet it would seem sensible to use this solution not just in classroom and lecture hall, but for business meetings, training sessions, workplace discussions and many other arenas where it is important for us to participate in the meeting or be free to concentrate on the speaker's presentation. Making a bookmark takes far less time than scribbling down illegible notes. Even if you don't bookmark using the App, you can still add bookmarks on a subsequent playback of the recording.