We all remember scribbling down important words as the professor delivered a lecture. Ever wondered if the professors also take down notes before teaching? As a matter of fact, they do. Note-taking is just as a necessary activity for educators as it is for the learners.
Educators need to take notes to ensure that the entire course material is well covered. It helps them select the key points they need to emphasize and also quickly highlight the source of the information when needed. Studies have shown that if a summary of learning material is ready, it assists in delivering a smooth teaching session. Unfortunately, note-taking is often an underestimated process. Selecting key points and getting them ready in an easy-to-deliver fashion requires sincere effort. The quality of notes, quantity (yes, some educators do confuse writing down an entire page as “summary”), format, are a few of the areas that demand a thorough thought before one gets into note-taking. Let us look at the best practices for educators to take notes.
Pointers on Taking Notes
Make a hierarchy of ideas – Poorly organized ideas can be confusing when teaching. Before the lecture, it would be a good idea to familiarize yourself with the topic and the materials required. Remember, your own engagement will reflect in the learners’ active participation.
Recognize important cues – Be selective and highlight the points which need to be elaborated beyond the written text. Think if any of those need a quick visual illustration or a sketch and prepare one accordingly. The goal here is to help the learners identify and capture the important ideas and later on be able to express those in the evaluation or assessments.
Review before and after class – Go through your key ideas for a couple of minutes and apply a framework to your thought process. This will give you time to review the quality and quantity of the notes. You can tie new concepts and ideas to the points, and rewrite for better organization and legibility.
Provide a lecture framework – It would be a good idea to provide some form of guided or skeletal notes to the students. Of course, there needs to be a balance between how much ready-made content to give to the students, but a simple outline with some room for the learners to develop their own notes should suffice. This is particularly helpful to keep the topic understanding in sync between the educator and the learner.
The Cornell note-taking method – there are several techniques (some scientifically developed; others individually devised) for taking out lecture notes. One such that has proved its worth is the Cornell Note Taking. It was developed by Prof. Walter Pauk of Cornell University in the 1950s and focuses on taking, organizing, and reviewing notes. You can read more about it here. What makes it special though is that it encourages you to reflect on your notes by making you ask yourself questions – works well with learners as well as educators!
The Right Way to Do It
Here’s the good thing that comes with technology – handy tools for quality notes. There are a couple of those available, either paid or free of cost, depending on the features you decide to choose. For instance, there’s
- Scriblink – This is an online whiteboard that lets you draw or write on a digital canvas. It opens in your web browser, comes with a simple toolbox, and has a built-in conference system so you can add participants and share the whiteboard or save your work for future references.
- Padlet – With this one, you can copy-paste or drag and drop images and text pieces from other web pages.
While these (and more like these) are mostly tools for documenting and sharing content, they don’t necessarily help in creating notes from scratch and automatically. If that is your concern, you will need to check Quillionz Test – the world’s first AI-powered teaching assistant. Quillionz Test works as a summary generator and creates editable notes from the content you key in/paste, using its AI capabilities. Imagine writing a summary of an article within seconds! Users prefer calling it summary notes or precis and vouch for it as the best app for making notes. In fact, one of the most loved features of Quillionz Test is its ability to highlight key portions of the text and summarizing the main points, as this is hugely helpful in reinforcing the core concepts.
What are your tips, as an educator, to take high-quality notes? How do you summarize the text? You can write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave your comments below.