NoteSake: Taking Notes in Class Goes Web2.0

<oldGeezerVoice:on>Back in my day, we had to take notes offline. If we wanted to share them with other people, we had to put them in an email or on a flash drive, and then hope that it didn’t get lost in the process. That was the way that it was, and we liked it. We had to buy expensive programs like Microsoft Office just to get something else other than basic text typing. Sure – there was OpenOffice, but no one was brave enough to go open source. And if Office crashed on us, and couldn’t recover our notes – we had to re-type all of them. And we liked it.<oldGeezerVoice:off>

Hard to believe, but the cutting edge way we used to take notes just five years ago is becoming a thing of the past. Take NoteSake for example: a site designed specifically for college students, so that they can take notes online, organize those notes, work as groups, or even share notes with others.

Of course, you will need to be in a classroom that allows notebook computers and has wireless access. Many schools are getting set up this way, but there are always those fussy professors that have a problem with students bringing notebooks to class.

The pros about NoteSake are the organization and the sharing. You organize with tags, just like at other Web2.0 sites. So, create tags for each class, or even each unit in each class, and find your notes fast. Work in groups easily, or share notes with other students that might have been sick.

I also like that you can download notes as PDF or Word docs. I would probably do that on a daily basis, just for security. Websites do crash from time to time after all.

Also, with direction that the iPhone is taking mobile web access, sites like this will take mobile learning to a whole new level. Even though typing notes on an iPhone might prove difficult, someday someone will come up with the perfect solution for that, and students of the future will only need to come to class with a cell phone. Amazing.

The downside is that this is a stand-alone site. What would make it killer would be to add organizational tools like a calendar. Or, if someone like Google would buy this site and integrate it into their services… or even if Moodle would integrate with this – that would be killer.

Matt Crosslin
Matt is currently the Learning Innovation Coordinator with the UT Arlington LINK Research Lab. His research focuses on Learning Theory, Innovation, and learner empowerment. Matt holds a Ph.D. in Learning Technologies from the University of North Texas, a Master of Education in Educational Technology from UT Brownsville, and a Bachelors of Science in Education from Baylor University. His research interests include instructional design, learning pathways, sociocultural theory, heutagogy, virtual reality, and open networked learning. He has a background in instructional design and teaching at both the secondary and university levels and has been an active blogger and conference presenter. He also enjoys networking and collaborative efforts involving faculty, students, administration, and anyone involved in the education process.

7 thoughts on “NoteSake: Taking Notes in Class Goes Web2.0

  1. Erin Jennings

    I love this idea. Being able to access my class notes from anywhere (without having to drag my notebook with me) will be great. I also like that you can download your notes as PDF or Word documents.

    The only gripe that I have with the current version is the lack of an ‘insert image’ feature. If you want to put a diagram into your notes, you have to upload it to an image sharing site and use HTML to insert it, rather than simply grabbing the file from your computer. As a visual learner, I make a lot of diagrams, so this is a feature that I would find useful. Hopefully they’ll add it in a future update. (Or Google could buy the site and tie it to Flickr. That would work, too.)

    Very cool, Matt. Thanks for sharing!
    PS: A Laser keyboard might be a solution for your notes-on-an-iPod woes. They are already available for the Blackberry:

  2. Matt Crosslin

    Yeah – adding images would be great – or even adding a web-based diagram drawing tool that allowed upload of photographic images would be sweet.

    I wonder if that laser keyboard ever malfunctions and cuts off people’s fingers? :) j/k – looks cool.

  3. Erin Jennings

    A web-based drawing tool would be great. Even something as simple as the graffiti wall application on Facebook would allow you to quickly create visuals — and you wouldn’t have to use other programs to create and upload them. I’m not sure how you could create drawings on the iPhone, especially since there’s no stylus…

  4. Matt Crosslin

    Drat – I should have checked Zoho before writing this – they always have a better tool option available already! Zoho Notebook allows you to upload images, as well as upload audio, or – get this – record audio directly into your notes through your browser! They have the same collaboration options, too.

  5. Erin Jennings

    You’re right, Matt: Zoho Notebook is much better. The interface is more user-friendly, and the additional functionality (images, audio, video) makes it much more useful.

    I also appreciate being able to create a single account to access all of Zoho’s products.

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