Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Note-Taking Conference at Harvard

take note harvard conference - coofluence eLearning courses content blogHarvard’s Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Study recently had a conference on note taking. Simple as it may sound, note-taking is an important academic exercise in condensing and revising knowledge. We have all sat in a class and taken notes as memory aids or information recording aids.

In eLearning tools, note-taking is either ignored or crudely built. There are some honorable exceptions. Udemy.com is one platform where a tabbed screen gives about 1/3rd the screen space to note taking parallel to the main video. Note-taking features in eLearning courses will have to be “smooth” and not one with a simple text-entry box that deletes and zaps text when some wrong keys are pressed in the state-less HTML world. Most HTML text editing gets fits at mention of “rich” text. Image embedding is unknown to most HTML text-boxes. You have to upload an image, probably resized earlier, convert it to JPEG or GIF format, etc., all before simply embedding it in the document. All the hype about HTML5 and browser heaven still falls short of a true paper experience. Paper is seamless regarding text, images, doodles or any marks. This seamlessness will probably appear in an iPad 10 release. In short, much ado about just a simply making a little note.

Compare this to a humble notepad. You can draw anywhere on the page in any language or font or no language. And everything is “auto-save”! Sometimes ancient tech is better then fancy modern stuff. Paper will remain a useful devices for decades if not centuries due to its ease of use if nothing else. eLearning and web has to raise it’s game to making images a first-class citizen with text equivalent rights. Note taking with touch or pen should be an integrated as simply as typed text. We are years away from that to be become a reality.

Notes:

1. http://www.radcliffe.harvard.edu/event/2012-take-note-conference 

2. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/07/books/note-taking-seminars-at-radcliffe-institute-for-advanced-study.html?pagewanted=all 

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