Content Tech: Summarizing and Note Taking

Content Tech
Ideas for Technology Use in the Classroom

In an ongoing look at the book, Using Technology With Classroom Instruction That Works, the next strategy for improving instruction is summarizing and note taking. As adults and educators, these techniques have become second nature to what we do. Students who are not used to pulling important information from reading and instruction need help in order to succeed.

Of the technology tools discussed in this chapter (word processing applications, organizing and brainstorming software, multimedia, web resources and communication software), I’m going to focus on organizing and brainstorming software. More specifically, we’ll look at how Inspiration can be used as a tool to help with summarizing and taking notes.

Marzano’s research on summarizing recomments using summary frames as a key way to help students summarize. Inspiration includes many templates that can help in this task, whether in a group (with a projector) or individually (in a computer lab). For example, if you want to use a problem/solution summary frame to analyze a topic, you can use the Problem Solution template in Inspiration to begin (found by choosing File | Open Template | Thinking Skills | Problem Solution.ist).

In the book, Pitler et al recommend that students learn and use a variety of note taking formats, including combination notes. Inspiration can be used to create a combination note template, where facts/notes are on the upper left side of the page, graphics (from the library or other source) are on the upper right side of the page, and summary sentences are located at the bottom of the page. Addtionally, there are many templates available in Inspiraiton that are excellent to support note taking as well (choose File | Open Template to explore).

Summarizing and note taking can be a challenge for students. Organizing and brainstorming software like Inspiration can be a very useful tool.

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Image from Inspiration