One of the things that I do more now than ever is to take notes of the conversations that my students are having throughout the day. I have always seen documentation of what is happening on any given day as a vital way for me to track and share what is happening in my class. This documentation used to take the form of mostly photographs. These photographs would help me create a narrative of the day’s or week’s activities for my classroom blog postings.
At my new school, Opal Charter School (located inside the Children’s Museum here in Portland) I have learned about the power of actually documenting the conversations that students are having with each other and using those conversations to help me better understand them as learners but also as a means to drive the curriculum. Opal’s work is based on the Reggio Emelia approach which relies heavily on the documentation of conversations of children and the reflection of those conversations by the teaching staff.
Finding a tool that could make this kind of documentation easy and accurate wasn’t easy in the past. When I came across the Livescribe pen it seemed like a perfect fit. The Livescribe pen allowed me to take notes and record conversations at the same time. I could always go back to these notes and re-listen to the conversations if I felt like I missed something. With the creation of the Livescribe Sky pen (which is fully integrated with Evernote) I felt like I had found an ideal documentation tool. At the same time I began to use Penultimate to take notes when I also wanted to add photos (something that Livescribe pens don’t allow).
Using both of these tools has been helpful, but also a bit cumbersome. I don’t like to have to have a lot of different tools with me. I want everything to work together in one place, preferably my ipad.
Recently I discovered AudioNote. AudioNote allows me to write on my ipad like I would in the Livescribe notebook and it synchs my writing with the audio recording that I am doing so I can go back later, click on the writing I did, and hear exactly what was being said at the moment I was writing. This is the brilliant feature of Livescribe but in ipad form. Additionally I can take photographs of what is going on and have that part of the documentation (just like I did with Penultimate). Unlike Penultimate, however, I can also use the typing feature, which is a nice option.
With AudioNote I can also us the Wi-Fi network I am on and send the note to another teacher or even student using a set URL.
While at the moment AudioNote doesn’t synch with Evernote automatically I can Open In… Evernote, which allows me to easily transfer notes to Evernote. I can also open it in Dropbox and Google Drive.