One aspect of content collaboration that I’m not familiar with, and I’d like to be, is the use of collaborative note taking tools. By reading more about collaborative note taking tools, such as MyNoteIt, Evernote, Ubernote, Springnote, etc., I can see many possibilities for using these types of tools in a classroom. Although I don’t have direct experience using them, one aspect I found most appealing is that students can share and collaborate on notes during the research process of a project.
What’s also important to acknowledge, is that collaborative note taking tools can give opportunities for shy students to share their thoughts with other classmates. Some students may not participate actively in class by raising their hands, and sharing their opinions verbally, but they are participating through their class notes by writing down and responding to classmates’ comments. By giving students who may not feel comfortable speaking in class an opportunity to participate in discussions with their classmates via their notes, it could be really beneficial to that type of student.
One way I can see librarians and teachers using collaborative note taking tools in the classroom, is not only through research projects, and formal discussions, but informally through students sharing their thoughts on a book. If the library has a featured book (or couple of books) each month, students can use note taking tools as they are reading a book. If they have questions about an aspect of the book, a theme, idea, or just want to hear another opinion on it, then they can get instant feedback without waiting until they finish the book. Sometimes, with book discussions at the end, students could forget or overlook an initial impression, reaction or question they had while reading. By asking questions, sharing research or just posting a reaction through informal use of note taking, it can show how students engage with a book on their own. Students can share their notes about a book, share related links and resources, and have an active and ongoing book discussion. This can encourage close reading and analysis of a book, while encouraging collaborative discussion.
Depending on the note taking tool, librarians can have various notebooks about each book, or just an ongoing collaborative place where students can add their notes.
(Note: The librarian would have to moderate this, give instruction on effective note taking while reading, and set up guidelines of what is appropriate to share with classmates.)