fredag 19. februar 2010

A laptop app for students who can’t stop typing

Knowledge Notebook is a $39 Windows application (free 30 day trial) designed to enable copious note-taking, organizing, and review for students.
Colleges are worrying that students spend too much time on the Internet in the middle of lectures. They’re hitting Facebook instead of taking notes.
One proposed solution is to turn off wireless connections in the classroom.
Bentley College allows profs to choose one of five settings from fully-off to email-enabled to full access. Or they can restrict students to campus sites only, for access to course materials.
The cool thing about Knowledge Notebook is, it has both offline and online modes. You can turn off your WiFi to pay attention, or fire it up to add online research.
Don Li, a veteran of big-tech firms Booz Allen Hamilton and SRA International, started his own company, Virginia Web App, two years ago. Knowledge Notebook, his own creation, is designed specifically for taking notes in class, connecting them to previous and future notes, and optimizing both the in-class offline and back-at-the-dorm online experience for studying and reviewing.
KN’s look is as plain as Windows 3.0, but it’s the concepts that matter, not the graphics.
Jarred Milich, a senior marketing major at Virginia Tech, emailed me to say he uses Knowledge Notebook instead of Microsoft OneNote for his note-taking.
“Taking notes is only the first step,” he wrote. “There is a feature that allows me to easily export my notes into flash cards. Also, the Concept Mapping feature allows me to link my related notes and see all of them on one screen. This is very convenient because I am a visual learner and like to see all the info on one page, in one place.”
The demo video below shows how that works. Knowledge Notebook also has shortcuts for, say, looking up topics or words in Wikipedia, and to import content from PowerPoint slides. That sounds trivial, but wait until you’re pulling an all-nighter on an overdue paper. Every click counts.

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