[clug-talk] Program for taking notes in class ?

Mark Carlson carlsonmark at gmail.com
Wed Apr 22 13:53:11 PDT 2009

On 4/22/09, Peter Van den Wildenbergh <peter at meta-logica.com> wrote:
>  Hi List,
>  Anybody aware of a good FOSS program for taking notes in a (science) class?
>  Was thinking to buy a wacam board for all the weird formulas and drawings.
>  Need some software that can handle both text and drawings... + organize it
> per class/date ...
>  Does this exist?
>  Thx
>  Peter

There may be appropriate software, but from my experience, introducing
a computer (even a tablet) into the classroom has produced more
negative than positive results.

(note: in the following situations, I say "you", but I really am
referring to things I've done myself, and have seen others do as well.
 YMMV, so don't take my opinions as cold-hard facts.)

The #1 problem seems to be that for every extra second you spend
fussing over getting your drawing done right on the tablet, or getting
the notation right in an equation, you've lost one second of attention
to the subject at hand.

I imagine, with practice, you could be as proficient with the tablet
as you are with a pen and paper, but you really need to ask yourself,
"is it worth it?"

I tried for a few weeks to take notes on a notebook computer, but in
the end, it was much better to just stick with my previous method (5
colors of pens, and custom note-taking paper I made with OpenOffice,
all shoved into a clipboard [1].)

The #2 problem seems to be the additional distractions that
laptops/tablets introduce.  Email, IM, Facebook, games, etc. all take
your attention away from class, and it takes longer to get your focus
back than I bet you're willing to admit.

Even looking up a subject on Wikipedia (or somewhere else) during
class seems like a good idea... until you realize you weren't paying
attention to something for 5 minutes... and it takes 15 minutes to
catch up on it by yourself later (if you do it at all!)

Other problems:
- Distracting other classmates (even just your computer's noises)
- Classmates distracting you (can you look this up for me?)
- Battery dying (or setting up / taking down your PSU)
- Weight (heavier than a clipboard, anyway)

Anyway... even even if someone had told me this, I probably still
would have tried taking notes on the computer... so have fun, and good

-Mark C.

[1] http://www.amazon.com/Rubbermaid-Grip-N-Go-Storage-Clipboard-29994/dp/B0006HWZ9G
(also available at Staples)

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