Monday, September 27, 2010

Paper Thin

Between lesson plans, handouts, and multiple drafts of assignments, the reams of paper can really pile up. Not only is that bad for Mama Earth, but it's ergonomically unwise for professors and students to be carrying so much weight. So, trying to do my part to save the world (and to seem cool and up-to-date), I've been experimenting with ways to go paperless.

For those of us who use PDF files, I really don't think I can say enough good things about Barnes and Noble's NOOKstudy software-- not to be confused with the NOOK eReader. It's a FREE download that only requires the student to make an account with NOOKstudy allows students to read eTextbooks, ePub files, and PDFs on their computers. Unlike reading the file in Adobe Reader, however, NOOKstudy allows you to:

  • take notes and even add tags to those notes 
  • highlight passages in multiple colors
  • easily flip from page to page
  • enlarge the size of the page so that it can be easily read
  • look up words instantly

As a teacher, NOOKstudy helps me prepare my lesson plans. I can look at what I've highlighted and the notes I've taken and propose discussion questions. I can immediately see all of the marked passages without having to flip through pages. Plus, I can categorize all of the readings, so that all of the class files are easily accessible. It also lightens my load. I can refer back to past readings without having to carry all of them. Finally, I can take new notes every semester, without taking over the page, and I can easily keep track of my notes and hang on to them for the following years.

As a student, the benefits are fairly similar. It mostly comes down to organization. Being able to label my notes saves me an immense amount of time when it comes time for me to use them in papers. I can copy and paste the text right into my papers, as well, saving me from having to look back and forth between files until I get the wording of the passage right.

A Screenshot of my NOOKstudy reading, highlighting, and tagged notes. Double-click for an up-close view.

No comments: