Note-taking with wikis


Lifehack.org suggests that students use wikis for course note-taking. The article drops names for some basic wiki software — NoteMesh, stud.icio.us, and PBwiki — and includes a helpful brief guide to wikis and their care and feeding. [Side note: I tried entering in my college at stud.icio.us and got an “Application Error” message, which isn’t a good sign.]

I’d add Wikispaces to that list — I’ve done two wikis using this service and found it to be very good. And I believe it’s the only free wiki service with LaTeX support, which makes it especially useful for math classes. (If you know LaTeX, that is; if you don’t, I have some screencasts for you!)

All of these services are web-based. That’s good if you want to collaborate with others asynchronously or if you need to access your wiki from different internet-connected machines. But it’s not good if you’re not always connected to the net or if you don’t want to have to factor in the strength/speed of your connection into the usability equation. I’m in this latter camp, and so for my offline-wiki needs I’ve been using VoodooPad Lite for designing my fall courses — which is sort of like note-taking. It’s been a very good tool for this purpose; I just dump whatever comes to mind into a new wiki page and the links to existing pages are created automatically. VoodooPad Lite is free, but it’s Mac-only. (Anybody know any Windows or Linux offline wiki software for the rest of the population?)

There’s a real value in this kind of non-linear information processing that could benefit a lot of students whose brains don’t fit well with bullet-pointed outlines.

2 Comments

Filed under Education, Educational technology, LaTeX, Social software, Technology

2 responses to “Note-taking with wikis

  1. Dan

    Add one more wiki to the list: Luminotes, a personal wiki notebook. It’s focused on keeping things as simple as possible (and no simpler). I know a number of people using it for student note-taking.

    Check it out at http://luminotes.com/

  2. Better late than never, right? I don’t know if you ever found a solution, but I wanted to bring forth an offline note taking software called NoteScribe. You’re able to take notes on your computer (and it’s Windows based, as requested), and for sharing, you can import and export files quickly. It’s perfect for sharing your notes, or getting notes from your friends. There are other great features like bibliography and sources creation and generators, easy text editing, and more. Check out the website and the 30-day free trial. I hope it helps you out!

    Jake
    NoteScribe: The Premier Note Software