Organizing Knowledge w/ Cornell

Woman surrounded with paper KZ4LB


In the Organizing Knowledge section of Ontario Extend‘s Teacher for Learning Module, we’re invited to try using Cornell Notes as an alternate way to take notes.  I’d never used this method, so I decided to give it a whirl.

These days, it seems easiest to just start out with a YouTube video, so I took advantage of this freely available resource to find out the basics of the Cornell System.  After watching Jennifer Desrocher’s How to take Cornell Notes, I felt like I was armed with the knowledge I needed to try it out.

Now I just needed a topic.  The Activity Bank entry suggested perhaps taking notes on a conference keynote or a video.   Great idea!  Back to YouTube.   I’d been intrigued by the Tweets being exchanged in regards to Open Educational Resources and the OER Commons so I looked for a video that would fit with that theme.  I came across a TED Talk: Knowledge Belongs to Everyone: David Ernst at TEDxKyoto 2012 and thought it gave a great (now historical) perspective on Open Textbooks.

My thoughts on using Cornell Notes:

  • The essential question and summary made me put my arms around the topic as a whole.
  • I like that it encouraged spacing out of the material, rather than dense blocks of notes I often take.
  • The format allowed use of colours and graphics which are very appealing to me. (I’m a big fan of mind maps for certain types of notes).
  • The left-hand column would be a big plus during studying.  You could scan down the column and quickly identify areas you were confident with and those where you needed to go and read the notes on the right.
  • It worked great for a short video.  Not sure how it would be for longer materials.  That said, I tend to get caught up in the creative part which slows me down.

Cornell Notes

Cornell Notes – Extend Activity

Template for Cornell Notes from Template Lab.

“Woman surrounded with paper KZ4LB” flickr photo by Kathleen Zarubin shared under a Creative Commons CC BY 2.0 license.

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