Übernote is a data and task management resource that can be used as a website, in conjunction with a Firefox toolbar app and/or a mobile web browser. From an information literacy perspective, Übernote aids information gathering in terms of organisation, storage and retrieval.
Once users (teachers or students) have located a resource, they can bookmark the webpage to their Übernote account as an online web note (OWN). Users can tag to further organise their OWNs and include notes to further describe and evaluate the website. Users can email and share their OWN and multiple users can collaboratively edit bookmark, tag, and/or share the same OWN. Alternatively, anyone can add OWNs to an account by knowing the Übernote account direct email address; particularly good for when users are browsing the web on your mobile and want to follow up later.
Potential & Recommendation
This reflection will move beyond the stereotypical use of Übernote. Instead, by thinking of the need for organisation in learning, teachers could re-appropriate Übernote as a simplified course management system (CMS). In terms of information management, users can easily save webpages as OWNs with descriptions from their Internet or mobile web browsers. The use of tags gives the OWNs structure. They could be ordered chronologically, thematically or by purpose (e.g. learning strategy OWNs). Übernote needs supplements for other CMS features like discussion forums, email and grade reporting facilities. Depending on implementation, use of Übernote for these faculties may seem a little forced as Übernote does not function historically in these ways.
Übernote could also be used in pair/group online project-based learning and this is where the communication and collaboration for information management would be aided. As described above, the main feature of Übernote is the bookmarking of webpages. If students were to use one Übernote account to collect OWNs, then students could make specific notes in each OWN to describe, analyse, reflect on, and/or evaluate the webpage. By annotating, they remember which important parts of the webpage and justify why they included this OWN in the group’s project. The Übernote account becomes a collection point, collaboration is channeled and centralised as the information remains online readily accessible. Students could even start formulating ideas or selecting key ideas by collaboratively writing within each OWN just like they would in a wiki or collaborative online word document.
The idea that Übernote can be reappropriated to a CMS is one that relies on teacher creativity to bring together all the resources into one media: an Übernote account with many OWNs. Users could also integrate other websites into the CMS design and improve the concept. Übernote does not allow users to upload documents directly to it, but one could use a document handling website like Scribd and then integrate it through OWNs. Within this socio-constructivist perspective, Übernote’s features are used as tools to facilitate organisation, communication and collaboration in learning. However, careful planning and creation of the information management space is needed. Student’s digital fluency levels must be analysed as the ability in a CMS may be outside students’ experience. Offering transactional control, the process of transferring more control to students, of Ubernote must be negotiated, taught and learnt (Costello, 2009). This re-appropriation will fit better with secondary students’ course content, activity type (project-based learning) and capabilities.
Costello, E. (2009, 27-28 August). Teaching and Participatory Media. Paper presented at the Fifth International Conference of the All-Ireland Society for Higher Education, Maynooth, Ireland.