Tag Archives: organization

A Reappropriation of Übernote

Nest van een Rietgors by carpreolus

Key Features

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.

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The AE Inspired Series: Professional Development

The AE Inspired Series 01: Professional Development

by Boahang911

Recently I attended a one day “professional development” workshop that, in my opinion, was unsuccessful professional development (PD). This reflection is one in a series and will focus on the change we can bring about through PD. Successful Professional Development (PD) will share some of the following principles.


Sustained PD certainly offers long-term benefits as opposed to one-off PD sessions which may be forgotten by participants five steps out the door. Integration of the PD content comes through higher order cognitive processing as beliefs may need to be changed, participant attitudes may need to be addressed and knowledge may need to be updated. For effective integration, there should be sustained and periodic PD and quite frankly, the longer the better.


In most cases professional development may be more effective through collaborative practices networking people and resources for a goal. Isolated PD may be effective if an educator has effective support and motivation to sustain themselves. Collaborative practices can help elmininate barriers such as these and promote a community of practice with sharing and contributing to each other’s PD an essential component. Collaboration will probably also increase exposure to a wider range of experiences and diverse information from which to divergently reflect. There is nothing like reflecting-in-action in one’s professional development. Online collaboration could be found on linkedin, facebook or you could create your own network on ning or edmodo. Twitter chats are extremely useful to introduce yourself to like-minded professionals.

Situated Learning

Learning should be contextualized and personalized so that PD is meaningful to each individual participant. Teachers need to see environmental relevance for them, their students, and their classroom. They also need cognitive relevance. Pushing PD which is against teachers’ beliefs or own learning goals is an uphill battle. Likewise delivering content that is already known or includes an insurmountable knowledge gap won’t be effective. Penuel et al. (Penuel, Fishman, Yamaguchi, & Gallagher, 2007) make recommendations from their study that content needs to be localized and tailored to local standards and practice. They also make recommendations to target cognitive factors as these lead to increased changes in practice and knowledge of teachers in their study.

Lave and Wenger’s Situated Learning Theory posits that social interaction, whether intentional or unintentional, is crucial as knowledge can be created and shared within the community (Lave & Wenger, 1990). Smaller groups can offer specificity for members and has been proven as an effective medium of PD for Interactive Whiteboards integration (Triggs & John, 2004). Small in-house communities were formed to address the needs of the teacher participants. See collaboration section for tech housing for communities.


It is my belief that a bottom-up approach for PD is ideal. Whilst this relies on all educators’ professionalism, there are far more benefits listed above with which a teacher’s own drive will push them forward. Management and administrators need to support this flattened approach by being enablers. They need to ensure basic needs of time, materials, and/or resources are allocated appropriately and there may be a need to keep the PD-flow on task.

With the above components, PD can become a lot more effective. This post focused more on the principles behind the PD rather than the tech used to support the PD. All we need to do is to apply our PD to the teaching and learning that is happening around us every day. We can’t rely on yesterday’s practices to help us prepare for tomorrow’s future. A cliché, I know.

Lave, J., & Wenger, E. (1990). Situated Learning: Legitimate Peripheral Participation Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Penuel, W. R., Fishman, B. J., Yamaguchi, R., & Gallagher, L. P. (2007). What Makes Professional Development Effective? Strategies That Foster Curriculum Implementation. American Educational Research Journal, 44(4), 921-958.

Triggs, P., & John, P. (2004). From transaction to transformation: information and communication technology, professional development and the formation of communities of practice. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 20(6), 426-439.

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