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We find our sources online, print them, and write note cards by hand. I teach the note cards because I know them, and because I cannot see a less energy-wasting method that teaches the skills I want to inculcate.Then, while perusing Bruce Ballenger’s book for something else entirely, I was attracted to his section on note taking techniques.
These things, I argued, were things to which students needed to be introduced.
Once introduced to the traditional method, they had earned the right to manipulate it to their own whims.
He describes two methods, neither one involving note cards.
In fact, he described note cards in the first edition of the book but refused to include them in the second edition, admitting that in good conscience, I can’t do it anymore.
If this were the only thing Ballenger had to offer, I would probably not change my ways–though I would feel a bit worse about them, knowing his criticism of note cards has merit.
The second method he describes, however, caught my attention.
I experimented with note programs, Google Notes, text boxes in Word, and online bookmarks, but was not happy with any of them until I stumbled upon Zotero.
I have praised Zotero before, but the heart of my praise is that the program mimics the note card method.
With it I was able to use the method I loved without the extra step.
Yet when it came to my students, learning Zotero was not an option.