This Week’s Pit Stop

Last week we embarked on this exciting learny journey of ours to complete all six of the Ontario Extend modules. Like all good journeys, we’ll be taking breaks every now and then to pause and reflect on our individual experiences so far. This week, we’re going to take our first little pit stop to reflect on our answers from the third Extend activity in the Teacher for Learning Module: Cornell Notes

The Cornell Notes method is a note-taking system devised in the 1940s by Walter Pauk, an education professor at Cornell University. It is still an incredibly effective and widely used method for organizing knowledge and for teaching students better note-taking skills.

You can take a look at what we came up with below when we each took our crack at it!

Disclaimer: A couple of us have chosen to be old-school and write our notes by hand instead of typing them out. Although we acknowledge that this may impact the ability of others to read them (and that it IS the year 2021), it is still well within the rules to choose this method so don’t be judgy!


I’m going to use this activity to kickstart a collective note-taking activity in my Facilitating Online Learning class at Lambton. The course’s textbook is an open textbook called Teaching in a Digital Age. I came across a series of videos that Tony Bates, the author of the text, made to introduce major themes in the book. So I chose the Theories of Learning video to try the activity myself as that is the topic we covered last week. Next I will assign this activity to the class as well and suggest that we try to get a set of shared notes on all of the other videos in the series. That way the whole class will have access to a set of resources with the extra bonus that the students will also begin the Extend learny journey themselves! A friend on Twitter pointed me to this Cornell Notes template on a tool called Notion so I tried it out! Have a look at what I came up with here.


I ended up creating a very simplified template to do this via Word as I haven’t really taken notes by hand (for very good legibility reasons). The video I chose is “A fascinating time capsule of human feelings toward AI”. I think one of the takeaways for me is how much longer it can take to properly take notes using this method. For a 6 minute clip, it took me approximately double to 2.5 times as long to make the notes, clean them up and pause/restart the video. The result, I think, is a much more concise list of takeaways. My responses and notes are here.


My note-taking methods served me well while at university; however, it certainly was not a skill I was ever taught and my “method” sadly consisted of simply writing fast and writing lots. This activity was the first time I’ve attempted Cornell Notes, so I was excited to try it out. Even though I type everything these days, I still decided to handwrite my notes because writing things out definitely helps the words land better in my memory (FACT: I still remember all of the songs whose lyrics I painstakingly wrote out line by line including this classic jam)! I chose the inspiring Michelle Pacansky-Brock‘s keynote from a conference back in July – The Anatomy of Learning: Cultivating Care from the Very First Click. Read more about my experience and check out my first stab at Cornell Notes!


My handwriting has, regrettably, not improved much since grad school. Generally speaking, my note-taking strategy often feels like a race against the clock to jot down every idea I possibly can–so having a bit of a game plan was a new experience for me. I’ve uploaded an (embarrassing) picture of my notes which you can check out here.

What’s Next?

Next week we’ll be tackling two more activities, which will bring us just over halfway in our journey through the Teacher For Learning module! Be sure to check back in to see our answers for the “What’s in it for me” activity from a student’s perspective and the Like Driving a Car activity, where we explore more concepts from our respective disciplines. Don’t forget to add your name to the list if you’re interested in joining us in the spring. See you next week!

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