Audio Notetaker offers a brand new way of taking notes for meetings, lectures and interviews! Take comprehensive notes without needing to write stuff down.
At the BETT 2012 show one piece of software stood out to me above the rest. This was because this one piece of software was able to address so many of the difficulties that dyslexic students experience when note taking during their lectures and meetings. Many dyslexic students currently use a digital recorder to help with note taking, however many users of this technology have reported that it can often take several hours to review a one-hour lecture and that it can be difficult to navigate or organise these notes as they have no way of annotating the recorded audio. All of these factors put the dyslexic students at a disadvantage in comparison with other students. Audio Notetaker is an audio-based PC software program designed for easy note taking and is the first piece of software I have seen that comes close to readdressing the balance.
Audio Notetaker allows the student to create notes from a lecture recording by presenting spoken phrases visually as bars which can then be organised, annotated and edited. Audio can be used from any source, including a digital recorder, but the best way of using the software is by recording straight into it using a laptop. These visual bars can be organised into sections which correspond to specific PowerPoint or PDF slides, and these bars and sections can then be highlighted in a number of different colours. These colours could signify something important, different speakers or key points of the topic relevant to revision, an essay or a dissertation. Unlike other methods of listening to audio recordings, this allows the student to navigate, annotate and organise the notes with minimal time and effort as well as offering the opportunity for the student to add their own voice notes or typed notes to the recording of the lecture.
However, students may find parts of their lecture that they do not need to keep. Audio Notetaker gives them the option of selecting the relevant phrase bars and deleting them, therefore allowing them to keep the critical information whilst reducing the amount of audio in the file. The ‘extract colours’ function affords the students the opportunity of pulling out the important parts into a new file, reducing the lecture notes to an audio track which contains only the key points of that topic. This can be especially useful for revision, essays or dissertations without having to trawl through the whole lecture.
For many dyslexic students organising their notes can be very difficult with many students reporting that they have spent extensive time and effort trying to find notes that they have made either in lectures or meetings or as research for assessment tasks. Audio Notetaker allows a student to tag the notes with keywords and meta-data to make them easy to find again in the future. Students can also search for key words within their slides and notes, almost eliminating the need for structured organisation completely.
Dyslexic students often have difficulty with working memory and audio processing speed and this makes it difficult for students to sit and concentrate for long periods of time. Audio Notetaker relieves some of these difficulties, as the student is able to sit back and focus on the content of the lecture without having to worry about taking notes. However, this application has more to offer than just taking notes in a lecture. It could be used by teachers to produce an accessible format for a lecture which could be placed on a virtual learning platform, or become part of an online course. It could also assist the students in making their own notes from imported audio files of documents which need to be read as part of their course, created by other packages such as Claro read or Text Help. These could then be annotated with colour or further written notes.
Audio Notetaker is very powerful software that allows users to add visual representations of notes to their own audio or written notes. All of which can be tagged with keywords and meta-data so that they can instantly find information, as well as having the ability to edit and add to these files at any time in the future. This goes beyond the capabilities of using a digital recorder in isolation. After using both of these technologies I have no doubt that Audio Notetaker is a superior product in terms of time management and accessibility for the dyslexic student.
For more information please visit www.sonocent.com.