Effective Classroom Instruction Using Tech: Summarizing and Note-Taking

01 May


Photo Credit: sprout_labs via Compfight cc

Eight years ago, the authors Pitler, Kuhn and Malenoski took the eleven essential instructional strategies that were identified originally by Marzano, Pickering and Pollock. These essential instructional strategies allow teachers to then use them purposefully to steadily improve student learning. In this digital age of learning and in considerations of this research, I have included not only an outline of how technology could be used to complement and enhance these teaching strategies but also specific technology tools/resources.

This is the sixth of a series of 11 posts on this topic.

Essential Instructional Strategy #6

In summarizing and note-taking teachers focus on enhancing the students’ ability to synthesize, infer and create meaning to information. Technology allows an effective way to concisely represent student learning.

Within the learning environment, various resources may be used. Below is a complementary list of actions and ideas, but by no means is it an exhaustive list. Please add your ideas in the comments section if you like.

Devise rules for summarizing. Use of MWord, GoogleDocs, Etherpad, Blog, Wiki, NoteStar (gr4-12), ThinkFree, Summary Frames,

Clarify unclear questions.

Use prediction.

Note taking formats include outlining, webbing, and pictographs.

Use the Track Changes feature in MWord.

Use the Revision History feature under File in GDocs.

Collaborative note-taking or group note-taking of specific sections of information. (Think Jigsaw approach.)

Wikis and blogs.

Use of an iPod/iPad/iPhone application such as Dragon Dictate (speech to text) or Paperport Notes (audio, speech to text, handwriting, input of images).

Build on students’ inferencing skills through:

  • Explaining the Image
  • It Says, I Say, And So
  • Use a Google Doc > Tools > Research
  • Use a Google Slide > Tools > Research

Summarize with various chrome apps, extensions and online resources such as:

  • Readability – chrome extension, declutters a website
  • SpeakIt! – chrome extension, text to speech
  • Announcify – chrome extension, paragraph text to speech, blurs out extraneous text
  • Newsela  – chrome app, differentiated news articles in a variety of topic areas
  • Flocabulary – subject area topics learned via rap songs
  • 60 second recap – of various literature
  • SparkNotes – online literature summaries


1 – Pitler, H., R., E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007). Using Technology with Classroom Instruction That Works. Alexandria: ASCD.

2 – Marzano, R. J., Pickering, D. J., & Pollock, J. E. (2001). Classroom instruction that works: Research-based strategies for increasing student achievement. Alexandria, VA: ASCD. Also look at Dean, C.B., Hubbell, E.R., Pitler, H. & Stone, B.J. (2012). Classroom instruction that works: Research-based strategies for increasing student achievement, 2nd Edition. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.



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