During December the Digital Learning Team will each be sharing a top tip or tool, in a festive series of blog posts. We hope that our 12 days of posts will bring you a feast of ideas and examples to unwrap. In addition, they are an opportunity to find out a bit more about the team and the kind of things we are involved in.
A simple one to start with! A tool that has served me well, from teaching in primary school right through to HE, is what in Blue Peter terms is probably a sticky-backed note. The humble post-it note is endlessly versatile and has the potential to provoke thought and discussion. It’s nothing more than a blank canvas, but a small, colourful, non-intimidating one and sometimes that helps.
There are the emergency situations when post-it notes come to the rescue: the ‘Who am I?’ post-it note-on-the-head ice-breaker, or, when the WiFi fails, different coloured post-it notes can serve as a low-tech voting tool.
Classroom activities using post-it notes
Post-it-based learning activities are plentiful: labelling a diagram or a map, or covering an image that students must identify with the minimum number of post-its removed; placing events on a timeline or ordering ideas into a sequence.
Post-its can facilitate mindmapping, generating ideas both individually and in groups. They allow students to contribute questions and re-distribute them for answering. They also provide a useful means to pool ideas and work in groups to develop these. For instance, sorting them into categories or prioritising the most significant themes or theories from the collection.
The advantages of using Post-it Plus
The problem with post-it notes is that they inevitably lose their stickiness, or worse, stick to all the wrong things. That’s where the Post-it Plus app comes in: it offers a way of capturing collaborative input and ideas, enabling further discussion and development beyond the taught session. The app can scan and identify the individual post-it notes in a single photo, collating these on a digital board that you can then reorganise as you choose, adding additional notes as needed. The board can be shared with others, allowing students to continue working on a group project, or collaborate across groups.
It’s worth noting that it’s not only post-its that can be captured in this way; the app will also accommodate other sources, such as the flipchart paper shown here. Within the app, it’s possible to zoom in to view the detail, and notes from various photos can be added to a single board, so there is no need to keep it post-it sized – big ideas work too!