Does anyone on the list have experience with any form of digital student
lab notebook? Would you be willing to share any lessons learned?
A colleague and I are discussing possibilities. It seems to us that there
could be some significant advantages over the traditional forms of
handwritten record-keeping in the lab. These advantages might include
sharing records with a teacher who can comment remotely without collecting
the books, and more seamless inclusion in the record of digital files such
as photos, video, or most importantly, data tables and graphs acquired from
We haven't yet seen or invented anything we're very satisfied with. We are
looking for something appropriate for high school juniors who are
relatively tech literate and have an array of devices available to them.
Simple solutions might include cloud services (eg: google docs), but the
obvious solutions also present problems, such as:
(1) it's much easier to draw a quick lab diagram by hand in a notebook than
it is to do so in a google doc. Students could take photos of apparatus and
paste in, but we believe the act of drawing requires students to make
decisions about what is important and what to leave out. We want a solution
in which kids can draw.
(2) Word processing documents are editable; lab records written in pen are
permanent. We prefer a solution in which records, once made, may be marked
up and commented upon, but not erased.
Dean of New Faculty
Noble & Greenough School