Chronology Current Month Current Thread Current Date
[Year List] [Month List (current year)] [Date Index] [Thread Index] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Prev] [Date Next]

Re: [Phys-L] query: digital lab notebooks

In addition to all the other suggestions from JD/BD/BD etc, students can make a hand sketch then take a snap with a cell phone. I have students regularly taking pictures of the white board in my office after we work through a concept or problem. I even had a student who would do physics class cartoons in her sketch book, take a snap and post them to (My wife had a booklet of these made for me as a birthday present...hilarious). Phones have cameras and can mail or post the pictures...Of course, the mechanics have to be worked out, but I don't see why that wouldn't work with git. At least 1 student will have a smart phone in the class, and maybe even the instructor.

-----Original Message-----
From: Phys-l [] On Behalf Of David Strasburger
Sent: Friday, July 25, 2014 3:39 PM
Cc: Jen Craft
Subject: [Phys-L] query: digital lab notebooks

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.



David Strasburger

Physics Teacher
Dean of New Faculty
Noble & Greenough School
(781) 320-7167
Forum for Physics Educators