Saturday, March 22, 2008

Jott: A Powerful New Tool for Learning

Our most successful students are those who understand how they learn and who have identified, refined and adapted strategies that promote their own learning. Conversely, our least successful learners typically are not aware of how to promote their own learning and understanding. For example, when studying for a test or quiz, they may not understand the need to review the most salient points and they may have a difficult time even identifying what is salient. To them, everything is salient which makes studying overwhelming.

The ability to monitor the progress of your learning and make changes when the strategies are not working is called metacognition. It is essential for effective learning. Expert learners are intuitive in their use of metacogniton.

We know that our students with learning challenges struggle in this area. They are not strategic in their learning, in either planning, organizing or adapting for learning success. Therefore, it is imperative that we provide explicit instruction in metacognitive strategies.

One 21st century method is highlighted here which combines the ubiquity of cell phones in the pockets of our students with universal design for learning principles. Grasp the power of the tool that is readily available for our students.

Don't ban cell phones, teach kids how to use them strategically.

How do we accomplish this? Enter Jott, a 21st century tool for learning.

To understand the possibilities, you must first understand what it does:
Jott converts your voice into emails, text messages, reminders, lists and appointments.
Once you register at, use your cell phone, call jott, tell jott who you would like to "jott" and record your message. Within minutes, your message is converted to text via email or text message to whomever you jotted.

Simple. Do you grasp the power?

Let's take this beyond the obvious - to create reminders or set up appointments. What are the strategic applications which promote learning for all students?

Jott allows you to add contacts and create lists and groups. Create a list for each academic subject area. Then when you jott, you can jott (input the text) directly into a specific folder for easy retrieval. Jott promotes organization and review of information and allows you to flag information, set up reminders, listen to your recordings at a later time and print out your jotts.

How can this be used in our classrooms? Here are some examples:
  • At the end of the class period, have your students jott to that particular academic subject folder (or list) their homework for the day.
  • At the end of the class period, have your students jott to that particular academic subject folder (or list)the most important things they learned in your class that day.
  • At the end of the class period, have your students jott to that particular academic subject folder (or list) any ideas that they would like to explore further.
  • At the end of the class period, have your students jott to that particular academic subject folder (or list) have your students record any concepts they are still unclear about.
  • At the end of the class period, have your students jott to that particular academic subject folder (or list) a summary of what you taught or they learned that day.
  • At the end of the week, encourage your students to review their jotts for your academic subject as another way to review their learning for the week. They are easily retrieved in one area online.
  • At the end of the week, ask your students to print out their jotts for your subject area for the week for you to review. (Jott keeps track by folder and this is easy to do). This provides a great deal of information - are your students understanding what you are teaching? How effectively are they summarizing what you taught? What are they unclear about? Do you see the potential ways this can help improve your teaching?
Using Jott immediately at the end of the class helps enhance learning and mitigates against memory issues. This is vital point for many of our kids. Can we agree that providing a tool for immediacy, repetition and review promotes learning?

The methods suggested above work well for struggling learners. What makes this a universal design for learning approach is that while they are recommended for struggling learners, all students can potentially benefit from the use of this free online tool. Teach explicit applications to your struggling learners, teach strategy use. You will also teach brevity, because Jott allows only 30 second of recordings. (It is possible to record multiple 30 second messages if necessary).

Do you see the potential? Help promote purposeful, effective and independent learning in your classroom. Think outside the box and share your ideas here.

Additional resources - Jott Videos - don't miss the student videos!
How to Jott

Note: This post is an extension of what my friend and colleague, Beth Lloyd, demonstrated to me about Jott for personal productivity.

Image attribution


loonyhiker said...

Great list of suggestions! I think Jott is a great tool for our students to use but your list adds ways I didn't think of.

Karen Janowski said...

Yes, I never thought of these either until Beth showed me the ability to create lists (folders) to organize myself. Then I couldn't stop thinking of all the ways students could use them to promote their own learning, with guidance initially.

suzanne31381 said...

Karen, I had heard of Jott but wrote it off without really understanding it or considering how to use it at school. (I was just feeling overloaded by too many "productivity tools" and systems in my own adult world.) Your post helped me understand Jott and I love the ideas for helping students with it. If only we were allowed to acknowledge the phones already in our classrooms... I am the Computer Electives teacher and used to allow kids to take out their electronic devices with the stipulation that they were not to do so outside my four walls. After all, my class is about technology. However, my administrator asked me to cease and desist as it "conflicted with the Student Handbook" and might cause confusion for the kids or hassles for the other teachers. What more can I say?

Thanks for the post!

Congerjan said...

I love how well you have thought this out and to give your students a way to think about their own learning right after your class is a great way to do it. I am assuming you are in high school. This would not work in my elementary library... too few of my students have cell phones. But, for those that do I am going to share JOTT as a learning tool. :-)

Bridget said...

Hi Karen,

Great Post!! I use and promote JOTT as a UDL tool and your post reaffirms and generated some new ideas!!



Lynn Marentette said...

T hanks for the great info about Jolt!
Lynn Marentette

Jenny said...

This post is one of those rare times that I wish I taught high school. Most of my fifth graders don't have cell phones (due to age and economic status) so this wouldn't really help us. But now you've got me brainstorming ways to do it without cell phones. Thanks for pushing my thinking!

Karen Janowski said...

Thank you all for stopping by and getting inspired to use a tool in new ways to support your students' learning styles. Please come back and comment additional ideas you came up with. We are all learning together and our students benefit!
And that's what it's all about - doing whatever it takes to help our students succeed and enjoy learning.

Anonymous said...

Hi Karen, thanks for this post. As soon as I read "Jott converts your voice into emails, text messages..." a light bulb went off in my head. My 9yo student with Aspergers has anxieties when he is asked to write anything down and I'm currently looking for ways to allow him to complete work orally eg a speech to text tool or audacity to podcast but I also like Jott. Funnily enough while reading your blog post, I rememebred having listened to @LParisi 's podcast on assistive technology and was about to tweet her to ask what she thought of jott, not knowing that it was you I listened to that day and you have already answered my question! :) gkat Grace

Beth Lloyd said...

Karen, the list goes on and on, doesn't it? It's so great to s-t-r-e-t-c-h a tool beyond its limits with a little creative thinking.

irasocol said...

First, thanks for visiting SpeEdChange, and your response there.

Second, great stuff here. I've had excellent success simply with Google Calendar and mobile phones (a calendar with sharing with the teacher - combined with the text message reminders to the mobile) - in the rare American schools which allow this. I've also used mobile text-messaging for fast note taking (email yourself) and task completion confirmation (text your teacher when assignments are completed in the evening). But Jott adds to these capabilities tremendously.

Dave Hohulin said...

Thanks Karen, and great post! It somehow feels better to say that I'm having issues with metacognition than, "I'm having a senior moment!"

Jott works so well with Blogger and Twitter.

One of my professors in college would have us read a chapter in our text, and then write out a "Top Ten" list of things that we thought were important to remember from the text. Jott would be a very cool way to do that, and would include kids who have difficulty writing!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Karen, I'd heard of Jott but hadn't taken the time of how students could use it or how it would fit into a UDL environment. Great ideas! I think I'm going to introduce it to my son.

Anonymous said...

Karen, You have taught me some of the most amazing things!

This is amazing for so many applications. For learners, I can see this being an integral way to help clear their heads and "write things down" as they probably have heard so much!

Kim said...

What a great resource. Thanks for teaching us about it in class!

Ann said...

I enjoyed learning about Jott today in class. I can't wait to use it to remember my early morning meetings each week! Thanks for a great class today!

Anonymous said...

Hi Karen

Grace Kat left a comment on my blog suggesting I check out your post on Jott. Unfortunately we can't use Jott in Australia however I'm writing a series of posts for The Edublogger and Jott is one tool that others have highlighted the benefit of so I will link to your post on use in the classroom in my post for the Edublogger - if that is okay with you?

Anonymous said...

Oops I'm tired the comment Grace Kat left was on my personal blog but I accidentally linked my name to my other blog The Edublogger when I posted this comment. Lets try that again :)

Karen Janowski said...

Feel free to link - it's great to get the word out about the possibilities for our students!


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