This is a guest post from Hélène Fyffe, an undergraduate starting her final year at Edinburgh Napier University, having spent a year on placement with Microsoft UK Education as part of her course.
Today I’m excited to share my thoughts about a Windows 8.1 app that has been really useful for my time-management. If you’ve read any of my blogs, you’ve probably seen that I’m currently in my final year of university trying to wrap up my Business with Marketing degree.
Final year students pressed for time
People say that final year at university is challenging and I’m not going to deny it. The past few weeks have been really tough with submission after submission spilling into my lap and no room to lose focus. I’m happy to vouch that the toughest thing for final year students is time management. Faced with a big jump in work quantity and difficulty (thank you dissertation), students who want to do well have to quickly be able to adapt and manage their time better and forget the long-gone days of skipping lectures and tutorials to watch Homeland. It’s a common thing to see fourth years craning their necks over their laptops in the library every day (even Saturdays) with strained expressions on their faces and a growing collection of empty Starbucks cups.
It therefore came as a nice little surprise when I discovered there was an app that could help me save time!
Dragon Notes – speak your mind
Dragon Notes is a Window 8.1 app that enables the user to record ideas and thoughts into professional working environment and then organise them directly through speech. It’s as simple as that – with a limit of 30 seconds recording time, you click on record and say what you want, Dragon Notes transcribes it and you can then use the ‘Charm’ feature to share it into a OneNote, Facebook or Twitter, or to organise it. The app is available to PC’s, laptops and Windows tablets such as the Surface.
Ideal for group work
For busy students you can imagine that this can be a really useful little tool. I’ve used Dragon Notes in the last few weeks in a group project which involved four of us planning how we were going to tackle a report and deciding what individual tasks each person would have to do. Throughout the meeting, as there were a group of us all talking and throwing in ideas, I recorded the main points of our brainstorming sessions and then we verbally dictated a summary of what we wanted to achieve into a Dragon Note which I was then able to share with everyone at the end really easily by transferring the note to an email. This meant that we were all able to focus on brainstorming and contributing ideas as there was no need for someone to be the ‘scribe’. Dragon Notes would be a great app for any collaborative group projects at university, school or college which involve students working together to come up with ideas in a tight time frame. I would say it would be particularly useful to students who find it easier to express themselves through talking than writing.
Jotting down thoughts
Dragon Notes can also enable students to record those rare light-bulb ideas without the hassle of rummaging for a pen or paper or losing the place where they wrote their idea. To illustrate, I’m working on a report for Brand Management which involves coming up with a slogan and brand name and my aha moment occurred when I was walking through the streets of Edinburgh. I took a quick recording with Dragon Note on my tablet and then didn’t have to worry about losing a sticky note or opening my report’s word document in the street to type it up.
To summarise my thoughts on Dragon Notes, I think it will appeal to students and learners who prefer articulating themselves through speech than through writing, and for learners who want to be more organised.
To download Dragon Notes for Windows, click here.
If you’re curious to delve into more of the Windows 8 apps for education, click on the flyer below.