How I Use It
My middle school science students use Noodletools for organizing answers to research questions. Our school pays for access to all of the features: including a quick citation generator, bibliography support, notecards, and outlining. Students are taught how to use Noodletools within the framework of the Big6 research process.
Students first create a project within the tool. Then, we develop the research question together and students find their resources to provide evidence or support for their hypothesis. They are then required to import source information (title, author, date accessed, etc) using the bibliography tab at the top. After they insert each source, they pull information into notecards. They are required to copy and paste direct quotations and sort their notecards on the virtual table top based on main ideas. Once they feel like they have enough information, students choose a pile (group) of similar cards to summarize the information they found. Once their own words are on each notecard, they organize notecards into an outline and begin writing their research report. Projects using Noodletools take around 5-7 class days from start to finish.
I am able to check in on students' progress when they share projects with me using the built-in dropbox feature. Students use the To-Do list feature on the project page to keep up with the Big6 process and to break down the assignment into smaller, more manageable pieces.
I really like the way Noodletools emphasizes the need to pull direct quotations from the resource students use. This gives me the opportunity to see their progress in paraphrasing direct quotations into their own words. I can also see how often students log-in to Noodletools to work on their research projects, which is really beneficial for my students who require extra support in managing their time effectively.
The first year I used Noodletools, I felt many of the features were very cumbersome. For many of my low literacy students, I only require them to use part of the features available which can become visually distracting to some. I wish that we could organize notecards in a more distinct way and/or that the outline printed in a way that was easier to read.