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Home > Community > Main Blog Page > Blog Post

Sharpen: Revolutionising the way we take notes

Sharpen is here to change the way students revise and engage in online tutoring sessions. With a simple interface and easy-to-use note-taking features, the platform combines video and notes, an area that so many online platforms struggle with.

After the session, you can access all the notes both you and your student took during the session in a clickable PDF with time-stamps and shared notes.

Aidan Whytock, Sharpen’s passionate Founder, recently took a select group of Qualified Tutor Community tutors through the platform – we were hugely impressed.

What do I like about Sharpen? I really like the emphasis on note taking and the fact that its focus is all on being a useful aid for revision, rather than a one-off lesson the student is just going to forget. I don’t think many other platforms (if any?) really have that same focus.” Rosanna Killick

With the rise in online tutoring, let’s take advantage of the recordable and searchable benefits that this brings. With searchable, time-stamped notes, your student can go right back to the moment in your session when you discussed this element. No longer will we find unconnected, one-line comments in our revision notes but rather, a door back into a world of learning.

Helen Osmond explored this point in more detail: “I like that the notes are time linked to that point in the lesson, making it easy to look back and refresh memory. I like that it can be used collaboratively so everyone has the possibility to share notes.

This notion of collaboration is essential in the online tutoring environment. Sharpen helps to allow students to feel in control of their own note-taking – gone are the days of writing all over an online whiteboard with no input from the student.

Rosanna feels there is huge value in a platform like this. “The point of a tutor, in my view, is to help the students to help themselves by becoming independent learners. (We’re basically trying to make ourselves redundant!) That’s exactly what Sharpen does, stressing the need for the student to take notes and to make use of the lesson after it’s finished.

But more importantly than this: “We can’t tell at the moment if they’re taking notes at all during online lessons, let alone how effective those notes are. This makes everything more visible and allows us to teach them how to revise. Schools don’t always have the capacity to do that.

We are hugely excited to be part of Aidan’s vision and Sharpen’s growth and will be making the transition from whatever online platform Community Members use to Sharpen an easy and effective one.

With new features rolling in all the time, Sharpen continues to grow around its customers’ needs, building on the feedback received.

Aidan is currently in beta testing and is offering Sharpen for free to any QT tutor, in exchange for a bit of feedback.

To help new and future users understand how Sharpen works, Aidan has put together a series of 90-second videos on every feature – watch it below:

To find out (even) more, email Aidan today at aidan@sharpennotes.com or click the link below.

Ludo Millar
Ludo has been writing for years but, in penning his thoughts around tutoring and learning, he's found a break from note-taking and essay-writing ... thank goodness! Ludo believes it's about time tutors' voices are heard and an open blog with numerous contributors is the best way to make this possible. To write a blog for Qualified Tutor, email him at ludo@qualifiedtutor.org.

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