Take notes and navigate videos with VideoNot.es
UPDATE: 29 Oct. 2015. This service was down for a time and is now back up and running.
VideoNot.es is a tool that lets you take notes while watching a video. It’s Google Drive App that works on all browsers and was designed for students and educators. Your notes are saved in Google Drive, so you need a Google account to use VideoNot.es. The tool works on Mac, Windows, and Unix, but it’s not iPad friendly (yet). The software was created by UniShared, a French startup supported by Silicon Valley ed tech accelerator Imagine K12.
How it works
- Load a video on the left side of the screen by entering its web address
- Type notes on the right side. Each entry is synced to the point where the video was playing (or paused) when it was entered.
- Give your notes document a title and save it.
- Share the notes online or use them in class. Click a note to move to the point in the video where you made the note.
Five Ideas for Applying VideoNote.es in a Course
- Annotate a captured lecture or create a table of contents
- Create a video viewing guide for students with prompts like
- Note ‘X’ here – why is that happening?”
- Build an assignment with instructions like:
- Find a spot in the video where ‘X’ happens and do ‘Y’
- Make a note where you see ‘X’ and apply it to ‘Y’
- Insert two questions based on our discussion of ‘X’
- Use it to help navigate class presentations of documentaries and other long videos.
- Take advantage of the sharing features of Google Drive
- Share your notes with students
- Ask students to share notes with you
- Have groups collaborate on notes
I could not find a definitive list of compatible video sources, but they include YouTube, Vimeo, TED, Khan Academy, Coursera, Udacity,and EdX (there seems to be a connection between VideoNot.es and MOOC providers). I tried a random QuickTime stream hosted on our campus and it didn’t work. It must require a certain type of video stream, but there’s no documentation to tell you what that might be.
I used VideoNot.es to create a set of notes in Chrome and didn’t have to install anything. Then I moved over to Firefox to view a public set of notes; I had to log into Google first, but then it looked as if something needed to be installed. All I really needed was select “Open with > VideoNot.es”. In the end, it worked fine in Chrome, Firefox, and Safari on my Mac.
Right now, the website is in beta form. I expect it will evolve quickly, though, since it is bound to become a popular tool. Every time you open the app it creates a new document, whether you enter something or not, so you may end up with several “Untitled Documents” in your Google Drive space. There’s no “who we are” page, not even a “what is this?” I found that VideoNot.es would not connect with my institutional Google Drive account; but our IT people are fussy about security. Finally, there’s an odd quirk where the Google sharing screen lists a Unishared address as a collaborator. If you delete it, other people can access the notes via Google Drive, but can’t open them using the folder icon in VideoNot.es.