It is official, I am going back to school next year. I couldn’t be more excited to be doing important learning that will make me a better rabbi in both the short and long-term!
Even though it has only been a couple of years since I was in the classroom the technology is radically different. As you probably know, I do most of my reading on an e-reader. My first choice is my Kindle, second choice is the iPad. This is a huge change from my previous student days. I can see there are tremendous benefits to the e-reader. I can search within a text, I can write notes and highlight and then have access to those when constructing papers and other notes. Not only that, I could have fewer books to move! Believe me, if another person comes into my office and stares at my bookshelves agape and says, “are these all really yours?” we could have an issue on our hands. I love my books. I can’t imagine not having them. The idea of giving any away is extremely difficult (and yes I am doing that, too. Bye bye to all fo those books from Brandeis that I’ve been moving around!).
Perhaps the most significant idea that I’m toying with is using a combination of iPad/laptop for note taking in classes coupled with this LiveScribe pen and paper. When I was a HUC student, I did prefer to take notes on my computer because I type much faster then I can write and I find, even now, those notes are highly searchable and therefore usable in my rabbinate. However, several of the professors were vehemently anti-laptop because students also do other things on them. I admit sometimes I did check my email and search the web, however that was when I was bored and my mind was wandering. How different is that then doodling on a notebook? Well this LiveScribe pen and paper might be just the solution. I would still be writing notes. At the same time I could also be recording the lecture and then send the notes to my various web-based storage options (more on this in another post). The challenge with this pen, of course, is that I have to use the LiveScribe paper. I don’t think this is a huge deal breaker for me though, especially because I can see lots of practical applications for this pen and paper in the rabbinate. I can imagine using it when meeting with people to prepare a wedding address or writing a eulogy (I would never record anyone without their permission nor would I publish these recordings in any form. I would use them solely for my own note taking and preparation).
If anyone has experience with a pen like this or a recording device like this, please let me know.
I can’t wait to get back into the classroom and learn so many new things.