All the world’s information today can be found in video format. With video learning having become the new norm for many, from students in distance learning to self-taught developers, this phenomenon has given rise to many inefficiencies. Students tend to zone out, get distracted, and/or lose focus over long videos, and it’s a problem our team can identify with as students ourselves.
Currently, students wanting to take notes while video learning must multitask using word documents such as Google Docs. However, when watching longer videos illustrating more technical concepts, students may want to rewatch certain parts of the video. If students wanted to keep track of when their notes were taken during the video, they would have to pause the video to type the timestamp in, cutting the flow of the video and shifting their focus to completing their notes rather than actually absorbing the information. Furthermore, this tendency to continually pause and unpause the video increases the chances of getting distracted. This is where our solution comes into play.
Our project, notebooks plus, allows users to take notes more efficiently to support their video learning. In the form of an accessible chrome extension, we’ve included the most coveted features of current softwares, such as organization and flashcard learning, while adding our own elements of time stamped notes and a customizable user-interface. In the future, we plan on changing our notepad from a web app to a popup, so users can take notes from their full screened videos. We also plan on automating the “Tasks” feature, so the extension can automatically add video names and URLs. Furthermore, we hope to add more ways to customize our user experience, including a dark mode feature and stickers, to fully cater to the aesthetic preferences of each unique individual. Finally, we plan on refactoring our code.
After downloading the extension, users are presented with this screen, where they can view their current notes and active tasks. The user can then create a notebook, which is used to hold similar subject matter together for simple access and organization.
Afterwards, they can queue up as many videos as they need to watch for class by clicking “Add new video” and pasting in a video and title. Afterwards, they simply need to click this white button and it will automatically redirect them to the video and enter focus mode.
During this mode, the user is unable to exit the video by means of clicking another video, trying to navigate to the homepage or even manually changing the URL. This is to help students focus and prevent them from going off-topic through YouTube’s recommended videos, as I’m sure we all have.
The student, now motivated to take notes as they cannot do anything else, can click on “take notes” to enter our innovative note editor. Here, they can take timestamped videos that change in real-time based on the time of the video. Simply starting the video and starting the timer will allow for this to happen. As notes are taken, they are held in the same timestamp until the user hits enter twice, in which it will automatically create a new timestamp at the time they hit enter. Users now have an automated way of knowing exactly where their notes came from in the video without any extra effort from them.
In case the user enjoys double speed or slower videos, the timer can be altered to fit any speed of video and the timestamps will still be automated accordingly.
The note editor and all components are also scalable and dynamic to fit users with any screen size or who prefer a larger/smaller video.
After they are finished, they click “Done Note” and choose the notebook in which their note is to be deposited. The student can view all of their notes in a clear, cohesive manner in “all notebooks”, allowing for a more organized look instead of messy Google Drive folders. Lastly, students can create flashcards to review content they’re unsure of. They are all stored in the corresponding notebook and change on hover.
In the future, we plan on changing our notepad from a web app to a popup, so users can take notes from their full screened videos. We also plan on automating the “Tasks” feature, so the extension can automatically add video names and URLs. Furthermore, we hope to add more ways to customize our user experience, including a dark mode feature and stickers, to fully cater to the aesthetic preferences of each unique individual. Finally, we plan on refactoring our code.