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🌲Using Obsidian for Teaching?

For the most part, my teaching notes are very simple and low-tech. But Obsidian was helpful when I was allowed to use it.

Eleanor Konik
Written by Eleanor Konik

I write stories & articles inspired by all eras of history & science... so I wind up putting notetaking software like Obsidian & Readwise thru their paces.

7 min read.
🌲Using Obsidian for Teaching?

Andy Matuschak famously pointed out that people who write extensively about notetaking rarely have a serious context for use. A popular Reddit thread awhile back complained about all the people talking about how to use Obsidian for content creation instead of all the other things people like to take notes about. And people periodically ask me whether I'll teach my students how to use Obsidian. Given all that, I thought I'd talk about I use Obsidian for my day job.

As a disclaimer, I do have to admit that IT blocked Obsidian about a week into work, which was super annoying, but since I still managed to download all the files from my vault and use them anyway, and I still have access thru my mobile devices, I still feel justified in talking about it for the Obsidian Roundup.

If anything, it's proof of concept for how future-proof my notes are, haha.

Lesson Planning

Unlike most teachers around the world, my district provides me with a generally decent curriculum, so planning is relatively straightforward. I always know what topics I'm supposed to be teaching in a given week and what the point of the lessons are supposed to be. I'm always provided with resources for learning the content and sample lessons to use as a base for my students.

The curriculum is provided as a Word document, so I can add comments to it and edit it as needed, which is nice even though Office products get a bad reputation in our circles. Since the alternative is for it to be on a static website, or a PDF, or have it tucked away in a content management system that I can't edit or comment on or make copies of, or only get a paper copy, I'm fine with it. I don't dislike Word at all – it's very good at what it does, which is be a high-fidelity way of rendering what something will look like when printed, and since I print out paper copies of most assignments for my students, this is better than markdown for that purpose.

I don't need LaTeX to teach high school social studies. That would be like driving a formula 1 race car to buy groceries. In a similar vein, I don't need a zettelkasten to plan out 2-3 hours worth of lessons a week. I don't do a lot of lecturing; mostly, I'm putting together assignments geared at teaching my students how to understand a particular thing.

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