As most people will admit, taking notes--no matter how much you love a subject--is kind of a snooze fest. Yes, writing things down helps you remember it better, and many of my students are a few years from college and need to practice taking notes for a lecture. Next year, I want to start offering students multiple options for taking notes . . . would they rather do it the old-fashioned way, draw pictures, or just listen and synthesize it all on paper later? Despite this, though, I like finding other ways for my students to take in the knowledge I'm pouring into them.
One alternative to traditional notes I've been using for over a year now is . . . well . . . I haven't really come up with a term for it. I just say we're taking "notes", using my fingers to highlight the quotation marks, and they know what I mean. It's built on the premise that 1) if students are writing while you are talking, they're not really hearing you ( scientific research confirms that you cannot truly multi-task, except maybe if one of your activities is some monotonous task that takes no thought), and 2) that students should take their new knowledge and immediately do something with it to help it stay in their heads. I give the students a "notes" sheet, but they don't actually write anything while I'm talking (unless they want to); the "notes" sheet is for the activities they will do during the notes. When I make my slideshow, I find three to four good stopping points where I let the kids work on an activity that uses the terms/skills I just discussed. After two-ish minutes, we come together and discuss the answers, and then I continue with the next section and repeat the process until the end, where they complete an exit ticket.
One reason I like this approach to note-taking is that, as I stated before, the students get to use the new terms quickly and under my guidance so that they not only establish the necessary connections to solidify their learning, but I can address any misconceptions right away. There will always be students that still don't understand something a few weeks down the road, but I've seen fewer mistakes made because they've used the skills so quickly. Another reason I like using these kinds of notes when the students need to take in a lot of new information is that the students don't spend the entire time on the edge of a mid-day nap or sneakily staring at their phone. Because they stop at regular intervals and get a little time to move, write, and think a little, they're paying more attention and utilizing the new content in a memorable way.
Essentially, you'll create an Iron Chef Google Slides template--like this one--and give each group (probably no more than two or three) one slide to write about a subtopic within the unit you are covering. Each slide has a title text box, a summary text box, a place for a picture, and a place for a GIF. Typically, you'll give students 10 minutes to fill out their slide and decorate it however they wish; this works best if each group member is in charge of one part of the slide. When the 10 minutes are up, you'll have everyone close the Chromebook (or you'll unshare the slide) so they can't edit it any further, and then you have each group present their slide so they're presenting new information to each other.
This activity is best if you want a break from standing in front of the class and want to give students a chance to find the information themselves and present it. It also has a bit of a competitive air, as you can have students vote on the best slide and give a reward.
I won't lie and say that this is fool-proof; because you have multiple students on the same slideshow, you'll have problems with slow loading, accidental whole-presentation background changes, and, of course, people intentionally sabotaging others' slides. You may want to do a practice-run activity before you use this for actual notes the first time. This way, you can practice/reinforce the procedures and help students get used to collaborating and creating on Google Slides. You will probably want to keep an alternative activity or note-taking strategy on hand in case your students want to mess around and ruin the activity; usually, once you take away the fun activity once, your students will cooperate a little better the next time . . . I may or may not know from experience. ;)
Teaching strategies that are both enjoyable and education? What more could a teacher want (besides longer weekends and more money)? ;)