Summarizing is the process in which a piece of content is shortened. When some text is summarized, it means that it is shortened in such a way that the original stays preserved, but the main idea is conveyed.

For students, summarizing can be useful in different situations. It can be a handy skill for them to learn.

In this post, we’re going to be looking at a few different instances and places in education where summarizing can be useful.

How is Summarizing Done?

Before we get to that, let’s first take a look at how summarizing is done.

Summarizing is basically of two types.

  1. One type is called extractive summarization. In this type of summarization, sentences and phrases from the original text are used hence the name. Basically, during the extractive summarization process, meaningful sentences from the original text are taken and joined together. This creates a summary that conveys the main idea of the text, but it’s not exactly something different.
  2. The other type of summarization is called abstractive summarization. In this process, the summary is formed using new and unique words instead of the ones in the original content. The idea and meaning of the summary reflect that of the main content, but the wording, etc., is different.

Now coming to the methods used for creating the summaries themselves, there are two. Summaries are either made manually, i.e., by a person, or with the help of an online summarizing tool. This detail is worth remembering because we’ll keep referencing back to it time and again throughout the article.

Uses of Summarizing in Education

Now let’s take a look at some instances where summarizing can be useful in education.

  1. Shortening lecture notes

Teachers typically deliver long lectures. An average class period is around an hour, which means there’s a lot that they have to say.

Encapsulating the entire lecture and storing it in the form of perusable and comprehensible notes is not easy. Either the note-taking can become too long of a process, or the notes themselves can become too short. And due to this, important details of the lecture can get lost.

Summarizing can be a useful technique here. Students can summarize the lecture to preserve its main crux while also shortening it enough to be readable. They can, for example, take the actual lecture notes from their teacher(s) and then summarize them using an online summarizing tool. A more active way of doing the same things is to listen to the lecture while it’s underway and then only note down the meaningful and important statements.

  1. For testing reading and thinking ability

This is a perk from the teacher’s perspective.

Shortening lecture notes

Summarizing involves reading a piece of text and then shortening it to retain the main idea/concept. When done by a person (and not by an automated tool), it requires quite a bit of attention and concentration. The idea of the content has to be properly understood, and all the details have to be comprehended so that the summary is formed with all the proper points included.

Teachers can give their students a piece of text and then ask them to summarize it. The more accurately and concisely a student summarizes the text, the more able they’ll be. This can be a short and easy way for teachers to access their students.

  1. To create abstracts, excerpts, conclusions, and introductions (using summarizers)

 Abstracts, excerpts, conclusions, and introductions are liberally used in academic writing.  Students can find themselves having to write these whenever they prepare an assignment.

These types of text, e.g., abstracts and the like, are usually the reflections of a bigger piece of content. They more or less convey the same idea as the bigger content, albeit in a shorter form.

Shortening lecture notes

Instead of struggling to create them from scratch every time, students can do a little summarizing instead. They can take the actual content – be it an assignment or an essay, etc. – and then summarize it using an online tool.

They can then use this summary wherever they need to provide an excerpt or an abstract, etc.


So, there you have it.

There are, of course, many other instances and scenarios where summarizing can be highly useful. The three we mentioned above are some of the main ones we could think of.

It can pay off to know how to properly summarize content and it can likewise pay off to have a good summarizing tool available at hand for the same job.

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