By Henry Furman
As the iPad continues to trickle into every little niche of productivity you never thought it would, more and more students, from grade school to grad school, are finding it conducive to learning. Whether it’s Apple’s launching of iBooks Textbooks or the countless number of flashcard apps that make Spanish vocabulary a little less painless, iPads have asserted themselves at the forefront of educational technology. But what makes iPads most attractive to students is note taking. Organization, simplicity and security make the iPad hard to compete with. Here’s five of our favorite apps for those of us who will never buy another Moleskine.
Apple’s version of Microsoft Word is a good start. If you know you’re going to be exclusively typing your notes, this is a good option. Actually typing notes, say, during a lecture can be tricky though. The “Tab” function takes a few taps to execute, far too long to be efficient. But seamless integration iWork and Apple hardware makes Pages a valid iPad note taking client.
For the more interactive pupil, Noteshelf is a stylus-based app that provides a wide selection of pens and highlighters to make your notes look screenshot worthy. The lack of a text input function is a blaring shortcoming, but for students who need to write everything down to retain it, that shouldn’t be a problem.
Noteshelf’s bigger, stronger relative, UPad, is also stylus-based but throws text boxes into the mix. If you’re into visual learning, this could be the app for you. Draw a diagrams, mark up images and if you must, type a few words here and there. A surplus of templates, from monthly planners to doodle-ready landscapes, is an added bonus.
Evernote is different than the rest, but the organization is unmatched. The actual typing interface isn’t that impressive; it’s similar to an email draft. But Evernote automatically syncs all notes to your computer and phone. Need to multitask during lecture? Record the lecture while taking a note here and there. The lecture will be waiting on your computer when you get back to your room.
Everything you need. It takes some practice to master the Notability technique, but once you can navigate the screen quickly, you’ll be just as fast as typing on a computer. Casually alternate between text and scribbling with ease, with the “Tab” function located just above the keyboard. Record sounds, search within documents and send them anywhere you want.
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