Monday, March 9, 2015

Study Tips: Notetaking - iPad Style

Last spring, my parents got me an IPad for Chrisrmas and it completely changed how I take notes and approach my classes. The first week, I basically was too excited to have a computer basically in class with me. After the settling in period, I started using this app called Notability to take my notes for class. It's like a virtual binder with sections and dividers for each subject. As you can see above, under the divider of Spring 2015, I have each subject I take. I color code them to the same color as I write everything in my planner. 

Taking notes is very simple. For most of my classes, we are provided power points and I take my notes on those. It is very easy to download everything for Angel. You must open the file in Safari and tell the iPad to open in Notability.The app uses Google Docs to convert the files to PDF if they are not in that form and loads them into the subject. Then, you can write on slides from class with a stylus and type using the keyboard using the T on the top of the sheet. 

I also use this app for anything I would require a notebook or looseleaf paper in class. You can write notes on plain paper and insert them into your slides - this is extremely helpful when trying to write down long examples or for notes that leave very little space to write. Above, my teacher did a blackboard example and I pressed the little blue plus on the right, added a page below to finish the example and did not have to rearrange anything to keep it all in one file.

You can also record the lecture - I always do this with math classes or more theory based classes to help me understand better. By tapping the microphone at the top, you can record the lecture, pause and stop recording very easily. When you play it back, it only highlights what you were writing at the time of the recording to make it really easy to refer between the text you wrote and what the instructor was saying at the time. 

Another great use of this app is like a great deposit for all material related to the subject. I usually take files from the Penn State library that I scanned in or downloaded and add them to my subjects. I also save free textbooks to my subject folders in Notability and scan papers in handed out in class so I do not lose them. All of this I can annotate to my heart's desire and make sure I understand the subject more clearly. Above is a textbook I found that I needed for my senior project and now I do not have to take the book out again or worry about losing my notes on the chapter I was reading.

In total, I believe that this app is the best one to use for taking notes because it has so many great features. I did not even talk about how to make figures, insert photos from the lecture or the zoon function to make writing formulas or small things easier. You pick these things up as you use the app more! My IPad was a game changer for me in class and though it was an amazing gift from my parents, technology helps to facilitate better learning for me by providing space where I can organically write my notes and save them in an organized way! If you ever have any questions on how to use this app, check the help forums online that are super super helpful or please email me :)

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