10 notable note-taking apps
Today’s students have replaced a once-bulky backpack with a sleek laptop bag or even a tablet case. Three-ring binders and stacks of Composition notebooks are quickly being replaced by digital notes of all sorts—so it shouldn’t be any surprise that when it comes to taking notes, yes, there’s an app for that (quite a few actually). The last few years have witnessed new apps popping up to help people organize information about school, work and more. We've put together a list of 10 innovative note-taking apps so you can figure out which ones would work for you.
- Awesome Note is an iOS app that's been honored with a spot in the Apple App Store Hall of Fame. Even though it boasts a note-taking feature with word-processor quality, Awesome Note bills itself as a full-tilt "organizer of your life." It supports sync with Google Docs, the iPhone's built in calendar and a drag-and-drop list management system.
- Bamboo Paper is a cross-platform note-taking app that uses the Wacom Bamboo tablet to interface with your Mac or PC. The "digital paper" feel can be a big plus for students who prefer hand-writing homework and don't want the extra step of typing out their assignments. Bamboo Paper also has an iPad version and supports projector connection, so you can use your notes directly in presentations.
- Drafts is promoted as a quick, easy and affordable iOS app for capturing and sharing text. Drafts features link functionality to Dropbox and Evernote, as well as forwarding to other apps like Twitter and Echofon. The app also supports live word and character counts, and Markdown Language support for HTML previews. With this tool, you can use your iPad to write assignments on the go.
- Notability brings PDF annotation, word processing and linked audio recording to the table, making it a feature-rich option for the iPad. Auto-sync with the cloud is designed to make sure that your data is never lost, and media insertion capability helps you switch from taking notes to composing presentations.
- Notes Plus takes the standard feature of handwriting capture to the next level, integrating user interface elements and making use of a vector-based graphic interface for scaling. Another iOS tool with implications for online learning, Notes Plus lets you drag graphic, audio and textual elements from external websites to your digital notepad, so you can upload course material.
- Noteshelf sports multiple notebooks and a drag-and-drop organization interface to help you keep them all straight on your iPad. The set of 20 note templates can help you switch from a simple ruled notebook to a personal journal, a day planner or sheet music staff paper. A rich collection of pens, erasers and highlighters comes with the app, and numerous professionally designed templates and notebook covers are available so you can express your personal style.
- Penultimate by Evernote can be treated like a virtual backpack. This iPad tool can manage many notebooks, and it allows copy/pasting and reorganization of notes from one notebook to another. Pick from photorealistic paper styles to match the character of your project. Automatic Wrist Protection mode also helps make sure your finger does all the talking.
- Pop by Minimal Tools lives up to its company's name. A simple, functional, no-nonsense note-taking app for both iPhone and iPad, Pop lets you make notes without distractions from bothersome features. After you tap in your text, you can read it and then erase it or move it to your document. Minimal Tools says that the lack of a save feature encourages quality and focus, helping you zero in on getting it right the first time around.
- Taposé was inspired by Microsoft's discontinued Courier dual-screen tablet project. Available for iOS only, Taposé divides the iPad screen in two and lets you work in both panes at once. Along with this innovative design angle, multitaskers may enjoy the ability to capture Web media plus rich text editing and formatting features. Share your ideas through PDFs in email, or you can connect to Evernote or Dropbox.
- WorkFlowy is essentially a list-making app, but its functionality can be a blessing to the pathologically organized. If you prefer making outlines to taking notes in blocks of text, or if you have to keep track of assignment information in nested lists, this might be the app for you. Check out the blog for tricks, for example, how to search your account like a ninja. WorkFlowy could also serve as a tool for online education in that it's Web-based, not a download, and can be accessed from devices with an Internet connection.
These note-taking apps prove the power of educational technology. Just as online schools increase your scheduling flexibility, these apps give you different ways to learn and share. Especially for busy people balancing work and studies, these options could be brain savers and life organizers. Less than 10 years ago, pens and paper were still the most popular way to jot stuff down. With all this EdTech innovation, are pen and paper becoming dinosaurs?