Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Notetaking on iPads

Yesterday I experimented with having students take notes on the iPads.

I initially thought that notetaking with the iPads was unrealistic, and while I still think that it won't become a daily thing for us, there are some benefits to having it as an option.

We used the app Noterize (which I really like - very user-friendly with a lot of capabilities) in combination with the website dropbox.

One barrier to notetaking on the iPads was the fact that each student does not have his or her own personal iPad. How will the notes get from the shared device to a personal device or binder? We solved this problem with dropbox. Dropbox is an online storage service that allows you to store up to 2 GB for free. Noterize has a built-in way to download or upload photos from Dropbox.

The reason why I decided to use the iPads for this particular set of notes is because we were looking at several large graphs and word problems. Instead of photocopying several pages for students, I thought it would be easier to have them write on a set of slides with the graphs that I have created.

Students downloaded a PDF with the slides on them (the notes outline), then were able to take notes on the screen. They then uploaded their finished version of the notes to their own dropbox account.

The notetaking process went OK - as always, there are a few kinks to work out. Like any new skill, writing on the iPads by hand takes some getting used to, which means that taking notes took longer than I would have liked. However, because it is so simple to erase and because there are so many colors to use, I found most students took much neater, clearer notes than normal. 

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