I am one of the firm believers that traditional note-taking (using pencil and paper, that is) can never be a thing of the past. There is a lot of brain activity – the processing, synthesizing, and distilling of information – that is going on when we take notes. However, with the cutting-edge technology that drives 21st century learning now, we are provided with several other options to do the same – organize information, look at what’s important, chunk it into several pieces of detailed information, and summarize it – all in many different note-taking formats. And these are all surprisingly easy-to-use digital platforms that allow for a pleasant experience and are accessible to us where ever we go. And the best thing is we can share these notes online – an easy way to collaborate in this global age.
As a teacher and as a parent who has watched my daughter transition from traditional note-taking to digital note-taking when she reached middle-school, here is my stand on this matter: Let our kids master the art of note-taking using pencil and paper. When they reach a stage when they can decide which format works best for them, then let them explore these options. You will find that they will try these note-taking apps on their tablet or laptop, but at the same time, they will still do traditional note- taking. At this day and age, there are so many ways to address their multi-sensory learning styles.
Here is a list of apps that I and my middle-school daughter consider as really good options for note-taking and document-sharing:
1. Wunderlist – This app is perfect for your To-Do Lists. You can create grocery lists, wish lists, and To-Dos and share them with your family, friends or classmates. Another wonderful thing about this is the Comments feature that allows you to talk about your lists with other people. You can even share this with the public so others can discover what other people do, see or make by just clicking the “Discover Lists.” This major multitasker is also free for all your devices.
2. Post-it Plus – Are you using Post-it notes for note-taking during class sessions, meetings, or planning days? Try this Post-it Plus app on any of your IOS devices and take your brainstorming sessions to another level. You can use the app to capture as much as 50 Post-it notes from your collaborative session, then organize your notes on your board, and finally, share your organized board with your teammates. That’s how easy it is.
3. Evernote – This app is completely Universal. With various side apps, such as Skitch and Penultimate, you can do pretty much anything such as save PDF Files, take notes, capture handwritten notes, add pictures and web clippings, and share them with your friends. One best thing is about this is it can transform your notes into a reader-friendly layout.
4. OneNote – This app is on your phone, tablet and computer. Its similar to Evernote but more closely resembles the binders you had as a kid. Its has “Notebooks” and “Sections” with multicolored labels. You can change the font, move the text around, clip webpages, send in an email, share with your friends, make a to-do list with various features, snap pictures, and make handwritten highlights and notes.
5. Simplenote – As the term itself suggests, this app has clean, easy-to-use features, the way note-taking should be. You can back up and sync your notes across all devices and share them with others. Your notes are easily searchable and accessible through tags.
Go ahead, and try these digital note-taking apps!
Happy cold November!