Using Technology for Note-Taking & Organization

Readily available technology and programming to use to take notes in a middle, high school and college setting. Be organized! Light weight backpack!

While I have always been a big supporter of using any type of technology for taking notes and keeping things organized, I have never really pushed being so cost conscious.  In this economy, things are tough.  In addition, students are being inundated with more and more information.  Often, more information than any one student is able to keep track of.  So how do we help our kids keep track of it all and minimize the cost? 

We can use a variety of apps that are currently available for note-taking, calendars, checklists and assignments.  My personal favorite for note-taking is Microsoft One Note.  One Note comes in the package with all levels of Microsoft Office.  One Note is easy to set-up, has pre-made templates or you can easily create new templates.  There are options for typing, handwriting, drawing, scanning, photographing, video and audio to include in each notebook.  You can sync One Note to your cell phone via a Windows Live Messenger account.  I really like the ability to be able to carry information with me where ever I go. 

If One Note is not an option, then there is Evernote [http://evernote.com/].  Evernote is free and has similar abilities and also has an assignment feature that can be downloaded and integrated called EverStudent.  In addition, Penultimate is another feature that can be downloaded which allows you to draw and handwrite notes.  Unlike One Note, with Evernote, you need to download the features that you would like separately. 

The best thing about One Note and Evernote is that you can set up notebooks for each subject just like the paper version.  The benefit is that you can scan or photograph handouts to include in each notebook in sequence with your notes. 

Evernote is available for an iPad as is One Note.  Sadly, as of this writing, I am unsure when or if Microsoft Office will be available for the iPad.  Not to worry though, Google Chrome is available for the iPad and that means that all the Google Apps should be too! 

I love Google Apps, to say the least.  Once you download the Google Drive, click on ‘create.’  You then have access to word processing software, spreadsheet, presentation and drawing software.  You can upload documents that you already have on your computer and scan additional documents to upload as well. 

I often think of the student, struggling with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), who cannot locate the homework assignment that needs to be turned in today.  What if the assignment was scanned and


uploaded to Google the night before?  Wow!  That student would be able to use the teacher’s computer or go to the Library during lunch, down load/print the scanned assignment and hand it in without losing points.  Google saves the day! 

Now we need to consider the equipment components of this plan.  Most tablets and iPads can handle the software recommended.  Here is what becomes important: 

  1.  If you consider using a stylus for handwriting notes, you need a device that is touch sensitive.
  2. You may want to consider using a keypad for keyboarding so that is an added expense.
  3. If you plan on photographing or scanning notes, additional equipment is again required.  Most printers are multifunctional so that a scanner is generally built it.  Check the documentation for your peripheral device to find out for sure.  You may need to have access to your Google Drive at home to download and upload documents.
  4. While some lucky schools/districts are able to supply iPads, tablets or laptops to students, most do not and it is up to the parent to purchase such a device.  You know your child best.  Don’t forget the heavy duty case and a keyboard. 

A few other things to consider: 

  1. Most schools do not allow access to G-mail but do allow access to the Google Drive.  Check with your school to make sure and encourage the district to allow this access if they do not.  Google does provide free apps for education and for your school.  [http://www.google.com/enterprise/apps/education/]
  2. Scanning, uploading and downloading require adult supervision.
  3. Parents need to monitor their child’s G-mail account for any inappropriate content/contacts

Consider using technology that allows your child access to his or her books [they often come with additional study aids that are typically not available with the textbook].  Kno.com allows access to your child’s textbooks [which parents purchase], with this access comes Teacher Lecture Notes, flash cards and additional programming that allows your child to interact with the information and share it with peers.  Kno.com programing is free, the books are not.  Think of how much less that backpack would weigh if there were only an iPad in it.  

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Patrick Aievoli January 04, 2013 at 05:20 PM
i agree. Been using tech in ed for 25 years. The time has come. Please checkout honorscholar.com to see if you think it would be great to use those resources and then capture the generated revenue and return it to the school districts? Google is great but the SDs need funding.
Eleanor Cawley January 04, 2013 at 06:59 PM
I think that the parents should provide the technology [most kids already have iPads] and purchase the e-books at a discounted price. I think that the technology used in school should be available throughout each aspect of life. If a parent contributes by purchasing technology and books, it would allow more updated materials each year. If the district obtains an account through something like Kno.com, then the books could be purchased or maybe rented for a nominal fee [possibly]. May be the school could get the students a discount on the iPads as well, buying in bulk. The money saved by not buying textbooks or copying handouts could be better spent on continuing ed for teachers, other technology resources, etc. I know that it my be difficult for some families to do this but there are grant programs out there. We are in a time for re-invention and that goes to SDs too. I realize that there will always be some students who toss the iPad [like homework] but we need to move forward. I know that some of my OT brothers and sisters out there will say but what about handwriting? Handwriting is very important and can be done with a stylus using Penultimate and Evernote. I did look at honorscholar.com but was not really sure of what I was looking at. Can you explain? Thanks for your comments Happy New Year
Patrick Aievoli January 04, 2013 at 07:16 PM
Sure and I agree with above. honorscholar.com is a student portal. It is both a local/global resource that each school district would use. The site would be customized for that SDistrict - colors, imagery, photos, etc. The left hand side is user generated (local) for the SD. The right hand side of the nav menu is the global info. That generates revenue. Each district site - would have the look of that SD. All school extra curricular activities would get posted by SD staff or coaches or club advisors, etc. Career opps and "future majors" would be sponsored by local or global industries. 70% of all revenue generated would go back to that SDistrict after operating expenses. This would buy the technology for the SD families who could not afford it or whatever else the SD needs - up to the SD how to distribute. Many districts are investigating Ed Funds, however they are using traditional analog means to generate. Using the power of social commerce via social media to generate shared funding for SD around the country. There are 12 revenue streams available. I've been building this kind of stuff for a long time but now - need has met means - and it is time to go forward IMHO. Would love more comments about this. Need to start a conversation with the Ed community. I truly appreciate your comments so far. Thanks again.
Eleanor Cawley January 05, 2013 at 08:17 PM
I love anything tech and organizational. If the students can log on and get handouts, assignments, notes, etc., that would be awesome. It would pull the parent in more since the work would be easily accessible and never, ever lost! We still have a way to go but everyone's input counts! Good Luck! I would love to see this up close and personal.
Patrick Aievoli January 05, 2013 at 08:50 PM
Just go on. For the moment it is wide open since no real proprietary anything. Today with open-source there are no more barriers to entry. If you want I can set you up as a user and you can actually post and do pretty much whatever you wish by adding content. The goal is to skin this for any school and set-up a sub domain for that school. This is the model then we customize for the school district. Then the more they use it the more revenue is generated the more goes to the school. Send me an email via the contact button and I'll set you up. Would love to hear your comments as a tech and as a parent and a resident. Hey why should FaceBook keep all the money? It should be used for education where it originally came from - no?


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