Wednesday, May 16, 2012

7 Great Note-taking Tools for Teachers and Students

This is another post that was prompted by a reader's email. The email was looking for a list of recommended note-taking tools. I've reviewed a lot of note-taking tools over the last five years, but I have never made a list. So here's my list of seven great note-taking tools for students and teachers.

InClass is a free iPhone and iPad app that could be a very useful tool for students carrying those devices. InClass provides students with tools for taking text, audio, and video notes. Students can also use the app to take pictures of hand-outs, slides, and other valuable information that they see in class. Taking notes is not all that InClass can be used for. It can also be used as a task management tool to help students keep track of their schedules and due dates. To share notes, images, videos, and schedules students can connect InClass to their Facebook accounts.

Color Note is a simple note-taking app that I've been using on all of my Android phones for the last year (yes, it's been a rough year for phones in my life). Color Note offers a sticky note environment, a calendar option, to do list options, and the option to share your notes via email and sms. Color Note does offer an option to password protect your notes so that even if someone takes your phone, your notes are still protected.

Save Meeting is a meeting recording app for iOS and Android devices. The app allows you to record the audio of your meetings, transcribe the audio, and share the recordings and transcriptions with others. The transcription options that I tried were somewhat limited (30 seconds of automatic transcription and 5 minutes of manual transcription) but should be sufficient for recording quick notes during a meeting. Save Meeting uses a freemium pricing model. At the free level you can save up to 1,000 minutes of audio. offers a simple platform for taking and sharing notes. To use just go to the site and start typing your notes. When you want to share your notes just click "short" to have a shortened url created for sharing on Twitter, Facebook, or wherever else you like. It really couldn't be any simpler to use.

No list of note-taking tools would be complete without mentioning Evernote. Evernote can be used by students to take notes on the web, on their desktops, on their Android devices, and on their iOS devices. Their notes can be automatically synchronized across devices whenever they connect to the web. Notes can include text, images, links, and more. Click here to read about how I am using Evernote.

mySchoolNotebook is a service for taking, saving, and sharing notes online and offline. The basic purpose of mySchoolNotebook is to provide a place that students can take and organize notes from all of their courses. Students can create notebooks for each of their courses to which they add text and image notes. To use mySchoolNotebook you do have to have a Facebook account. By signing into mySchoolNotebook with a Facebook account students are able to connect with and share notebooks with their friends taking the same courses that they are taking. mySchoolNotebook is available to use on the web and as an iPhone/iPad app. Students can export their notebooks as PDFs if they need to have a paper copy of their notes.

If your students are already in the habit of using Google Documents to create documents, presentations, and spreadsheets it just makes sense that they take notes in Google Docs too. Teach your students to create folders for each of their courses to help them keep their notes organized. While the mobile versions of Google Docs aren't perfect, they can be used for some basic viewing and editing.