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How I Use App-Based Note Taking to Take Notes

I personally enjoy the freedom of app-based note-taking.  When taking notes on pen and paper, my notes were often difficult to read and covered with residue from my eraser.  Since transitioning to taking notes on my iPad, my notes have become legible and vastly more organized. The application that I prefer to take notes with is Notability, the primary benefit of Notability is Note Replay. Note Replay allows you to record notes as you write them, then afterward you can tap where you wrote and hear the exact audio from the time that you recorded it.   At the bottom of this article, I added links to purchase Notability for $9.99.

The device that I prefer to use is an iPad Pro with an Apple Pencil, I chose this combination because it provides all the benefits of app-based note taking with the feeling of writing on a piece of paper.

An additional benefit of Notability is that it will transfer notes to your iPhone or Mac if you have enough iCloud storage image of notes using Notabilityand have the app installed on another device. On the left is an example of a note I took in an Economics class.

When taking notes on an iPad with a stylus, it gives you the benefit of an infinite number of colors to add to your notes. A study suggests that using red in your notes can help you better remember information.

The speed at which you can take notes is also improved as well. I am able to take notes much faster than if I were using pen and paper. I can write quicker and use as much space as is necessary for me to take the best notes.  

I have heard arguments advocating for increased or decreased use of technology in the classroom. I personally believe schools should find a tablet and stylus that are able to replicate a notebook and pencil.  I predict that the organizational benefit will lead to an increase in information recall and test scores. I feel implementing technology in higher grades (10 and up) would minimize the risk to become distracted.


  • Notability is available on the Mac and IOS app store for $9.99
  • To download notability for iOS devices: here
  • To download notability for Mac: here

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Tags: notes, school


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Comment by Jennifer Mundl on December 11, 2018 at 10:41am

You mention using red highlight which is good if there is not colorblind conditions. Have you tried other emphasis or highlighting options or annotate as I have found them useful. Also, I have used the Ipad but more people are starting to use android devices.

Comment by Jennifer Mundl on December 4, 2018 at 11:40am

One more question? I was wondering how this compares to using Evernote and is it is you access overall whenever you need it or is it more of a standalone system?

Comment by Jennifer Mundl on November 18, 2018 at 10:07am

Your recommendations have worked with many of my students in the high school and adult arena. We also are using Ever note for note taking across many different platforms and keeping everything synchronized.

Comment by Nikki Abramson on September 17, 2018 at 5:59pm

I find this interesting esp with illustration. Do you have experience with non mac or iphone? 

Comment by Katie Burger on August 30, 2018 at 7:27pm

Thanks for sharing! This has also inspired me to look into purchasing Notability for use in meetings I attend at work. I think it would definitely help me keep my notes more organized...my current system involves multiple half started notebooks. I would love to see Notability create an Android compatible app, though.

Comment by Great Lakes ADA Center on August 29, 2018 at 2:19pm

Yes, I agree, at least for me Notablity is more useful.  Thanks Sammy!

Comment by Sammy Abeje on August 28, 2018 at 2:51pm

Hi Janet, the closest app that I found is EverNote, but I think that Notability does a better job at the organization of your notes.

Comment by Adrienne Kleinman on August 28, 2018 at 5:43am

Sammy, thank you for sharing! You've inspired me to want to look into purchasing Notability. It really sounds like a fantastic tool with a lot of benefits.   

Comment by Great Lakes ADA Center on August 27, 2018 at 4:45pm

Sammy, I love Notability and am glad you've highlighted it.  Do you know of a similar note taker for the Android platform?

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