I really wish I had my iPad when I was in college and not just so I could waste time watching funny videos while in a boring lecture, but so that I could have used it to take notes in a way that would have helped me a lot more as a learner. While I did have a laptop towards the end of my college times, I did not take it to lectures due to its size and poor battery life (this was the early 2000’s after all).
Yet, today I hear about how some lecturers have issues with students who bring devices to class and become distracted, which I am sure has nothing to do with their “engaging” lecture style. No matter how boring that lecture might be at times, a good learner has to learn how to still be able to help themselves out as best as they can by learning how best to take notes to assist their learning. (Check out my other blog post about note-taking in the 21st century)
My hope is that all of those schools who have a 1 to 1 program where each student is provided a device, also spend time working with them in their classes as they learn how to use the device to help themselves out as much as possible as a learner. I was also pleased when my students would come back from college and tell me how much more prepared they felt to be able to use the technology as an advantage as opposed to as a distraction.
Back to the iPad, the reason I really wish I had my iPad when I was in college was that I have found some great apps that help me take notes when I am learning and by far the best one of them all for me is Notability. Notability is a powerful note-taking app, which is not free but it is worth it, that works on all iOS devices and there is even a Mac OS app. Your notes are synced in the cloud so you can quickly access them across any of your devices (as long as they are iOS or Mac OS). You do not need an Apple Pencil to use the app but a good stylus is a must.
In the video below I go over the basics of the app and how I use the app for my own learning. (The video was created using Intercut which recently had an update that allows for it to be a great screencasting tool, find more about that in my blog post about it.)