Note Apps: Which Should You Choose?

Note Apps: Which Should You Choose?

So much of our lives now revolve around the electronic device in our pocket or on our desk, which makes it all the more surprising that most of us still rely on technology that is hundreds of years old for making notes – pen and paper. Communicating with colleagues, organising our diaries, or catching up on some TV – the digital age has revolutionised all of these things, so why not note-taking?

Many may find it hard to adapt and miss the instantaneous freedom of ink on paper, but for ‘digital natives’ – the students in your classroom – it is second nature to reach for their phone or tablet before anything else. So is it time to finally replace your notebooks, scraps of paper and sticky notes with an app, and encourage your students to do the same in the classroom?

There is a proliferation of note apps available, so which should you choose? We’ve compared the features of the three best-known to give you a head start.

Depending on your individual needs, you may find that the simple note style of Google Keep keeps you organised, or you might find uses for the more sophisticated structure and capacities of Evernote or OneNote. If you want to try them out, all three apps are available for Android and iOS devices, alongside web-based platforms, and are free to download.

In addition to the Basic free version that we’ve included in our comparison, Evernote also provides two paid packages offering extra functionality (offline access, extra search capabilities, presentation formats and PDF annotation amongst others), more information on the Evernote website.
For integrating with your colleagues and students, a special mention has to go to OneNote, who have developed Class and Staff Notebooks specifically for educational applications (see their OneNote in Education blog for more ideas). If your institution can get on board, then this could be a great overall solution.

For users of CSE’s education portal Magellan, notes taken in all three apps can be saved to your network Home Directory using the Open with Magellan function – another great way to share and access information from any device, at any time.

Digital note taking tools have developed to be far more than just a collection of electronic sticky notes cluttering up your desktop rather than your desk. Maybe now is the time to catch up with the ‘digital natives’ in your classroom and get organised online?

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