Taking notes on your computer?

Try these apps

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When I was in school we had to walk across three continents to get to school, make our own textbooks and construct our own environmentally friendly schools. Oh yeah, I also had to learn to take notes. This skill has served me well and over the course of my lifetime my skills have evolved but my choice of median has not. Every time I head to a meeting or workshop, I reach for my trusty notebook and pen/pencil. That’s my preference of course, but there are plenty of people out there who reach for their laptop or iPad. I’ve tried them, but it’s just not for me.

However, if that’s your preference, I’ve compiled a quick list of note taking applications that you should check out. I’ve used all of them and can recommend that they all work pretty well. This is by no means a definitive list but it’s a good place to start. I had two requirements for this list: it had to be free and it has to be simple. Read on past the break to see my choices and don’t forget to add your own choices in the comments. We love to hear what you have to say.

Mac QuickNote

This program is pretty cool and it is what I use for quick notes (that makes sense) of info I need to remember about students and the such. You can download it from the App Store and is totally free. It is incredibly easy to create a note (just click the + sign or hit Cmd + N). You can change the font and size if you like, email and export it as well. There is also a drawer that slides out that shows all your notes. You can sync and save your notes with Diigo and there is even an extension you can add to Chrome. The only thing I wish it had was adding an icon in the menu bar (at the top) to make it easier to create notes. Other than that it’s solid.

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Windows ResophNotes

This is pretty much QuickNote for the windows. It is very simple to create and make notes. The drawer with all your notes is always open on the left, but you can slide the divider to eventually “push” it away. This will give you all the room for your notes. ResophNotes also has an online syncing feature. It syncs with SimpleNote a popular online note syncing website. Like Diigo, it’s free to make an account so all your notes will be forever safe and sound. SimpleNote also has an iPhone and iPad app so you can have your notes in your pocket as well! Also ResophNotes allows you to make tags so that searching through your notes is easy and quick. It also docks in your task bar which means it always near when you need it. Definitely a nice little feature to have handy when you need to write a little something.

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Mac or Windows Evernote

Evernote has been around for a while and is among one of the most popular out there. It is totally free, works across the Mac Windows divide and is very feature rich. Sometimes it is a little too much. I don’t need everything and the kitchen sink when I’m making notes, but that is what Evernote offers. I think it is a good platform that lets you capture images, hyperlinks, photos, GPS data, voice recording, video recording (I think), etc. It’s free but that limits your storage. You have a premium that you can buy for $5/month. There is also iPhone, iPad, and Android, and I think BlackBerry even has an app as well. It is super powerful, pretty easy to use and free. All that you save can be synced with their servers but you can store whatever and as much as you want on your computer. The picture below is of the Mac version. I imagine the Windows version would be nearly identical.

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Mobile devices and online Springpad

If you’re rocking an iDevice or an Android device then this is probably the way to go. Whatever you type on those devices will show up on your online account nearly instantly. You can also access your notes you’ve created or create your own. Like Evernote, ResophNote and QuickNote it is very easy to create, retrieve, add to or edit an existing note. So, if you take notes on your mobile or tablet, this is definitely the app for you. There is even a Chrome Extension for SpringPad (like QuickNote) that you can easily install and use.

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For people like Omar and myself Notebook, pen/pencil

I find that if I’m on my computer taking notes I will find myself tempted to surf, check email/Facebook or do other work. For that reason I prefer to use a notebook. I find it’s easier to keep myself focused on what is happening around me and I find I take better notes when writing as opposed to typing. I don’t know if there are any studies to back this up, but in my experience it is what works for us at IT Babble.

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So just do what works for you. If you have an affinity to work on a computer and your notes digitally, then go that route. I certainly use QuickNote for small notes and reminders, but overall I use the notebook. Just remember that notes are supposed to be helpful, not a hinderance. Let us know what you use. We at IT Babble love comments!

About Patrick Cauley

I teach middle school technology and love to play around with tech and teach students and colleagues alike. You can read my blog at www.itbabble.com
This entry was posted in Helpful Tips and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Taking notes on your computer?

  1. Pingback: Podcast Episode 12 – November 23 | Technology in the Classroom

  2. Pingback: Using Technology for Note Taking « Collaboration with Technology

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