In my time as a student, I have explored countless learning techniques, resources, and technologies. I’ve done everything from conventional note-taking on paper to typing on a computer. There was always one note-taking strategy that stood out from all of the others for me, however. I saw a few other students using it and was immediately fascinated. This technique allows for the versatility of handwritten notes with the versatility of cloud storage and computerized note taking. I’m talking about using a tablet or 2-in-1 computer to take notes in-class with a stylus. As a long-time student, I’m convinced that this is the note-taking method of the future. This is how tech-savvy students will get an edge in 2019 and beyond.
What device to use?
With the competitive and quickly advancing field of tablets churning out more powerful models every few months, it’s never been a better time to be a consumer of 2-in-1 computers and tablets. For example, the ipad pro has just released a new model, and the Microsoft Surface Pro 6 is its main competitor. Additionally, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 is a very affordable Android option.
Consider the following comparison:
(note that with the ipad Pro, an Apple pencil will be required for the full experience)
In my opinion, here are the strongest points for each:
- Has the best screen and the best stylus. Best for drawing and honestly, the best overall for solely taking notes. Many of my classmates use ipads.
- Runs Windows. Has a great keyboard and trackpad that are also usable.
- Cheapest and best value tablet with a stylus. Quality of screen and stylus do not compare to Apple or Microsoft. Also, runs Android, which you could love or hate.
So, it’s that simple. Grab a tablet or 2-in-1 computer if you’re a student. Use it to completely replace your conventional note-taking and greatly improve your studying and information retention. It’s really a convenient, practical, and affordable option!
What app to use?
There is only one app that is king for note taking on a tablet or 2-in-1: Evernote. Evernote has an app for every device type. Check out the link below, along with a handy book on how to use it.
Evernote is absolutely awesome. It has tons of templates and notebooks for whatever standardized note taking you could want. It also has full advanced pdf reader capabilities. This means you can search through pdfs and other documents for content and draw directly on top of them. Evernote provides a massive amount of note-taking versatility and is widely considered the best note-taking app.
How to use it?
Because of the versatility of Evernote, the usability of the system as a whole is based upon your personal preferences and the tools that your professor provides. In general, there are two possibilities:
- Your professor provides note templates such as slides, outlines, follow-along notes, or some other template material. In this case, convert the material to a pdf and use an Evernote template to write directly on or “nearby” the given material. This way, when you review, you can view the filled-in template notes or the given outline along with the exact specific notes that you wrote alongside them in class.
- Your professor lectures or uses private slides/templates. In other words, you’re given nothing, and it’s an old-school note-taking experience. In this case, choose your favorite Evernote template or notebook style and take notes “freehand”. Be sure to follow some good note-taking guidelines and build your own note-taking style for easy reviewing later.
If you’re not quite in the market for a conventional laptop for school, you may not be in the minority for much longer, in my opinion. Tablets are a great option that not only cuts down on bulky notebooks and reduces the amount of paper cluttered everywhere, but they also provide a superior overall note-taking experience. In my years studying computer science, I saw the popularity of the tablet/2-in-1 Evernote machine steadily increase over time. These systems saved time and hassle for my peers when reviewing and studying their notes later. I am confident that all students, tech-savvy or not, will gain a significant edge by using these note-taking methods in the future.
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