When it comes to taking notes in meetings or school we’re in the middle of a revolution. Paper, pen or pencil has ruled for generations.
If technology is king in the 21st century, why are we still using remnants from trees? It’s time for note taking to move out of the dark ages and into the modern world of Mac, iPad, iPhone. The question is, how? And which device is best? And with audio and video a mere click away, how should notes be taken?
Paper, Pen, Or Pencil—Or Apple?
My husband and I work in a large private school with hundreds and hundreds of Macs and PCs and teachers and students. All of the take notes and most of it is the old fashioned way.
Old fashioned way? That means a tree dies so notes can be taken?
Is there a better way to manage meeting notes and classroom notes using modern technology that we already have?
By modern technology I mean Macs and iPhones and iPads, and taking notes using a combination of text and audio and video and photos and prepared presentations.
In our school, every student and teacher has a Mac or Windows PC, and most of them are notebooks. Many teachers and more than a few students have iPhones (or iPod touch), and we’ve already seen a number of iPads around campus.
Is it time to ditch the tree-killing note taking effort? If so, how?
Mac vs. iPad vs. iPhone
This topic will not go away. Already students and teachers use their Macs and other devices to grab notes or audio clips or even take movies of classroom events.
Last week a teacher asked me to research note taking apps for the Mac, as well as other devices (iPhone, iPad, Android, BlackBerry et al). For Mac users I came up with what I suspect to be a future note taking basic called PearNote.
This handy Mac-only utility mixes and matches all that we’d like to see in a note taking app, whether for business meetings, organizational meetings, or classroom.
PearNote records your keystrokes as they’re entered into your Mac and places them on a timeline where you can also drop audio clips, video clips, photos, images, classroom slides and more. Search is built in, of course, so finding what you stored last week or last month is straightforward.
PowerPoint, Keynote, and PDF slides can be dropped into PearNote, which saves time and effort. Don’t copy information from presentations. Take the whole shebang wherever you go.
Mixing text, keyboard, documents, audio, video and notes is the way note taking should be done and PearNote does more than a commendable job for Mac users, especially those using MacBook or Pro models.
Both iPhone and iPad have a number of apps that can take notes, but nothing yet of the calibre of PearNote.
That looks like a market opportunity to me. All that information gathering technology comes with a price. Teachers have to create materials that are compatible with the devices used (PDFs, RTFs, photos, movies, audio, documents).
Schools may need to standardize on specific devices and applications. From my two weeks of using the iPad in our school I can safely say that we’ll see more iPads in the hands of students. With a built-in camera the iPad would easily eclipse the Mac as a highly portable, non-intrusive (quiet keystrokes vs. noisy keyboard clatter) note taking device.
PearNote for Mac is a decent, albeit expensive glimpse of what the future holds for those who must take notes in meetings or classrooms.