Note-taking is a crucial aspect of learning for students. Whether studying weeks in advance or procrastinating a weekend before the dreaded finals, students’ notes can be a make-or-break for their success.
Today, students have the option between digital note-taking and the traditional pen-and-paper route.
Studies and surveys over the past decades have seen a gradual shift from pen-and-paper to computerized note-taking among students.
One survey noted that 24% of students prefer digital methods to be more efficient for note-taking than pen-and-paper.
Earlier surveys also noted digital note-taking took place mostly on laptops. Today, tablets like the Apple iPad have become a lighter, more portable version of a laptop.
With the added convenience of a touchscreen and a pen-like stylus, the iPad has quickly become the best hybrid between digital note-taking and the traditional method of handwriting your notes. In this post, we’ll look at how students can take notes on an iPad:
The Benefits Of Going Digital
Over the past few years, digital learning has increased in popularity and frequency.
The opportunities presented by e-learning allow people to pursue an education at their own pace, thanks to the Internet and the myriad of digital devices we use on a daily basis — from smartphones to tablets and computers.
Based on the latest e-learning statistics, 98% of universities have moved their classes online since 2020. Studies also indicate that a student’s retention rate increases to 82% due to e-learning.
Aside from the increased efficiency in digital learning and note-taking, going digital also offers an environmental benefit.
With e-learning, digital documents, including assignments, papers, and textbooks, become a huge component of a student’s education.
Research shows that 60% of school waste comes from paper and that a typical school uses around 2,000 sheets daily — approximately one tree per week.
Using digital documents and resources instead of paper handouts can help reduce the carbon footprint and paper waste from schools.
Which Apps And Tools To Use
If you already own an iPad, the second best tool you’ll need to boost your digital note-taking is the Apple Pencil.
Apple’s patented stylus for the iPad is great for annotating documents and images. You can use it to highlight text, draw arrows, and add comments to your digital notes.
The Apple Pencil can also create Instant Notes by tapping the locked screen with your Pencil.
Do note that different generations of the Apple Pencil will have a different connecting process to your iPad, but as long as your models are compatible, the two should be easy to connect.
The next iPad essential you’ll need is a note-taking app. Many of them are on the App Store, each with different features depending on what you need your notes for.
However, depending on who you ask, you’ll soon learn that there isn’t one perfect app for note-taking.
In fact, you may not even have to look that far. Apple has two apps meant for digital note-taking: the Notes app and the newly released Freeform.
While Apple Notes is structured like a typical text document, Freeform is a whiteboard-style workspace, much like a digital scrapbook.
Both apps are compatible for use with the Apple Pencil, and which one you should get depends on the kind of notes you take.
If it’s mostly text, Notes should do just fine. Freeform is a more flexible alternative if you deal with many diagrams or benefit from mind mapping.
Finally, some note-taking tips to boost the efficiency of your digital notes. A key point of efficient note-taking is to summarize only the important information and questions — instead of noting everything down verbatim. This saves time and lets you know what to focus on.
Because you work on a digital device, be sure to eliminate distractions such as unrelated applications or videos playing in the background. Putting your iPad on silent will also help.
You can also structure your notes using the outline method, opting for digestible bullet points instead of lengthy sentences and paragraphs that can be overwhelming.
If you’re unsure about your note-taking process, you can also use the Voice Memos app on your iPad to record presentations or classes so that you can refer back to them to polish your notes.
Ultimately, remember that your digital notes are only part of your education. To learn effectively, you’ll have to go back to your notes. Write down a summary of key points after your class to improve your memory retention and see if you have any lingering questions that need to be addressed.