While I have always been a big supporter of using any type of technology for taking notes and keeping things organized, I have never really pushed being so cost conscious. In this economy, things are tough. In addition, students are being inundated with more and more information. Often, more information than any one student is able to keep track of. So how do we help our kids keep track of it all and minimize the cost?
We can use a variety of apps that are currently available for note-taking, calendars, checklists and assignments. My personal favorite for note-taking is Microsoft One Note. One Note comes in the package with all levels of Microsoft Office. One Note is easy to set-up, has pre-made templates or you can easily create new templates. There are options for typing, handwriting, drawing, scanning, photographing, video and audio to include in each notebook. You can sync One Note to your cell phone via a Windows Live Messenger account. I really like the ability to be able to carry information with me where ever I go.
If One Note is not an option, then there is Evernote [http://evernote.com/]. Evernote is free and has similar abilities and also has an assignment feature that can be downloaded and integrated called EverStudent. In addition, Penultimate is another feature that can be downloaded which allows you to draw and handwrite notes. Unlike One Note, with Evernote, you need to download the features that you would like separately.
The best thing about One Note and Evernote is that you can set up notebooks for each subject just like the paper version. The benefit is that you can scan or photograph handouts to include in each notebook in sequence with your notes.
Evernote is available for an iPad as is One Note. Sadly, as of this writing, I am unsure when or if Microsoft Office will be available for the iPad. Not to worry though, Google Chrome is available for the iPad and that means that all the Google Apps should be too!
I love Google Apps, to say the least. Once you download the Google Drive, click on ‘create.’ You then have access to word processing software, spreadsheet, presentation and drawing software. You can upload documents that you already have on your computer and scan additional documents to upload as well.
I often think of the student, struggling with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), who cannot locate the homework assignment that needs to be turned in today. What if the assignment was scanned and
uploaded to Google the night before? Wow! That student would be able to use the teacher’s computer or go to the Library during lunch, down load/print the scanned assignment and hand it in without losing points. Google saves the day!
Now we need to consider the equipment components of this plan. Most tablets and iPads can handle the software recommended. Here is what becomes important:
- If you consider using a stylus for handwriting notes, you need a device that is touch sensitive.
- You may want to consider using a keypad for keyboarding so that is an added expense.
- If you plan on photographing or scanning notes, additional equipment is again required. Most printers are multifunctional so that a scanner is generally built it. Check the documentation for your peripheral device to find out for sure. You may need to have access to your Google Drive at home to download and upload documents.
- While some lucky schools/districts are able to supply iPads, tablets or laptops to students, most do not and it is up to the parent to purchase such a device. You know your child best. Don’t forget the heavy duty case and a keyboard.
A few other things to consider:
- Most schools do not allow access to G-mail but do allow access to the Google Drive. Check with your school to make sure and encourage the district to allow this access if they do not. Google does provide free apps for education and for your school. [http://www.google.com/enterprise/apps/education/]
- Scanning, uploading and downloading require adult supervision.
- Parents need to monitor their child’s G-mail account for any inappropriate content/contacts.
Consider using technology that allows your child access to his or her books [they often come with additional study aids that are typically not available with the textbook]. Kno.com allows access to your child’s textbooks [which parents purchase], with this access comes Teacher Lecture Notes, flash cards and additional programming that allows your child to interact with the information and share it with peers. Kno.com programing is free, the books are not. Think of how much less that backpack would weigh if there were only an iPad in it.