Best Notetaking setup?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by DannyNguyener, Jan 13, 2011.

  1. DannyNguyener macrumors regular

    DannyNguyener

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2010
    #1
    For an undergraduate student with a wide array of subjects, what would be the most convenient note-taking setup between an MBP, iPad, and iPhone? Should I stick to old fashion Word/Pages and sync up via Dropbox?
     
  2. jenzjen macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2010
    #2
    Evernote or one of its competitors? I use EN and love it.
     
  3. NickZac macrumors 68000

    NickZac

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2010
    #3
    For 15 years I have used Word on a laptop. You create a document that uses the Cornell Method of Note Taking and use that for both notes and as a study guide. Make a question or note on the left and use the highlight to select the relevant information to the question/mini note.

    It isn't as much about electronics or programs as it is HOW you personally take notes. People who write every single thing an instructor says are setting themselves up for failure. You need to be able to determine important and relevant and what is not.
     
  4. fortunecookie macrumors regular

    fortunecookie

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    Dec 3, 2010
  5. cameronwilby macrumors newbie

    cameronwilby

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2011
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #5
    You should write your notes down on pen and paper during lectures. There's nothing more frustrating than a student with his laptop out in the lecture theatre, tapping away while you're trying to take notes.

    After lectures however, I always type my notes up in Microsoft Word, then upload the document into it's designated folder on Dropbox.

    You also then have two separate occasions where you look at your notes. When actually writing them in the lecture theatre, and when typing them up at home. Personally, this helps me to really remember what I've learned.
     
  6. deeddawg macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2010
    Location:
    US
    #6
    I second this recommendation, though I prefer mechanical pencil vs pen. :)

    Most of my classes (graduate program) prohibit the use of laptops to prevent distraction to other students (as well as the student using the laptop). Charts / graphs / diagrams are difficult to take down using a laptop.

    If the lecturers use powerpoints to a significant degree and publish them ahead of class, I find it best to print them out four-up and then highlight and annotate the printouts.

    Outside of class is when I retype/organize my notes into Word in a format good for later study & review.

    Paper note taking skills are very helpful in the workplace as you often can't effectively carry a laptop from meeting to meeting. (in my experience)
     
  7. NickZac macrumors 68000

    NickZac

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2010
    #7
    Sometimes having a laptop in lecture is very productive and in the student's best interest. The overwhelming majority of people who know computers can type far faster than they can write. I can key about 100 WPM give or take, and I can write about 7 WPM. Mind you, I have a disability which affects certain motor functions so for most people it may not be such a difference. Other than math, I have used laptops in every class since middle school for almost all assignments, note taking, classwork and homework. Without laptops, I wouldn't have gotten any of my degrees and I probably would not have even graduated high school to be honest.

    At the same time, I feel people abuse the privilege of taking notes via laptop by going on Facebook, playing games or browsing the Internet, which are all highly disrespectful. This is a another story completely and people who do this might as well not even come to class.
     
  8. pyroo macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2007
    #8
    I agree, you can take so much more notes if you are a fast typer, some professors talk so fast, you won't have time to take down everything that they are saying. However, if the professor likes to draw diagrams, paper and pen is the way to go. If the professor likes to read off powerpoint slides or a pdf, laptop is more handy.

    I like to take notes using Word, or if it is a pdf, I use Skim to take notes right on the pdf.
     
  9. benlee macrumors 65816

    benlee

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2007
    #9
    Throughout Law School I have used a program called Omni Outliner Pro. Once you get the hang of it, it is a great note-taking app. You can download a free trial version I believe.
     
  10. cameronwilby macrumors newbie

    cameronwilby

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    Jan 12, 2011
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #10
    Well, each to their own I guess, if you really must use your laptop in class then use Evernote.
     
  11. leesa246 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2009
    Location:
    Northern Central Connecticut
    #11
    I'm sort of in this same boat as well. I never, ever, ever took notes during my undergrad classes. But in my pharmacy school, when you're going through mass amounts of lectures and information, sometimes I forget to print a lecture and often a teacher lectures so fast with so much information, having a computer and typing is easier. However, writing notes is much easier because 75% of undergrad lectures are BS and 25% of information is actually on the test-- imo. You don't need to type notes.

    For me, OneNote by Microsoft Office was THE best note taking software ever created. I still haven't found a program that matches it's abilities, ease of use, and interface (amazing, right?) Anyone can argue me on this, but this is a fact-- so don't. I'm considering getting parallels just to run this piece of software, and keep the rest of Office as the Mac-versions.

    I've tried Evernote, couple other programs, and now Curio. Curio seems to be the best of them all in my opinion, but I think Evernote might look more pleasing to the eye. However, I have also heard that Evernote uses the system a lot more than Curio. My recommendation is trying the free version of Evernote and Curio, and make your judgement based upon that. :)
     
  12. lilcosco08 macrumors 65816

    lilcosco08

    Joined:
    May 27, 2010
    Location:
    Dayton
    #12
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPod; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_0 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/532.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0.5 Mobile/8A293 Safari/6531.22.7)

    iPad+stylus+note taking app
     
  13. daceymathers macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2011
    Location:
    newyork
    #13
    There are various other note taking application that may help to get the best note taking.I have searched over the internet and i got 2 or 3 note taking application Evernote, Springpad, Simplenote, Dropbox-with-Sync, and Google Notebook.Try out these software and use whatever you like.
     
  14. snaky69 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2008
    #14
    Pen and paper.
     
  15. palpatine macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    May 3, 2011
    #15
    1) Use pencil and paper for taking notes (I learn better this way).
    2) Use ipad and/or Kindle DX for reading (I digitize everything).
    3) Use Scansnap to convert notes and handouts into PDFs.
    4) Upload all notes to Evernote each night.
    5) Type out notes when reviewing if necessary (usually not).

    Most days I don't even bring my computer to campus. I just carry an iPad, pencil, and paper. I read the iPad in-between classes.

    I digitize everything (books, notes, handouts, receipts, etc.) so I am almost entirely paperless. I make liberal use of Sugarsync and Dropbox so that all of the stuff I need is available anytime/anywhere. This is incredibly beneficial if you do a lot of traveling. In my case, I am overseas researching, but have access to my entire library via thousands of PDF files :)

    One of the great things about digitizing everything is that you can perform optical character recognition and make everything searchable. Finder in the Mac is great for this (so is Houdah Spot), and once you have built up a collection of electronic materials, papers, typed notes, and so forth you have a formidable database at your disposal. If you are into making personal wikis, i recommend giving VoodooPad a try as well.

    The Kindle is a luxury, but for long reading sessions (journal articles, books, etc.) the e-ink is much more pleasant than the ipad's screen (in my opinion).

    I have tried to use computers in classes, but it is a distraction that is certainly more efficient (in terms of getting everything into the computer) but forces me to do things in a linear fashion (no time to jump around editing stuff), and ultimately i don't seem to remember a thing. It is kind of sad, really. I guess some people can do it, but computer people generally tend to participate less in discussions, play more games, and turn off their brains.
     
  16. dandaman2 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2008
    #16
    Throw in a ZaggMate, that's the set up I'm planning on taking with me. I too am starting college in the fall and I too have used my 13" MacBook for some of middle school and all of high school for all notes in social studies and literature but found it inconvenient for math and science.

    I've used CircusPonies' product Notebook for the past few years and I'll probably keep using it for its search tools and its ability to combine stylus and typing on the iPad side and sync features back to my MacBook Pro.

    Let me know what you decide on though, I'm open to improving my set up!
     
  17. karohan macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2010
    #17
    What's the best optical character recognition program to use with scanned documents?
     
  18. ThirtyThr33 macrumors 6502

    ThirtyThr33

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2011
    Location:
    Boulder, Colorado
    #18
    I have an iPad and it's amazing for notes. Especially the record while note taking feature. I recommend "sundry notes" app. The only downside to note taking notes on an iPad is when it comes to science or math notes. I'm a chemistry major and it's impossible to take good notes when you get to the higher up chemistry and calculus classes. However for English, bio, psych, and others it's pretty good.
     
  19. palpatine macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    May 3, 2011
    #19
    scansnap does a good job with printed material. i usually use adobe acrobat pro ( inexpensive if you buy through your university). nothing has been able to do a good job with my handwriting, so i have low expectations for that. in addition, i write in several languages, so atm there is nothing too great on the market.
     
  20. dandaman2 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2008
    #20
    Have you (OR ANYONE ELSE!) tried the Notes Plus app? It has typing and writing, as well as a good palm pad feature and a resizable handwriting feature, might be helpful for all those diagrams and formulas that come with science and math.

    Research has shown Notes Plus as favorable to CircusPonies; I've tried neither on the iPad but Notes Plus has better syncing, is more stable, and is more feature-rich.
     
  21. Rectified^ macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2011
    #21
    Pen and paper. Coming from a near-graduated electrical engineering/computer engineering student, computer note taking is a huge pain and if you have to draw anything remotely technical (math, plots, graphs, diagrams, circuits, tables, etc.) in lecture you will despise the laptop.

    Even for purely verbal notes I would go for pen and paper. You'll find that you pay more attention and listen better. If you want an electronic solution use your iPad with a stylus. I started this method this week as an experiment to carry and use less paper. It's not as nice as pen and paper, but you do save on weight and you have quick PDFs.
     
  22. Rectified^ macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2011
    #22
    I have used Notes Plus. It's pretty nice.
     
  23. palpatine macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    May 3, 2011
    #23
    i have some free time over the next couple of weeks, and i am actually planning on trying out a couple of programs. i haven't decided which ones yet. it seems that notes plus and upad are pretty popular and have a lot of favorable reviews on the internet, so i will probably end up with them. i'll write something about my impressions later.

    theoretically, it would be cool to still be able to write by hand and have everything digitized immediately. in practice, i feel like the ipad will likely get in the way. i would hate for it to interrupt my concentration or speed, especially if i have to flip back to an earlier page of notes to add something. linear notetaking is fine, but discussions, question and answer sessions, and so forth mean that it is rarely a straightforward, linear process. the same goes for reading books and taking notes on them.

    also, i would still need a way to scan handouts and other materials (scansnap). so, i really wouldn't have gained much.

    and, finally, i use my ipad as a reader (it has my textbooks and everything else inside it), so it will be difficult to use it for both reading and notetaking (i tend to refer to the textbook and notes in classes). maybe when i add the ipad3 i can solve this problem :)

    livescribe is a tempting concept. you take notes with the pen, it records the talk and what you write, and it all gets digitized. although i prefer writing in pencil, i could switch to pens if necessary. again, though, i tend to move around in my notes a lot, so i wonder how well it would handle going backwards. i write in several languages, and so far nothing has been able to recognize my handwriting with a high degree of accuracy, so i am concerned about that. also, there is the price. 100 dollars for a pen? i am planning to give it a try this summer, but i am not enthusiastic about it yet.
     
  24. ThirtyThr33 macrumors 6502

    ThirtyThr33

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2011
    Location:
    Boulder, Colorado
    #24
    Yeah I've legit probably tried all the iPads note taking apps. I jail broke my iPad, downloaded like 10-15 note apps, tested them, deleted them, and bought the one that I liked most (sundry notes). I suggest you do the same to find what fits you best, but I still think old pen and paper is one of the only ways to go in the science world til they make a better app.
     

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