ipad 2 or smartpen

Discussion in 'iPad' started by Gus910, Nov 15, 2011.

  1. Gus910 macrumors newbie

    Apr 3, 2011
    I am going into the last 2 years of my high school education and I am doing the International Baccalaureate (IB) and i wanted to know if any students doing it have found any advantages or disadvantages of the ipad in class

    I wanted to know if there were any students at my stage (not just doing IB) who use the iPad in class and what they think of it.

    Also, I have been looking at the Livescribe Echo Smartpen to help me in class. Does anybody use it or have it integrated with their ipad to help in class.
  2. mloffa macrumors 6502a


    Jul 13, 2009
    To be completely honest, I'm at college now and I really don't see too many iPads in the lecture halls. Most people cannot type fast enough on the iPad to keep up with the professors. I know that, in theory, the iPad sounds awesome for college but it's really not for taking notes. It would be great, though, if you had time to kill in between classes. Most campuses have wifi everywhere and you could watch netflix or something without hauling out a laptop (if you have one.) So it has its uses but I wouldn't recommend it for taking notes.

    And i've never heard about that pen, sorry.
  3. Macman45 macrumors G5


    Jul 29, 2011
    Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
    If You Spend Some Time With The Pen

    You MIGHT get fast enough to take lecture notes, but I doubt it. I find the pen better for drawing and stuff like that. The iPad isn't really a substitute for good old pen and paper, or a laptop, if you are a wiz typist!
  4. Mdifilm macrumors regular

    Nov 6, 2010
    Can't you used sound recording apps to record the lecture? There are a few apps that allows you to take note while it is recording the audio.

    A friend just went to college and he's been using the iPad at the college to record lectures while taking/typing notes.
  5. Gus910 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 3, 2011
    What about apps that help in a school environment?
  6. anjinha macrumors 604


    Oct 21, 2006
    San Francisco, CA
  7. palpatine macrumors 68040

    May 3, 2011
    i'm a gradute student / lecturer / researcher. i would echo (pun intended) the statement above about seeing few ipads in the lecture hall. however, i think that is mainly because people don't know how to get the most out of it.

    1. purchase a bluetooth keyboard. yes, there are people who can get by touch-typing on the screen, and i applaud them, but i get about half the speed. in addition, the bluetooth keyboard has a lot of navigation commands that make moving around a breeze. i don't even miss having a mouse. my recommendation would be the apple wireless keyboard and incase origami workstation (ipad, keyboard, and the case all fit easily into a tiny man bag).

    2. purchase a stylus. typing results in linear notes that don't incorporate key elements like graphs, charts, and so forth. i actually take a lot of notes with my stylus, and it keeps up without any problem. i am fine with the targus one, but there are lots of discussions in these forums about all of them.

    3. obtain decent software. a) for handwritten notetaking, i use note taker hd; b) for typed notes, i use evernote; c) for recording, i use recorder pro; d) for short papers, i use pages (it now enables you to insert footnotes); e) for reading, i use iannotate; f) for major research writing (30-300 pages) i use a combination of elements on my ipad and scrivener on my macbook pro.

    i've always thought the various smartpens were cool ideas, but the ipad has moved so far beyond them, i think it has made them antiquated and outdated. if you want exactly the same kind of functionality, there are notetaking programs that allow you to record, handwrite, and go back to hear the parts of the lecture at each stage of your handwritten notes. why buy an expensive pen, ink, and paper when you could have it all digital on the ipad?

    because i have all of my notes / books / articles / research stored in my ipad, i am basically carrying around more in my little man bag than the accumulated content of every backpack being lugged around campus on any given day. pretty nifty.
  8. mrrish macrumors regular


    Feb 14, 2008
    It all depends if you want to do "notetaking" or "annotating."

    If your school is nice enough to provide powerpoint or PDF files for your lectures, then you can easily keep up on the iPad by adding notes to their notes.
  9. palpatine macrumors 68040

    May 3, 2011
    i don't understand. you can do both notetaking and annotating with the ipad.

    i type about 60 or 70 words per minute with the bluetooth keyboard, and i would say that beats most handwritten notetakers by a factor of two or more.

    as for annotating, that is pretty easy to do on powerpoint pdfs, but personally, i prefer to take my notes separately.
  10. anti-microsoft macrumors 68000

    Dec 15, 2006
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    Hi there. I'm in my last year of the IB and have been using an iPad 2 in class for the past several months now. Have had no problems with it whatsoever as long as I've used it with the Smart Cover for typing.

    The main reasons to buy an iPad as a student were the battery life, the weight and the portability. In my class of 27, there are about 5 other people with iPads, so it is useable and students seem to enjoy it.

    The main apps I use in class are:

    - Pages (for notes)
    - Keynote (for presentations, you'll be making a lot of these in the IB)
    - iStudiez Pro (as a diary for assignments and exams)
    - iBooks (for PDFs and IBO documentation)
    - Dropbox (for sharing notes with classmates)
  11. MacStu09 macrumors regular

    Aug 27, 2009
    In all honesty, I've seen about 3 people total in all of my classes for the past several years using ipads for note taking. Usually once the notes pick up, they pull out their macbook and start typing.

    I brought one to class once; and I'm fairly good at typing on tablets; and it just didn't work for me. Being able to feel the distinction between keys was just a must for how fast I had to type. Especially in classes with ppt notes AND spoken notes at the same time.

    You can record lectures, but once again, that's something very few people do in any classes I've been in. Simply because it's much better for cramming to have it all on paper, haha.

    Use an iPad for fun or if you have the bluetooth keyboard. Otherwise, you're far better off just using your current laptop (if you have one).
  12. jsh1120 macrumors 65816

    Jun 1, 2011
    Advice to all. Pay attention to Palpatine. He has probably invested more time and effort in using the iPad in a serious academic setting than any ten other posters I've seen on this and other boards.

    I've been out of academia for many years now but I have requirements in business that mirror many of those encountered by students. My take...

    () Though I haven't found the iPad can replace my laptop, the combination of the iPad, Apple Wireless Keyboard, and Incase Origami Workstation takes up less space (on those tiny airline tables and I suspect on the average half-desk in a classroom) than all but the tiniest laptop. And the battery life of the iPad dwarfs that of any comparably portable laptop.

    () Get a good bluetooth keyboard. If you can't type faster than you can write, learn and practice. The payback for that effort will last you for many, many years. And if you can't be more efficient with a real keyboard than the on screen keyboard of the iPad it's because you need to become a better typist.

    () If you're in a field where hand drawn/written diagrams, notes, etc. are useful, various note taking apps that enable you to combine typing and handwriting are incredibly useful. But be prepared to PRACTICE. You didn't learn to take notes on a piece of paper using a pen in an hour. Don't expect to learn to use an electronic device without devoting effort to the objective. There are several good note taking apps. Choose one and STICK WITH IT until you're proficient.

    () Same advice for a stylus. There are better and worse models. I find that even the worst is better than trying to use my finger but ymmv. In any case, choose one and practice if you're going to use it. None of the various styluses I've tried (and I've tried a bunch) works exactly like a pen on paper. You'll find you need to develop a different set of "muscles" (in your hand and in your brain) to use a stylus effectively.

    () You may find voice recording coordinated with typed notes useful. I don't. But my meetings more resemble seminars than lectures. I've tried recording meetings but have found that trying to reconstruct a meeting coordinated with my notes is more trouble than it's worth.

    All in all, my iPad has replaced the 11" netbook/notebook I used for traveling, despite some advantages (e.g. multiple resizable windows) of the notebook. If I were a student on a limited budget and could afford only one device, I'd opt for a laptop with more capabilities than the iPad can provide. But since my laptop is a beast, I really appreciate the iPad's portability and focused functionality.
  13. palpatine macrumors 68040

    May 3, 2011
    Thanks for the warm fuzzies jsh1120. I should say that much of my advice is based not only on experience, but on ideas gathered in these forums. In fact, if not for suggestions by board members to give the keyboard commands another try, I might have given up on making the iPad create content for me. I'd definitely be missing out then! You brought up some very good points, and I agree with your advice.

    One thing I would add is that, especially in an academic environment, pairing the keyboard with the iPod can be useful.

    In one of my classes, for example, we spend a lot of time doing close readings of the texts. I can have the text pulled up on the iPad and make notes there as necessary with my stylus, but the bulk of my notes are typed into Evernote on my iPod. Obviously, pairing the keyboard with the iPod also works well if you are taking no tes on readings. It is sort of like having a laptop with two windows open.

    As you said, touch typing pays off. I have taken notes in meetings with just the keyboard on my lap and had the iPod in my bag. You don't need a screen much of the time :)
  14. mrrish macrumors regular


    Feb 14, 2008
    I actually didn't say that you couldn't do both. I am saying that it is easier to keep up with classes if the IB program provides PDF files because that saves time from drawing diagrams and taking copious notes. But the OP has not responded in regards to this.

    And personally, I type 60-70 wpm on my ipad screen and nearly 120 wpm on the bluetooth keyboard. But you can get away with much less if the school provides some material to write on--that was the point I was trying to drive home.

    If supplements are not provided, I fully agree that a bluetooth keyboard is the fastest way to go with added benefit of having the stylus at hand to draw quick sketches when needed. I have already done some 1000 lectures hours at med school and this has worked for me well.
  15. dtjay7 macrumors regular

    Jul 25, 2008
    N. CA
    I used a Lifescribe pen for a couple of years and I thought it worked well. But I take a lot of notes and got tired of the ink cartridges running out in the worst time. They are very small.

    I have switched to Notes Plus with a couple of different stylus and have been much happier. I sync to Dropbox and have my notes on my laptop at home versus docking the Lifescribe.
  16. ziggyiggy macrumors newbie

    Aug 31, 2010
    Wondering if possible

    I was wondering if anyone knowa of an app that would allow me to download a keynote or ppt presentation in pdf format and add hand written notes using a stylus. It seems like it might be possible in Note Taker HD, but I was just wondering if anyone has used it in this way and how it works for them. Thanks
  17. Gus910 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 3, 2011
    What is the name of the stylus you use because reading through other threads, I have noticed that not everyone can find a good stylus for the purpose of handwriting notes.

    What's the difference between using scrivener and Word?

    Do you know the name of the app that has the audio synced with the notes?


    Do you know the name of any of those apps that combine handwriting and typing and did they work for you (if you used them)?
  18. palpatine macrumors 68040

    May 3, 2011
    I am pleased with my cheap Targus and Griffin styluses. I am less pleased with the Bamboo one. I have heard good things about Faraday, and I may give that a try someday (http://ifaraday.com/store.html).

    Technically, Word can do a lot of the same things. But, I've never seen anyone able to actually get it set up to accomplish the task! Basically, Scrivener is written for writers, so it allows for different ways of conceptualizing your project, which results in better writing and a much more enjoyable experience. Concretely speaking, I can write now in smaller chunks (great for actually getting work done), I can move things around easily while seeing how everything fits into the overall project, and I can even look at things in an index card / corkboard format or outline format with just the click of a button. Take a look at their site for lots of screen shots. If you don't do lengthy writing, Word is fine. But, for anything longer than something like 30 pages, I think you'll see a huge difference. Give it a try :)

    Notes Plus. But (see my blog) I am not keen on it.

    Most do combine it. I don't generally use the apps that way. If I am writing with my hand, then I am doing that, and I don't switch to typing. But, I can certainly see how someone would do that.

    I think you would do this by downloading (or uploading through Evernote), opening in something like PDF PROvider (highly recommended for turning stuff into PDFs, though I haven't tried it with a powerpoint slide yet), and then opening it in Note Taker HD. The process sounds long, but it is only a few seconds.

    Sorry. I misunderstood then. That would be faster.

    You are much faster than me, but the ratios are about the same: 1/2 speed on the iPad, and usually more errors.

    Congratulations! That is a lot of experience. If you have any YouTube clips or a blog, could you let us know. I'd like to see how you use it.
  19. jsh1120 macrumors 65816

    Jun 1, 2011
    To avoid turning several posts in this thread into a spaghetti of quotes, I'll just say the following:

    () Handwritten vs. Typing notes apps. Most of the major note apps now support both handwriting and typing. They differ, however, in terms of which is given priority. Take a look at apps like Note Taker HD, Notes Plus, and Notability and you'll see what I mean. Frankly, I don't think it matters THAT much which you choose as long as you're willing to stick with it until you don't have to constantly think about how to use it.

    () As an aside, my favorite handwriting app is now 7Notes HD Premium. It does an above average job of translating my chicken scrawl-like handwriting into typed words and does a great job of predicting the words I'm typing based on my prior input.

    () I've tried a lot of styluses. I'm firmly convinced that there are simply too many variables based on individual preferences to make a general recommendation. I like the iFaraday models (I have two.) for their accuracy and "glide" characteristics. Each is less likely to "stick" than the Targus, Boxwave, and RocketFish (rubber tipped) styluses I have. In addition, I have the Adonit Jot Pro. It feels better in my hand than any other stylus. Uses a different technology for contact and works well when it works.

    I initially found that it missed strokes so often that it became virtually useless. However, after washing the "disc" (the contact on the tip) with palmolive dish washing liquid, I've found the problem disappeared.
  20. saberahul macrumors 68040

    Nov 6, 2008
    I have been using the targus stylus with the rubber tip (at BB) since the first time it came out (right when I got the iPad 1). Till date I have had no issues with it and it doesn't have a single scratch on it.

    In terms of note taking, I have been taking notes on the iPad since iPad 1 and do so on the iPad 2 as well. While some apps are better than others in their own individual ways – one I like best is Notability. Noteshelf is also a very good app (just like Penultimate but with zoom box and so forth); however, Noteshelf does not do Ink Smoothing at all, something that is stopping me from using it.

    My advice is to get the iPad - having done this for the last 1.5 years now, I would highly recommend it. I would also get a DropBox account and an app like Notability (it comes down for sale to $0.99 so AppShopper it).

    AFAIK, with the SmartPen you have to keep replacing paper (or it could be the other thing that required you to buy the special notepad) – ignore this if I am wrong but if I am right, I see no reason on spending additional money on paper every time.

    Moral: iPad + rubber tip stylus (my opinion)
  21. palpatine macrumors 68040

    May 3, 2011
    i am not too pleased with how noteshelf makes my exported notes look either. the best app in my opinion is note taker hd.
  22. Gus910 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 3, 2011
    I'm probably going to do it except for one problem. If a lecturer puts the powerpoint on our schools portal, I wont be able to see it on my iPad will I?
  23. palpatine macrumors 68040

    May 3, 2011
    i used to think that way too. i even said as much on these forums. i was wrong, though. in my opinion it is better with a good stylus and a good app.
  24. Gus910 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 3, 2011
    Could somebody answer my question two post above and also how would I annotate on a book that is in iBooks (how to transfer it to iAnnotate)?
  25. Vindicator macrumors member

    Mar 20, 2011
    iAnnotate have a beta "Convert Webpages, DOC, & PPT to PDF" feature.

    You can
    -"open-in" ppt, doc, pdf file from other app to iAnnotate
    -copy file direct to iAnnotate via iTunes
    -sync with Dropbox.

    Also you can use a app (or a free web service) to convert ppt to pdf before transfer it to iAnnotate.

    Most of 3rd-party app have "open-in" feature to copy file to another app and support Dropbox sync. (Goodreader, Airsharing, DocsToGo, QuickOffice, iAnnotate,....)
    But Apple app (Pages, Numbers, Keynote iBooks) can't :D

    sorry for my english

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