iPad for engineering classes

Discussion in 'iPad' started by Jasonbot, Nov 5, 2010.

  1. Jasonbot macrumors 68020

    Jasonbot

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    Aug 15, 2006
    Location:
    The Rainbow Nation RSA
    #1
    Hey,

    I study engineering and I'm considering getting an iPad for class to take notes, view lecture slides, text books etc...

    But I'd be worried about replacing good old pen and paper in class, especially since the nature of my work is very maths and drawing orientated. Are there apps for taking notes that provide good support for hand drawn images etc... Is an iPad a good pen and paper replacement?
     
  2. fts3v3r macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2009
    #2
    I do own an ipad and just graduated with my degree in engineering. I highly suggest you stick with a pen and paper when it comes to taking notes. Doing it on an ipad is much slower, inefficient, and just a plain headache.
     
  3. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

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    #3
    Pen and paper still work best in the sciences for taking notes.
     
  4. FubsyGamr macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2010
    #4
    Well, I am in my second year of Computer Engineering, and for me, using Note Taker HD is a very good way to take notes. The organization is not great, however, which is a HUGE issue, but the actual note-taking part is unrivaled. I use it for taking notes in Calculus and Computer Programming with no problem.

    p.s. If you'd like, I can email you a copy of my notes as a PDF, just so you can see what they look like. I dunno if that would be helpful at all.
     
  5. LAS.mac macrumors 6502

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    Mexico
    #5
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 3_1_3 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/528.18 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0 Mobile/7E18 Safari/528.16)

    + 1 to NoteTaker HD. I just tried it last week for field note taking. It did work flawlessly.
    I've yet to try it with a pen such as Pogo. But the first impression is good, although yes, there is a learning curve. So don't think to be able to take notes as fast as with paper and pen the very fist day.
     
  6. Hydrocity macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 14, 2010
    #6
    Can u email it to me, I am interested in how my notes would look like on an iPad. For some reason, I have a feeling that its going to look messy and 'weird' and if I try to make it look more appealing, I would just end up wasting time...

    If you can, just reply or drop me a PM, thanks
     
  7. saberahul macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2008
    Location:
    USA
    #7
    Best app IMO for good note taking, drawing, and voice? Notes Plus. It was on sale for about 99 cents so I picked it up and it's simply awesome. I think it's back up to $4.99 now though.
     
  8. FubsyGamr macrumors regular

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    Sep 20, 2010
    #8
    PM sent!
     
  9. FubsyGamr macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2010
    #9
    On second thought, I'm at work right now, but when I get home, I'll just throw up some pics right here on the forum, so everyone can see.
     
  10. jeffkempster macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2008
    #10
    I am a student and use the iPad everyday for taking notes. I think it is just something that you have to learn. It is not good at taking freehand notes. Your finger is just not a good substitute for a pen.

    But, it is great at displaying text, pdf, websites, etc. I use Pages to take normal notes and luckily I don't have as many math classes as you will, but my plan would be to revert back to paper for those classes. Then I was either going to just scan my paper notes into a pdf file, for studying or retype them when I had time. Remember that when retyping you are actually studying.

    Whether it is good at handwritten notes is not really relevant. It is so good at everything else that you will want it with you.

    I use my for class schedule, homework, watching videos (school and fun ones), annotating pdf files, email, web surfing, reading books for school on kindle.

    The best part is the battery life. I am at school all day 9-4 and my ipad only looses about 15-20% of its battery life.
     
  11. Hydrocity macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 14, 2010
    #11
    Are you in post-secondary school or still in High-school. I want to use my iPad for notes but I am in high-school so nobody uses electronic devices for these kinds of things. It would kinda be weird being the only one...

    But your idea of retyping them on the iPad sounds like a great idea, as retyping is actually better than just reading over. Plus it would make it easier studying off them for exams as sometimes loose note paper can get lost or unorganized.

    Now I just need to look into some good apps.
     
  12. SidBala macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2010
    #12
    Engineering? What kind of engineering?

    For engineering or science, nothing can beat pen and paper. iPad is horrible for taking notes in these classes. You will be much better off buying one of those Digitizer Pens that record as you write on paper.

    It is fine for PDFs and textbooks though.

    Arts/Humanities is a whole other story.
     
  13. FubsyGamr macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2010
    #13
    WoHoo, I'm home from work and I have a few pics.

    Now, I'm not 100% sure exactly what you want to see, so let me know if there's anything else you'd like to see, and I'll show you.

    These are two screenshots of me as if I was in the process of taking notes. The one thing I noticed is that my handwriting is worse using the iPad, even when I try to take my time. It's not bad, but there is a difference.

    [​IMG]
    \n
    [​IMG]

    These are images of the PDF's as they are emailed. You will notice that they almost look faded, this is only because I use the finest pen 'tip' and the smallest setting, which makes it look faded. If you were to use a bigger tip, it would look great when blown up.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Again, let me know if you'd like to see anything else!
     
  14. Aduntu macrumors 6502a

    Aduntu

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    Mar 29, 2010
    #14
    I see you have your while, do while, do until, for, and if statements down. ;)
     
  15. FubsyGamr macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2010
    #15
    Ugh lol....it's like learning a while new language all over again!

    But as you all can see, it does a fine job, as those notes were all taken during class with the teacher lecturing.
     
  16. Jasonbot thread starter macrumors 68020

    Jasonbot

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    Aug 15, 2006
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    The Rainbow Nation RSA
    #16

    I'm writing my final for calculus next wednesday, could you post the rest of those notes ;) jk, ratio and root test is easy. It's the partial differential equations (wave and heat equation) that are another story...

    So the iPad doesn't hinder you in any way? I guess its just a learning curve thing. Thanks for the input, I'm seriously considering getting one for class since my MacBook Pro was struck down by lightning and I'm thinking of replacing it with an iMac and then getting an iPad for mobile use.
     
  17. Hydrocity macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 14, 2010
    #17
    ...Are you serious?
     
  18. FubsyGamr macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2010
    #18
    Well, for actually taking notes during class, I prefer my iPad to pen and paper because I can change colors, I can export as PDF's, and I can zoom around the paper without losing quality. I'm very happy with it.

    Where it struggles is in the organization, and the out-of-class aspect. It does not have any sort of notebook system, it uses a 'tagging' system. I realize it's similar, but I was hoping for a more simplified, notebook system. There are two other apps that I've tried, Notes +, and Simple Note, both have great organization, but I can't take notes the way I like to.

    It's also kind of a process, getting new notes open, tagged, labeled, and ready. I usually prep the night before, making new, blank notes, labelled, tagged, and ready to rumble.
     
  19. jeffkempster macrumors member

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    Oct 31, 2008
    #19
    I go to Indiana University...

     
  20. Jasonbot thread starter macrumors 68020

    Jasonbot

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2006
    Location:
    The Rainbow Nation RSA
    #20
    Well there was s lightning strike and even though i have a surge protector it died because it was plugged into the ethernet. So it's not as exciting as it seems. Sorry to disappoint, my MacBook Pro didnt become the highlander or anything :(

    When I first read the reply on my email I thought you were referring to my comment or the simplicity of the ratio/root test and was going to link you to this thing my lecturer wrote up for us:

    [​IMG]
     
  21. checor macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2010
    #21
    I just got my iPad a few weeks ago, and have been tearing out my hair trying to learn how to sync it with school. Right now, the apps I'm testing out are:

    GoodReader
    The support for this app is great. Every time I've corresponded with the developer, I've gotten emails back within, and I'm serious, 20 minutes. That's from 8 am to 2 am, it's like they never sleep. I like that they've added annotation settings, but at the same time, I thought it was going to be like, click on the highlighter or pen color, highlight. Instead, it works more like...select the chunk of text, a thing pops up, and you get to select whether to highlight or underline or whatever. And adding notes leaves a tiny little dot instead of something like a sticky note, which I guess is cleaner, but not as convenient, ultimately. The program is excellent for what it's meant for though. I use it to load my current reading material from my biology classes.

    Noterize
    Love/hate relationship. It can't handle loading a ton of pdfs or ppts like GoodReader can, but I have a stylus (the Targus one, which works very well, by the way, and is cheaper than all the other ones that look like that), and can just highlight or doodle right onto the screen. This is my go-to app most of the time, specifically in my Anatomy class, where my teacher posts powerpoints. I save them as 2 per page pdfs, put them in Dropbox, load them into Noterize, and I just annotate right on top of them. Perfect for keeping up with the teacher, and much more efficient actually than printing them out 6 per page onto real paper, and trying to see details, etc.

    Evernote
    Free app. Love this app on my computer, for some reason, don't love it as much as I should on my iPad. I use it for my Zoology class, because it's all copy-down type lecture, and I don't want to pay for Pages or another office suite app until I've decided on which one. A new Note can hold my lecture's notes (with tabs, although not like, pretty nested tabs, which is what I'm wanting). I don't type on the screen. That sounds absolutely horrific. I use the Apple bluetooth keyboard. There's no lag, and it's super comfortable. Afterward, and this isn't most efficient by a long shot, I load up Word on my computer, and retype the notes with the pretty bullets, and load them back onto Dropbox/Goodreader. Although the plus side of that is I get to refresh my notes, ergo learning them a little better.

    I also just got Notes+ and Notify. They seem neat, especially with Notes+'s zoom in feature for handwriting, but I've tried that for my Statistics class, and it was laggy and buggy, and just nowhere nearly as efficient as pen and paper. I gave up using my iPad in there, and just grabbed my old notebook.

    That was long...hope it helped!
     
  22. TyPod macrumors 68000

    TyPod

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    Nov 2, 2006
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    And Yourself?
    #22
    I agree. For me, the iPad is nice for viewing power points, websites, documents, etc. in class but I learn best and feel more organized using a pen to paper when taking notes.
     
  23. GRMM, May 31, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2013

    GRMM macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2013
    #23
    Hey everybody. I finally bought an iPad for note taking. Overall, excellent experience with the right app and stylus, no different than pen and paper, probably even more efficient because if you make a mistake you don't need to wait until the liquid paper is dry.
     
  24. neutrino23 macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2003
    Location:
    SF Bay area
    #24
    I love my iPad but clearly it is several steps lower than pencil and paper for not taking.

    To be fair, I've taken years to find the pencil and lead I like (0.4mm HB) and the notebook and paper quality are very important as well.

    I really like the iFaraday RxII (iFaraday.com) as a stylus. I've purchased a number of note taking apps. I use Projectbook the most. It has a nice file organization. You can put notes in folders and search for notes. I spoke to the developer at MacWorld SF and expect some nice improvements.

    The drawback I see for the iPad as a note taking device is the low resolution of the digitizer. You have to draw things a little larger than in life to get nice letter shapes. Many apps compensate for this by having a zoom box at the bottom of the screen so you can draw legibly zoomed in but the text is drawn at regular size. This is good but I find it a bit uncomfortable. I like drawing fine details with a small lead and the iPad doesn't allow for this yet. A future iPad may have a higher resolution digitizer. (I settled on 0.4mm lead. I tried 0.3mm lead but mostly it just cuts through the paper.)

    There are a few active styli (Adonit Jot touch 4, iPen and others) that claim to have better resolution, pressure sensitivity, palm touch rejection. Might be good, I haven't tried one. Sounds promising. They only work with apps that use their API.

    I use the iPad for note taking when I only need a few short notes as when collecting data in the lab I make a few notes about sample names and conditions. In this case I'm not rushed so I can take time to form letters nicely.

    Personally I couldn't use this for a class. I want finer control of writing. If you are near an Apple store you could easily try one out.

    As others have said, the iPad is fantastic for reading notes and PDFs and such.
     

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