iPad Notetaking for Undergrad/Grad Engineering

Discussion in 'iPad' started by ExiledMafia, Jan 22, 2012.

  1. ExiledMafia macrumors regular

    Jan 26, 2011
    I'm studying electrical engineering at RIT and considering getting an iPad 3 when it comes out...it would be a delayed christmas present.

    I would mainly use the iPad as a laptop supplement while on campus and for note taking. Since I'm studying EE typing the lectures would not be an option to many graphs/equations etc. My question is how practical would it be to write on my iPad to take notes. I would definitely prefer this over paper and pen because having an electronic backup would be awesome.

    So for anyone who has done this, what are the options is a stylus the best way to go. Number two do you think i would be able to keep up using a stylus when compared to paper and pen. Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated. I don't know if this matters but I have a mbp also.
  2. ppfd macrumors regular


    Apr 14, 2007
    West Virginia USA
    Stylus - I bought a cheap model with a rubber tip, less than $20.00. I hardly use it. Don't know if you could really write with it at the speed required to take notes.

    I didn't have an ipad when I was in nursing school a few years ago. But a guy I work with is in the same program and has an ipad. He tried taking notes using the apple keyboard. I think he lasted a week before he went back to paper.

    I tried taking notes on my macbook. For me good old pen and paper just worked better.

    Everyone is going to have different results when taking notes.
  3. SDub90 macrumors 6502a

    Nov 9, 2009
    Long Island
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    Pencil and paper always worked a lot better for me. Tried taking notes on my iPad last year and it was not as convenient as I expected.
  4. mantic macrumors 6502a

    Mar 30, 2007
    I have to agree with everyone else.... pen/pencil to paper is still the best way to take notes (especially mathematical). Other then a great study tool, the ipad has yet to become a productive part of my in class experience.
  5. LeeM macrumors 6502a

    Jan 1, 2012
    Engineering student here, when I take my iPad to class I end up on Facebook or siege hero. It's not very good for notes in engineering, too many equations and ps notes, diagrams etc. I've not seen any note apps that allow you to insert vectors etc
  6. mobilehaathi macrumors G3


    Aug 19, 2008
    The Anthropocene
    Pencil and paper. I have a stylus for notes on my iPad, and it works fine. However I can't take legible notes at the speed necessary for a class.
  7. ExiledMafia thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 26, 2011
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    Man, I was really hoping that the iPad would have better note taking ability by now
  8. rovitotv macrumors member

    Dec 17, 2009
    I use iPad to take notes for a technical job.....

    It is not the same thing as being in class but I use my iPad to take notes at my tech based job and organize my todos. As far as taking notes I use pages then for equations I use the camera and insert the picture into the current note. I have been looking at iDraw and napkin2 for drawing, they look interesting. For me having all my notes in one place is amazing! I have coupled the device with a zagg keyboard. At this point I don't have the optimal setup but life is better.

    I am a Computer Scientist and I wish when I was in grad school I had an iPad!
  9. rockyroad55 macrumors 601


    Jul 14, 2010
    Phila, PA
    It's good for consumption of data like textbooks or calculators, but not for creating data in class. I'm in law and there is no way I can take notes on all those cases in one class even on pen/paper. Imagine what an iPad would do for me.
  10. ExiledMafia thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 26, 2011
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 5_0_1 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/534.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.1 Mobile/9A405 Safari/7534.48.3)

    Looks like I have to find a different gift to myself
  11. zipur macrumors 6502a


    Mar 3, 2011
    The great state of Texas
  12. jojoba macrumors 68000

    Dec 9, 2011
    I also use Notability and think it's a really good app. It took me a little transition period to get use to the stylus/iPad combination, but my use of that is now at the same speed as pen and paper. I don't work with equations, though, but I do draw diagrams etc.
  13. James Craner macrumors 68000

    James Craner

    Sep 13, 2002
    Bristol, UK
    I would suggest a paper and pen would be better, however you can still go digital take a look at the livescribe pen. It is a smartpen that uses special paper to capture your handwriting. You can then dock the pen to your computer and have a digital version that is searchable. The best part about the pen is that it can also capture the audio as you are writing, so you don't need to write every word the lecturer says, just the key points. Using the playback option on the computer you can listen to the lecture and watch your notes. You can export to PDF and upload notes to the web to share with classmates. I have been using one for the last 2 years (in business) and it has been brilliant. Yes you need special notebooks to use with the pen, but they are not that much more expensive than other high quality paper notebooks. Livescribe also have an iPad App that you can use to view your notes taken with the pen.
  14. JoeG4 macrumors 68030


    Jan 11, 2002
    Bay Area, Ca.
    While there are digital options, I don't believe the tech has matured just enough yet. First we'll need some amazing note-taking software, preferably made with scientists & engineers in mind.

    MS OneNote came awfully close, but even that isn't quite it - and it's not yet available on iPad-form-factor tablets either. When it does (and it probably will) hit the ARM-based tablets like the iPad, it'll probably be pretty sweet.

    Otherwise you'll probably be best off with pen and paper - or whatever you can take notes the the fastest with. Some teachers are really fast, and so it helps. You want to be able to take notes in a way that doesn't distract you, so you can focus on the lecture (while still retaining the info).

    That said, I think notes are very important - so is listening, but I find my university tends to choose books arbitrarily (and they tend to have horrible reviews on the internet), which is easy to back up with my experience of them being lousy at explaining the same topic. Then the teachers go and say "don't worry about taking notes! I'll post mine on the internet!" and they never do.

    >> And if you're ever allowed to use notes on a test, it probably won't be allowed in digital form.

    Also: Carry a good camera. If you're ever 5 minutes late you can take a picture of the board and not miss a thing. Woot! Just don't use the flash ;)
  15. whynotgotovegas macrumors member

    Jan 17, 2012
    I take my iPad to school with me (mind you, I'm only in high school, so college is probably a lot different) but with my Apple bluetooth keyboard I am able to take notes pretty fast, and I have a stylus in case I need to draw a picture for say science or something like that. I also always do carry pen and paper with me, because there are those days that the whole iPad thing isn't working out for me. And even if you aren't going to use your iPad in class, still buy one! It is, in my opinion, the best tablet on the market to date. On the weekends, the only time I use my computer is for my programming class. Other then that, all my free time is done on just the iPad. I'm even typing this whole thing on the virtual keyboard of the iPad, and it really does do the job for short little things like this. Hope I helped!
  16. crispy12 macrumors member

    Oct 6, 2010
    I'm in final year medical school, and I use my ipad all the time. Sometimes to refer to powerpoints, most of the time to type notes (I rarely write as it's much faster to type). I used the stylus before, you can go pretty fast if you practice often however writing is faster and doesn't require any 3rd party tools. I only use this for tutorials and lectures, never in the wards.

    Being a course which is very heavy on reference material, having some of my textbooks available in my ipad is incredibly useful. I can read my texts while waiting for the train or for others, lets me make the most out of my day.

    Another good thing about the ipad is that all my notes are always with me, I don't have to waste time filing them when I get home. Notes are a lot more useful when they're available for reference whenever you need them. Also I can google information quickly when I need it rather than getting out my phone.

    Recently I've been considering getting a bluetooth keyboard just so I can touch type rather than stare at the keyboard, but at this point I can't see myself using it that much to justify the cost.
  17. Jimbo47 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 21, 2010
    I just bought a Jot the other day to take notes with. I got it friday so I couldnt use it in class yet. I did copy some notes I had written to my iPad using the Jot. There's definitely a learning curve to it, but it's much easier after some practice.
  18. ExiledMafia thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 26, 2011
    Let me know how the Jot program works! I would be waiting for the iPad 3 either way so I'm not in any rush.

    Yea i would love an iPad i just don't know if I need another toy. I already have a MBP and iPhone 4s so as a college student (I would be buying the iPad with my own money) should i really spend $500 bucks on another piece of technology haha.
  19. notjustjay macrumors 603


    Sep 19, 2003
    Canada, eh?
    Yeah, I'll chime in with the "pen and paper" folks, but with the caveat that my software engineering degree was 10 years ago now (my, how time flies). Some classes you can get away with taking text notes, but most classes have too many diagrams or equations to try and enter on any electronic device (even a laptop).

    I'd still bring an iPad, if I had one, for general looking-stuff-up, following along with electronic resources, Facebook, etc. -- why not. But definitely bring a notebook and paper for note taking.

    Fun fact: I was at a (non-academic) conference last week and I brought my laptop to take notes from the keynote speaker. I was one of maybe two or 3 people, in a room of hundreds, who was using an "old school" laptop. Everyone else was taking notes on either pen and paper, or iPads, PlayBooks, and smartphones!
  20. Mr.DD216 macrumors member

    Dec 23, 2011
    Same situation

    It's amazing that I'm in the same exact situation as you are right now. I might attend ITT tech for electronic /electrical engineering and I want to take notes with the iPad 3 when it comes out. My plan is to buy a bluetooth keyboard with my iPad and since I'm a quick typer I'm going to take notes very quickly. Also since the iPad will still have a camera I will record the instructor if he allows me to so. My iPad 3 will be my greatest tool.
  21. ExiledMafia thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 26, 2011
    I appreciate the two-cents about conference because I only have one year left til I graduate with a BS/MS. Because of this I am also interested if people use iPads within industry.
  22. notjustjay macrumors 603


    Sep 19, 2003
    Canada, eh?
    For casual note taking (bullet points and other text) the iPad is definitely a useful and capable tool. I'd have brought one too if I still owned one (I sold mine when I got the iPhone). I'm planning an overseas vacation late this spring and I'm hoping that the iPad 3 will be released before I go, so I can grab one of those and leave my laptop at home.
  23. Navdakilla macrumors 65816

    Feb 3, 2011
    Im a mechanical eng student

    I tested the ipad2 for use in one of my easier engineering classes last semester. switched back to pen and paper.. wayyyyy better, trust me
  24. applerocks macrumors regular

    Jun 7, 2005
    Notability is GREAT! Got a pen, I download professors power points or handouts to the program from dropbox, and it syncs back as a PDF to my mac. It's simply amazing.

    Hated using it in class before this, now I am incredibly focused. GET IT!

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