iPad-toting College Students, Fill Me In!

Discussion in 'iPad' started by brandnewrock22, Jun 27, 2011.

  1. brandnewrock22 macrumors newbie

    Jan 30, 2011
    I am a college student, and I'm currently just awaiting my next paycheck (and of course, store availability) to pick up an iPad 2 at one of my local Best Buys. I've decided that having an iPad would make long lectures a little less tiresome on my meticulous note-writing self.

    I've meant to ask these questions around campus, but to this day I have not seen a single student in any of my classes using an iPad for notes (yet the university just a few miles away from mine provides iPads as a part of the tuition!). I know that some of you on here have, and I'm just looking for opinions on apps, accessories, etc. I've thought about bringing my laptop to class, but I don't feel comfortable toting around something so heavy day after day.

    Those of you using iPads in college settings, can I get some opinions on:

    -What apps have you found to be particularly useful for note-taking? Pages seems like a safe bet on the iPad, but I'd like to keep my options open. I use Office for Mac at home, so I'd ideally like an app that can export to Word formats. I'll be using a bluetooth keyboard for typing since that seems like the most efficient way for me. Also, I picked up an AirPrint-capable printer a few weeks ago, so I'll most likely be printing important notes to study for exams.

    -Have you found any apps that are good for organizing assignments and other deadlines? I currently sync my iPhone with Google Calendars to keep track of my life. However, it would be great to find a dedicated, more school-friendly calendar than the built-in one on my iPhone.

    -Has anyone used an Office suite, or Apple's Keynote app to view Powerpoint slides? It seems like a lot of professors like to use Powerpoint slides for lectures, and I'd love to have a way to organize them and take notes on them so I don't have to carry around a giant binder of Powerpoint handouts.

    -For those who have tried out different suites like iWork, Docs to Go, and Quickoffice: Is one better than the other? Of course I'm thinking that Apple's native apps will work wonderfully on the iPad, but the other apps have also gotten fantastic reviews.

    -What type of case/cover have you found to be durable and convenient for carrying around campus? I've found this online, and it looks to be both good-looking and practical: http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Targus+-+Rotating+Case+for+Apple%26%23174%3B+iPad%26%23174%3B+2+-+Black/Blue/2319133.p?id=1218320822777&skuId=2319133

    I've been doing a lot of research over the past few weeks, so I don't ask these questions out of pure laziness. I've been following these forums for years and find that most members are educated on Apple solutions and can always give good opinions. Since I spend so much time at school, I'd just love to find a way to have my Apple devices make my life easier :)
  2. nwcs macrumors 68000


    Sep 21, 2009
    Can't answer your questions since I'm not in college these days but some of what you're wanting to do makes me wonder if a MacBook Air 11" would be a better solution for you.
  3. tnisatard macrumors 6502

    Apr 1, 2008
    on the side note, i would imagine this would be a good app to help study.

  4. millertime021 macrumors 6502a


    Jan 28, 2010
    Well, I have an iPad that I picked up in late March, so I haven't yet used it for school to it's full potential.

    However, for the little bit I've used it, it's been great.

    Since I have classes where I need a full blown laptop, I have my MBP and iPad with me. I tend to use the iPad for more abstract things like graphs and diagrams. While in class, I will type notes on my laptop, and when necessary, will draw a corresponding diagram on my iPad using Adobe Ideas.
  5. brandnewrock22 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 30, 2011
    Thanks, I've definitely considered it. My MacBook Pro is a few years old, and will most likely get replaced within the next 2 years, after I've graduated (and have the extra cash). I think the biggest reason I'm leaning towards an iPad right now is because I also plan on using it for some gaming and mobile and media apps between classes. I've found myself using my iPhone a LOT lately, but I hate draining its battery if it can be avoided. I LOVE the HBO Go and Netflix apps, but my eyes are bad as it is, and my phone's screen just doesn't cut it.

    My campus has WiFi all-over, and another reason I'm looking for a new device is because I want to avoid the campus's outdated PC lab. By the time I've fought for a machine and gotten logged in there, it's time to go to class again :p
  6. brandnewrock22 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 30, 2011
    That's great to hear. I switched my major from Engineering a few years ago, and I would have killed to have something like the iPad then to do diagrams for classes like Physics and Chemistry!
  7. waltercln macrumors regular

    Jul 27, 2010
  8. vrDrew macrumors 65816

    Jan 31, 2010
    Midlife, Midwest
    As far as note-taking is concerned, I've yet to find anything as effective and efficient as the combination of a Mark 1 human hand, and your basic pen/pencil and notebook.

    Note-taking isn't the same as stenography. In other words, you goal isn't to take down - verbatim - what the instructor is saying. It is, instead, to understand the material. Hand writing your own notes, after you've mentally processed what the speaker has just said, seems to have an unbeatable edge in terms of memory retention and comprehension over just about any other method. It handily beats out laptop typing notes (which might be useful if your goal is to sell notes to students who missed that class), and it certainly will result in better results than trying to hand-scribble notes with a stylus on your iPad.
  9. Siggen macrumors 6502

    Apr 1, 2011
    Oslo, Norway
    you will want a handwrighting app, like penultimate to take notes with a capasitive penn. This app also has a feautre that lets you record the audio while taking the notes. Nice organized apps with lots of features.

    text editing I think Pages is the best,

    The Calendar in the iPad is more user friendly cause of the large screen, you can set up a dedicated calendar for deadlines and whatnot.

    I think the best out there is the iWork suite (Pages, Keynote(powerpoint), and Numbers (spreadsheets))

    I havent tried them extensively, but I preffere iWork

    Im getting a new iPad soon (cracked my screen), I would for your use pick Smart Cover + Zagg leatherskinn (pick the smartcover one) + Zagg Invisible shield screen protector.

    Zagg LeatherSkinn
    Zagg Invisible Shield

    Also, there are multiple good choices for keyboard, using the smart cover as a stand is in my opinion the best for money choice. If not you have compact laser keyboards or small bluetooth keyboards, a good pick is the Logitech Case+Keyboard from Zagg which is a good alternative to the smart cover.
  10. brandnewrock22 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 30, 2011
    I really like that Zagg Leatherskin, but just how durable are they? I can't seem to find a lot of information on those, with the exception of Zagg's site. I originally thought about buying a Smart Cover but I'm up in the air about that due to the so-so reviews on Apple's website. The idea is awesome, but I'm looking for the best bang for my buck in terms of quality and usability.

    I definitely plan on getting an InvisibleShield. I'm getting most of my accessories at Best Buy, as a part of their financing deal. I know for a fact that they carry Zagg products.
  11. okrelayer macrumors 6502a

    May 25, 2008
    If you don't mind the software keyboard using simplenote has been a blessing for me! Syncs with Mac, pc, iPhone, iPad. It's really incredible. I usually type up my school docs in it, because it's very lightweight and the sync options, then I copy and paste them into pages to format them for class.
  12. radiogoober macrumors 6502a

    Jun 7, 2011
    I'm sorry, but the iPad is useless for serious note taking. You simply can't input data quickly enough. Unless you do minimal note taking, at which point why bother taking notes.

    When I was in college I brought my laptop for some classes because I can type just as fast as my teacher can talk. I could never type that fast on a iPad, or even write that fast on pen and paper.

    The iPad is better as a reference device. Put your books on there and read them. Look things up, supplement your learning. But don't try to use the iPad as a primary note taking device. It simply can't fill that purpose - perhaps only if you used it with a physical keyboard.
  13. anjinha macrumors 604


    Oct 21, 2006
    San Francisco, CA
    I also recommend Bamboo Paper, I was really impressed at how smooth it is to write on it. Even if you don't plan on doing handwritten notes you should get it anyway since it's free at the moment

    You should also look into an app called iStudiez Pro (there's also a a lite version you can try. It's a great app for students for keeping track of assignments and stuff.

    There's something else I suggest you look into: if you have any school stuff you need to read that's in PDF format or if you don't want to print your notes you should check out PDF Expert. It's a great app to store your PDFs and you can do annotations, highlight stuff, add bookmarks...

    You should also check out OmniOutliner, it might be useful for you.
  14. miamialley macrumors 68030


    Jul 28, 2008
    Los Angeles, CA
    Many people complain (myself included) that Zagg shields feel nasty. I have Bodyguardz film on the back and I love it. It's like nothing is there.
  15. mac&cheesey macrumors 6502

    Dec 21, 2008
    Could not agree less. I love the way the Zagg InvisibleShields feel. They add a grippiness to the iPad that I enjoy. I find it much easier to hold and it feels safer and more secure (less slippery) in my hands. I understand they're not for everyone but I have them on several iDevices and love them.

    I have no experience with Bodyguardz so I can't comment on them one way or the other nor compare them to the InvisibleShields.

  16. Cheetablaze macrumors member

    Mar 22, 2011
    I'm using the incase book stand that BestBuy had. Dropped this thing a few times and it didn't even scratch it. My iPad2 is a dedicated e-college book. So much better than a real book and it can last all day long. Saves me money buying e-books as well. I put a invisible screen on it as well and I'm completely happy with this device.
  17. bursthead macrumors 6502


    Apr 9, 2010
    I use my ipad 2 for all my notes.. I have a bluetooth keyboard, with my smart cover. I don't use pages because its a bit slow, but there is an app called Outliner.. Best thing since sliced bread...
  18. GabooN macrumors regular

    Mar 31, 2008
    Windsor, Ontario
    Wirelessly posted (iPod touch: Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_3_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8G4 Safari/6533.18.5)

    Check out Evernote. I used it in 4th year on my MacBook and the iPad version I great.

    iProcrastinate is a good due date type app for courses. U can set up courses and set assignments with internal steps witting the larger task. Syncs to desktop version. (now that I think. Not sure if there is iPad version. I just got mine today. I use it on MacBook and iPhone though)
  19. MXSkier62 macrumors regular

    Dec 4, 2006
    I 100% agree with this poster. The iPad is a consumption device, not a truly great productivity device. I'm in grad school now, and I can say that I love using my iPad to keep PDFs and textbooks on it. For that purpose an iPad is fantastic. But nothing yet replaces a normal notebook for taking notes in class unless you just like to type the notes in which case stick to a laptop.

    Personally, I think the best setup is a 15" mbp, iPad, and notebooks. Dont buy the iPad thinking that'll be a device to take notes on. Is not.
  20. Bentron macrumors 6502

    Jul 10, 2008
    From my experience, the iPad is great as a supplement device, but it isn't the best for note taking. It's just not as quick, nor as effective from a learning perspective as handwritten notes, but that's just my personal preference.

    Other than that, it's great. I often download the powerpoint of the lecture and run on Keynote (if I wasn't too awake the first time!). Use the Kindle app for textbooks, which is a massive help, especially the ability to search for key words in the text and the portability of course. Also, being able to look something up on the internet without having to use a campus computer, it saves a lot of time.

    So yeah, a very useful device in uni, but for me, a pen and paper still has the edge with note-taking.
  21. Siggen macrumors 6502

    Apr 1, 2011
    Oslo, Norway
    There is not a lot to say about the leather skinn except it looks good and is durable. Sticks well and does not leave residue. I'm getting about to order one now soon, so I get it before my new iPad.

    The smart cover is great, I use every day. The video stand feature is flawed (the one standing most up) as its to waggly for planes or buss rides. But the keyboard stand is great, I would not use the keyboard in landscape without it. Its good protection for the screen and it eliminates the need of a bluetooth keyboard for my end.

    Also the great for studiying is the Evernote Peak. An app using the Smart Cover for memorizing school stuff. It boasts being the first "game" utilizing the Smart Cover, but its more of a tool for studying.
  22. yodaxl7 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 25, 2010
    Sorta agree and disagree. When typing on a laptop, you cannot draw stuff. Plus, it takes practice to with either laptop or ipad to take notes. So, at first, you might want to do both ipad and plain paper to take notes. There are many note taking apps. You could take notes on paper and redo it later on ipad for neatness.
  23. marrzie macrumors regular

    Mar 9, 2011
    Zagg invisible shield for iphone is nice and slick easy to swipe and gesture on. But for the ipad it is way too rough and grippy if you plan on getting the one that protects the screen. Read a few reviews on it first. Get power support shield instead. And the smart cover is great.
  24. hcho3 macrumors 68030

    May 13, 2010
    Don't buy from bestbuy. Buy from someone else. Just not Bestbuy.
  25. IJBrekke macrumors 6502

    Oct 24, 2009
    Long Beach, CA
    I agree with your point about mental processing, but disagree with your point about handwriting vs. laptop typing. I use a laptop for note-taking because I am able to write down much, much more detail about a given topic vs. handwriting, simply because I can do it about 10x faster. Using a laptop doesn't automatically mean you have to write down a lecture verbatim; A laptop can function in the exact same manner as pen and paper, just in a faster, more efficient way.

    And we are in agreement that an iPad is the worst choice of the three, by far.

Share This Page