Using an iPad to take notes in lectures?

Discussion in 'iPad' started by JonnoWitts, Apr 7, 2010.

  1. JonnoWitts macrumors newbie

    Apr 7, 2010
    Hull, England
    Hey, I'm looking to make the switch to a Mac, currently in a year internship, returning to University next year to finish my course. I've got my eyes on the 13" MacBook Pro - battery life, portability, power etc. Just wondering if anyone has any experience of taking notes/using an iPad in a lecture. Could it be the way forward?


  2. Seo macrumors regular

    Jun 1, 2009
    Cupertino, California
    The host of the iPad Possibilities Podcast says ever since he started using Evernote on the iPad he's been taking way more notes that on his laptop he used to use (a MBP). So I'd say if you like it, the iPad is very much a feasible note taking tool, and possibly better than laptops.
  3. LKeighty4 macrumors newbie

    Nov 4, 2009
    Is it possible? Yes, with an external keyboard. Would I do it? No. First, you would have to bring around the iPad and an external keyboard with you. Typing isn't horrible with the virtual keyboard but there's no 'tab' key which I use a lot while taking notes in class. Also, sometimes apps crash, and I don't think there's an automatic save feature on Pages for iPad (like on Word) that periodically saves your work in case it suddenly crashes. I love my iPad, but another reason I would never use it to take notes in class is that I think I would look ridiculous. Right now, I think the iPad is just a laptop/computer supplement rather than a replacement so if you're between a Macbook and an iPad I'd go for the Macbook.
  4. machacker macrumors regular

    Jun 25, 2008
    I agree and disagree at the same time. I agree that the iPad is not a computer replacement. It is a addition. I have my 13" mbp and i love it. It has it's uses and my iPad has different uses. However. I love using my iPad in class to take notes. It is smaller to carry and easier to keep focused than when i have my mbp. The iPad lasts all day and i love it. I don't use the keyboard dock, i just use the virtual keyboard which i think works amazingly.

    Just my two sense.
  5. jiE macrumors regular

    Sep 1, 2007
    what app do you use for notetaking?
  6. Bodhi395 macrumors 6502a

    Jul 23, 2008
    I disagree. I think if you get an apple case, or one similar, that lets you prop up the ipad to a slight angle, typing would not be much a problem at all. You could simply place the ipad on your desk then and comfortably type, not needing an extra physical keyboard.

    I don't know about the save feature, although I'm sure 3rd party apps would most likely include something like that, even if pages didn't. I think the basic notes app on the ipad saves automatically, since there is no save button to press.

    As for it looking ridiculous, I don't know, I think with the case that props it up on an angle, it would look quite sleek and I think as more and more people use their ipads, it will just become part of life to see people using them for pretty much everything.
  7. r0k macrumors 68040


    Mar 3, 2008
    I took mine to a lecture last night. I used the built in memos app. At the end, I emailed the notes to myself. I was not happy with the keyboard when trying to keep up with a lecture. I was not happy with the inability to draw quick diagrams and make them part of my notes. I don't have evernote on my iPad but I'll download it and give it a try at next week's lecture. When typing something like a forum or blog post, I find the keyboard on the iPad in landscape mode to be more than adequate. When trying to keep up with a fast paced lecture, I found it to be adequate but frustrating at times.

    I really liked walking into the classroom with something that was no thicker than a notepad. I liked being able to get on the internet using the campus wide wifi. The only frustrating part was the inability to keep up with the lecture at times. I hope somebody offers a 3rd party app aimed at taking notes quickly including diagrams and equations. I'll be all over it.
  8. jeremyblevins macrumors member

    Jan 29, 2010
    Pages auto saves every time you make a change. There isn't even a save option.
  9. ippikiokami macrumors regular

    Feb 25, 2010
    If you have a Macbook pro I honestly don't think there is any benefit of taking an ipad to lecture unless weight is really that big of a problem for you.

    Sometimes during lecture if I don't understand a topic the professor is talking about fully I like to jump to wiki to supplement my notes. Eventhough the keyboard is VERY usable in the iPad a laptop one is still much better for fast note taking. Not to mention highlighting and reorganizing your notes.

    I might be more of a multitasker than the average user but other things I do on my notebook that help me are. Add reminders for myself during class, Check course related emails from members of my project groups, in some courses I have a pdf version of the textbook so I can quick copy and paste passages directly to my notes.. any many more.
  10. btcutter macrumors 6502

    Jun 19, 2008
    Your first Mac SHOULD be a MacBook Pro! Especially you are a student and likely have a limited budget. You'll get more bang for your buck with MBP right now.

    Ipad is a complement to your line of Macs at home. It's not a stand alone computer. You need to sync with iTunes.
  11. whooleytoo macrumors 604


    Aug 2, 2002
    Cork, Ireland.
    I'd think a normal laptop is far better suited, particularly if you can touch-type. Using an iPad for taking notes like that sounds a bit like sticking a square peg in a round hole.

    Text-entry is a relative weakness of the iPhone/iTouch/iPad.

    The one thing that would be great (IMO) - an app which records the lecture (so you don't have to write everything) while you are free to draw diagrams, take short notes.. or actually listen to the lecturer! :p If it had speech recognition to convert the recording into written notes, that would be even better.
  12. machacker macrumors regular

    Jun 25, 2008

    I use Pages. And it worked fine for me! I really enjoyed it. After about a day, I was able to keep up in class without any difficulty. I enjoy the use of it in class.
  13. BaronStein macrumors regular

    Feb 11, 2010
    It is very possible, I use pages for taking notes, plus "Draw" application for adding graphics. Here is an example of one of my notes:

  14. jmor macrumors 6502

    Jul 22, 2009
    NJ, USA
    does anyone take notes freehand as opposed to typing? I would consider pogo sketch and writing w/ the ability to draw in any pictures as needed. What app could do that?
  15. iLiveUdie macrumors regular

    Feb 19, 2010
    It is much easier to type on a laptop.

    If you are looking to type during lectures, get a Mac LapTop rather than an iPad
  16. najicta macrumors member

    Oct 28, 2009
    I took notes today in class on my iPad and have to say it was more pleasant than i expected. I brought along my iMac keyboard, and it worked out great! My notes are a little messier than I like, but i did buy the iPad to replace my old macbook, which is on its last legs... I figure, either pages will get updated with a "Notes" or an "Outline" template or i'll wait until microsoft offers up their version of Word for the iPad, which has got to be forthcoming.
    For now, i will be syncing my notes to my computer and reformatting them, which i think probably is a good thing, since it will force me to go over them a second time :)
  17. r0k macrumors 68040


    Mar 3, 2008
    I thought about using Pages, but after the file issues I had I decided I didn't want my notes "captive" on my iPad and Memos lets you email stuff from right inside the app. I'll give Pages a try at my next lecture, but not until I prove to myself I can get files off the iPad easily, or if not easily at least quickly.

    I agree that it is easier to type on a Mac laptop. I own both a Macbook and an iPad. I also own an Acer Aspire One but it's collecting big time dust since Saturday. But if I'm running out the door to a lecture or a meeting, the iPad goes with me. It's like walking around with a notebook. Remember paper notebooks? 3/8 inch thick and 8.5 x 11 inches and you had to use a... wait for it... a pencil to take notes?

    For the size and weight of a spiral bound notebook I may have to work a little harder at touch typing but I get the whole internet (provided the campus wifi is working) and offline access to ALL the handouts from ALL the lectures from ALL the classes I've taken since undergrad (as pdf files) and I still have 14 Gig of storage free on a 16 gig device. And don't get me started on iTunes U if I want to watch the same lecture as it would be delivered at Berkley, Stanford or MIT. No contest: take the iPad.
  18. Mitchrapp macrumors 6502a

    Apr 2, 2010
  19. AWalkerStudios macrumors member


    Nov 25, 2007
    Hard to get pages files off the iPad? No it isn't, you can email it straight from the app or just plug it in to iTunes and get it through the sync screen. Last night i pulled an all nighter and typed a 10 page paper on the iPad. Touch typing was a piece of cake but I wish Pages had a foot note feature so i can put citation numbers directly in the text. Note taking in lecture has been pretty easy so far as well. Not to mention the fact that i just take the iPad with my digital text books around vs my macbook pro and physical text books.
  20. calvin2006 macrumors regular

    May 15, 2006
    Phoenix, AZ
    Is this the Draw for iPad free app or something else?
  21. HyperX13 macrumors 6502

    Sep 3, 2009
    Why would people suggest Macbooks over the iPad, especially for note taking. iPad is the way of the future, as someone posted you can use Pages to do the notes. My wife replaced her macbook air with an iPad, and she can do everything on it that she did with the macbook and more. For me, it's iPad on the road and Mac Pro (or imac in future) at home. Macbooks are totally useless to me.
  22. talkingnewmedia macrumors regular


    Dec 9, 2009
    In the old days they didn't charge $25K or more for tuition and $200 for a textbook either.
  23. lilo777 macrumors 603

    Nov 25, 2009
    As just everybody here already agreed, typing on a laptop is much faster. Not to mention that one might want to multitask (either for searching additional content on the Internet or instant messaging or something else). It looks like the best bet is the laptop with a conventional keyboard (rather than a chiclet keyboard which is less suitable for blind typing). And if you are concerned about weight, you can get something like this Sony notebook which has the same weight as iPad.
  24. krnboy503 macrumors regular

    Feb 1, 2008
    It really depends on the person. For me, im almost at the same typing speed as my macbook pro. The more you use the iPad, the faster you will get. The ipad is with me during class and during the times i need to type documents. It's so much lighter too!
  25. jedivulcan macrumors 6502

    May 15, 2007
    I use Pages in class and it's worked incredibly well thus far.

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