The iPad: A Mobile Learning Device and Innovative Note-Taking Tool

The iPad: A Mobile Learning Device and Innovative Note-Taking Tool

Julia Bennett, Danielle McKain
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2706-0.ch013
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Mobile learning is becoming more prominent in all levels of education. While educators strive to keep up with the learning needs of twenty-first century students, research on best practices for mobile devices in the classroom is limited. There is a great deal of research on traditional note-taking, but mobile devices have changed the way students take notes. While electronic note-taking began with simply typing notes on a laptop computer, it has quickly transformed into a multitude of options with various note-taking applications (apps). The purpose of this chapter is to provide a brief review of mobile devices and note-taking in K-12 classrooms. Additionally, it reviews and compares features of eight note-taking applications. These apps change how notes are taken, organized, stored, and accessed. This chapter provides an overview of each application with specific examples using Notability, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of taking notes on the iPad.
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Mobile learning, the concept of both teaching and learning using electronic mobile devices (Kaganer, Giordano, Biron, & Tortoriello, 2013), has grown into an accepted form of learning for twenty-first century students in both K-12 and higher education settings. Although the mobile learning phase began with laptops on carts and eventually expanded to cell phones and tablets, many school districts now implement bring your own device (BYOD) or bring your own technology (BYOT) policies (Grant, Tamim, Brown, Sweeney, Ferguson, & Jones, 2015; Hill, 2011) that allow students to use personal devices during instructional time. Additionally, school districts have purchased mobile devices such as Apple’s iPad and Google Chromebooks for students in one-to-one technology initiatives aimed at providing every student with a device.

Regardless of how students access technology, mobile device use has increased in the United States (Pearson Education, 2015). Each year, the Pearson Student Mobile Device Survey is administered to students in grades 4-12 across the United States. According to the most recent survey, students are currently using laptops, hybrid devices, a mixture of a laptop and handheld tablet, tablets, and cell phones in the classroom while 1 in 5 students attend a school that offers every student a mobile learning device (Pearson Education, 2015). These results suggest that mobile learning is nationally present and must be considered when designing and planning classroom instruction.

Note-taking, one of the most common classroom practices used to organize and learn content material, is now possible through multiple applications available on mobile devices. Recent research focuses on typing notes, often verbatim, and has found that comprehension and retention decreases as compared to traditional pencil and paper note-taking (Aguilar-Roca, Williams, & O’Dowd, 2012; Muller & Oppenheimer, 2014; Sana, Weston, & Cepeda, 2013). However, taking notes has transformed from just typing. It is now possible to draw, organize, search, record, import, and edit notes through multiple applications available on mobile devices. The current applications provide students with ubiquitous access to their course notes and provide users with multiple note-taking features.

The purpose of this chapter is to contribute to existing research on mobile device use in the classroom while providing a deeper look into how iPads can be used for note-taking purposes in a K-12 educational setting. Objectives of the chapter include:

  • 1.

    Mobile Devices in K-12 Education: Providing a brief literature review about mobile device use in K-12 classrooms.

  • 2.

    Note-taking Using Mobile Devices: Explaining the difference between traditional note-taking and note-taking using an electronic device.

  • 3.

    Note-taking Applications: Providing descriptions of the following applications: Evernote, Microsoft OneNote, MyScript Memo, Notability, Penultimate, Simplenote, Notepad+, Metmoji NoteLite, with specific emphasis on explaining the Notability application using Apple’s iOS.

  • 4.

    Note-taking Using the iPad: Describing and providing student note-taking examples of taking notes using an iPad and the Notability application.

  • 5.

    Advantages and Disadvantages: Explaining current advantages and disadvantages of taking notes using mobile devices, and providing practitioner suggestions to overcome technological barriers.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Tags: A feature that allows adding keywords to notes to make them easier to search.

Lasso: An application feature that allows selections to be made for editing.

Wi-Fi: The ability to connect to the Internet using an electronic device within specific boundaries.

Stylus: A writing utensil that can be used to write on the screen of a tablet or any touchscreen device.

Visual Learner: A learning style in which a learner acquires knowledge through images, diagrams, and charts.

iPod Touch: An all-purpose handheld PC by Apple Inc. that runs on Apple’s iOS operating system and connects to the internet through Wi-Fi, but does not use a cellular network.

Auditory Learner: A learning style in which a learner acquires knowledge through listening.

AirDrop: The ability to share notes, pictures, websites, and other files between Apple devices such as iPhones, iPods, and iPads.

Apple Watch: A smartwatch developed by Apple Inc. that incorporates fitness tracking with iOS.

iPhone: A smartphone by Apple Inc. that runs on Apple’s iOS operating system.

Notability: A note-taking application available on the Apple App Store for purchase.

PDF Document: An abbreviation for Portable Document Format. This is an electronic file that can be exported elsewhere.

Applications or Apps: Software downloads that are available on Apple’s iOS operating system and can be free or require a purchase using the Apple App Store.

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