Home Free Tools & Resources App Ed Review Roundup: Noteworthy Notetaking Solutions for the Classroom

App Ed Review Roundup: Noteworthy Notetaking Solutions for the Classroom


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Well, it's September and here we are – school is back in session all across the U.S. and much of the world. And you know what that means: notetaking.

Maybe it’s Cornell style or maybe it’s the use of graphic organizers; regardless of the style, we know the importance of teaching our students to take quality notes. (Thanks, Marzano!) Below we have highlighted four high-scoring pieces of edtech for notetaking. Cloud notetaking, collaborative notetaking, web annotation, and voice-to-text notetaking will bring your classroom into the future this school year!

As always, each of our product reviews includes an original description, 3-5 instructional ideas for using the edtech in the classroom, a comprehensive evaluation, and screenshots that show it in action! If you would like to view other pieces of edtech that suit your needs, please visit our database that holds over 1,000 reviews!

  1. Simplenote is well, just that, simple! With Simplenote, which is available as a website and in app (both iOS and Android) form, students can create an account and only have to click the “+” button to start a new note. Students can then begin typing directly into their new note. As they do, Simplenote automatically saves their information. In addition, if students wish to share their note, they can tap the “three dot” button on the top of the screen, and their sharing options include sending it via email, posting it online, or inviting other students to collaborate on the note. With its no-thrills interface, Simplenote is ideal for students who wish to document information quickly and be able to access it with ease. To learn more about Simplenote, check out our review!
  1. Evernote might be the most well-known technology in the student-notetaking space. With it, students are able to create notes either on its website or app (both iOS and Android), and Evernote will store the note in its cloud. Students are able to access the notes across Evernote’s different platforms, plus they are to share, edit, and collaborate on the note. Another feature that we really like is that students are able to create “Notebooks” in Evenote, which allows them to organize their notes in many different ways, such as by topic, class, subject, content, collaborators, and more! Our only caution for using Evernote is that there is a bit of a learning curve due to its advanced functionalities. With high scores for its Utility and Design, we are sure Evernote can be used in your classroom! To learn more about Evernote, click here.
  1. Annotate any webpage with Genius Web Annotator! Genius, known in the mainstream for their song lyric library with annotated analyses and lyric explanations, has opened their annotation tool to the web for personal use both in-browser and as a Google Chrome extension. To begin, users set up an account with Genius. Then, they can annotate by adding “genius.it/” to the front of any web address. Annotating a webpage is a breeze. Users click the image or highlight the text they wish to annotate and they can type into a text box the annotation information they wish to save. Images can also be saved to the annotations. Users can share and collaborate on their annotated web pages with others via easy-to-use sharing options. Scoring a 9.3 rating in Design on our comprehensive rubric, the full Genius Web Annotator review is available here. (If you are going to learn one new notetaking piece of edtech, Genius Web Annotator is our pick!)
  1. Looking for an assistive app for a student in your class who has trouble with old-fashioned note taking? Dragon Dictation has voice-to-text recognition that makes taking notes convenient for students and teachers alike. Dragon Dictation listens to users’ speech and converts it into an editable text document, one minute at a time. As users progress through their transcription, edits can be made via the on-screen keyboard to any words Dragon Dictation mishears. The completed document that results from the transcription and edits can be shared through email or social media. Please note, punctuation must be pronounced to avoid run-on sentences. To view our full review and instructional ideas, check out Dragon Dictation on App Ed Review.

That’s all for this month’s Roundup.  If you would like more information about any of the app lessons mentioned here or that are on the App Ed Review website, please contact us at info@appedreview.com. And remember, don’t just take note of something, make a note of it!


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Alex Fegely is a Social Studies teacher at The Academy for the Arts, Science, and Technology, a STEM school in Myrtle Beach. In addition, Alex is an adjunct instructor at Portland State University. Previously, he has taught English and Digital Media. Alex believes that technology is an invaluable classroom tool for differentiating instruction and engaging learners.   Todd Cherner is an assistant professor of education at Coastal Carolina University. Previous to becoming a professor, Todd was a high school English and Journalism teacher at Leesburg High School, where he also coached bowling. Professionally, Todd believes technology's presence in education is going to continue to increase, and he wants to support teachers with quality resources for using technology effectively in the classroom.


  1. Hi Valentina,

    It’s great that you are thinking about how to use these pieces of edtech. My recommendation is to try the Evernote app/website before Genius Web Annotator. Evernote has a lot of the functionalities you described, and Genius is more for writing on websites. I hope that helps!

  2. Wow Alex and Todd!
    I am so impressed with these apps. I am a math teacher and assign notes about three times per week for homework. I am also very old fashioned! I am taking online classes and have written tons of pages of notes by hand from each chapter that I have read. These apps will really help me to do this faster and I think my students will find them more engaging than what they are currently doing.
    I noticed that you recommend Genius Web Annotator for those of us that plan to learn one note taking app. Would you still recommend this one for my math students, or is there another one more user friendly? My expectations are that they write the title, vocabulary & definitions, examples, table with information and a summary of what they learned. I was thinking that as we use technology they can just copy and paste the example and under the picture, they can write a sentence of what they learned from the example or annotate key information.
    As I stated before I am new to this so any information that you can provide would be benficial!
    Thank you so much for sharing!


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