Evernote, Audio Note, StudyBlue popular with students

Evernote is a free note-taking app popular among college students for its ability to sync seamlessly between any devices one owns, keeping one's notes within reach for whenever they are needed, and its ability to import many kinds of data, including text, images, audio, and many document types.

Laptops, tablets and smartphones are now commonplace in the classroom. Students are replacing their pad and pencil with an iPad and their finger.

Samsung’s new line of devices takes advantage of a feature dubbed S-Note, which allows the user to enter an annotation mode. Using a stylus or a finger, the user can circle, sketch, note, underline or manipulate the document, PowerPoint or PDF at their will. Yet Samsung, with their flagship note-taking feature, still falls short of the iPad’s market share. Unfortunately for Apple, the iPad has no such feature, nor anything similar. However, there is more than one app for that.

“I hadn’t heard anything about Evernote before browsing the App Store earlier this year,” Reid Chapman, junior in finance at the University of Missouri, said. “Being a new iPad owner, I was looking for a good note app. Evernote was laid out very simply and you catch on quick. It’s like knock-off Microsoft Word.”

Under the “Company Info” tab on the Evernote website, the company’s goal is, “to help the world remember everything, communicate effectively and get things done.” This goal is within reach, with currently 13.5 million active users and an international office in Japan. Evernote has expanded globally and takes up more market share every year, according to a study by infoglyphs.com. The app is available for free on the app store.

Tony Sanchez, sophomore in nursing at Johnson County Community College, said he has heard of Evernote, but chose to use AudioNote instead.

I really liked it for note taking and audio recording lectures so I bought the full version,” Sanchez said. “It syncs with my Mac and all my notes are in one place.”

Sanchez said that he begins audio recording his lectures the moment he sits down. If a professor says something important, he said he types out the topic and the app makes a note during the lecture.

I believe that it is $3.99,” Sanchez said. “I just searched on the app store one day looking for a note taking application and I really liked the reviews on it.”

For readers who would rather not spend near $4, there is an AudioNote Lite version that allows those interested to try it out before investing their money.

However, those who lack the devices necessary for apps aren’t without their own digital academic aid. StudyBlue is an online platform that allows users to create and deal decks of virtual flash cards.

You have to be honest with yourself if you get questions right or wrong though because it has you score yourself and in the end you get a grade,” Sanchez said. “Over time, a percentage and graph [tells] you how much you have improved on that subject.”

StudyBlue also allows teachers to harness the power of the platform and track student studying progress with “Class Stats.” The intuitive interface uses familiar vernacular like “digital backpack” to facilitate learning. StudyBlue can also sync up with an Evernote account, bringing everything full circle.

Chloe Stacy, senior in pharmacy at Drake University, said she loves the ability to view other students’ flash cards.

It helped if I didn’t have time to make the cards or as an aid to check if I had the correct information,” Stacy said.

While technology may be seen as a distraction in the classroom, many students see it as efficient and necessary.

The best part is, it’s all instantly available and organized, literally at my fingertips,” Eric Zwygart, senior in marketing, said. “I might grab the wrong notebook, but I always have my tech.”