6 Great Note-Taking Tools for Students and Teachers

Laura is a writer and recent Cambridge graduate with particular experience in the area of education technology. She has worked with a variety of different education companies and is active in the 'edtech' community on Twitter, so she prides herself on always being in touch with the latest developments and exciting new tools in e-learning.

One of the best things about education technology is that it has allowed students and teachers alike to turn to online annotation and records, making hastily scrawled, illegible scribbles and coffee-stained pages a thing of the past. From university students keeping track of lectures to young students making plans and mind maps, there is an online note-taking tool to suit everyone…


1. Study Blue

A great site that allows students to create online flash cards, study guides and quizzes. These learning resources are stored online, making heavy folders and easily-misplaced notebooks redundant, as students can simply login anywhere anytime and use their notes to revise, or test themselves using their flashcards. Social networking links allow students to share notes with friends and test/teach each other by pooling their resources.


2. Scriblink

A brilliantly simple online interactive whiteboard, Scriblink allows notes to be shared as they’re created. No need to log on or create an account – simply start writing on your interactive whiteboard and a unique url will be provided, enabling you to invite others to join you – perfect for student-teacher collaboration, as it keeps the resource secure for your class use alone. Different colours, styles and writing tools are available and a handy ‘chat’ function allows students to ask questions as you go along.


3. Penzu

Perfect for individual students, Penzu is the online version of the old-fashioned notebook or journal in which you build up your body of lecture or class notes. Easily password protected and accessible online from anywhere, with no need to sync or manage files. Also accessible from mobile devices, making it ideal for students taking lecture notes using hand-held devices.


4. The Awesome Highlighter

Pretty much does what it says on the tin! A quick and easy way to annotate online texts, this simple tool allows students to mark out and highlight particular sections or sentences of any web page before storing it for future use or sending it on to peers. Teachers can use it to quickly draw students’ attention to the pertinent part of a shared text or resource.


Note-Taking5. InFocus.cc

inFocus.cc lets you highlight any section of a live webpage and generate a shareable URL. It is great for directing students to certain relevant parts of a page, or making sure that focus is given to the right content. For example, if I wanted to “focus” attention on the summary section of a Wikipedia article, I could share this generated link. You can generate InFocus URLs using the website, bookmarklet, or install the Chrome plugin.


6. NoteMesh

The great thing about NoteMesh is that it is specifically designed to allow students from a particular class to collaborate together to produce a definitive single source for lecture notes. An individual wiki is created for each class, enabling students within that class to add to and edit existing lecture notes, gradually building up a rich collaborative resource with the best bits of every student’s notes joining together to comprehensively cover any given topic.


Do you know any great note-taking tools? Share your favourites using the comments box below!


Images courtesy of Flickr. Feature image, NathanaelB. Second image, J_O_I_D.

  • @mmeveilleux

    How about the LiveScribe pen?? That’s my fave because I can doodle and record audio notes. If you can use a pen and talk, you can master this tool. EZ 2 use!

    • FractusLearning

      Thanks for the tip! Looks like a very interesting piece of kit.

  • Ron Barton

    Diigo should have been listed here too. The ability to highlight and add notes to websites AND share them with collaborators makes note taking a breeze.

    • FractusLearning

      Completely agree Ron. Diigo is a great tool. I also love the fact all my bookmarks are in the cloud and no matter how many times I lose/break/format my machine, I always have my bookmarks and notes.

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  • http://twitter.com/Basez99 Jonathan Friedman

    I would also suggest to add Scanmarker to the list (www.scanmarker.com) as It was built for note taking for students. Essentially its a pen scanner with which you highlight key sentences in a book or printed document and you get it ready for editing on your computer.

    Full disclosure – I am affiliated with the company (but still think its a good tool).

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