App Review 28: Notability (New Updates)


Hello, everybody. Today we’re going to take a look at one of
our old favorites that’s got a little bit of a new look and we’re going to dive a little
bit deeper into it than maybe we have in the past. And that’s notability. Notability is one of the — I think the essential
iPad apps to have for anybody in an education setting. Especially somebody that’s going to be doing
any note taking. Because what it really allows you to do is
organize your notes. It allows you to take different types of notes,
it allows you to annotate on top of other papers. It really provides — it runs the gamut in
what it allows you to do and it’s a really nice organizing tool. It’s gotten to the point, now, where I use
this for organizing all of my notes on meetings or whatnot, and I know several grad students
that do, as well. You can see here on this side of the screen,
what we get when we open Notability is a color coded filing system, basically. So it’s going to show us here our list of
different — in this case it could be classes where we’re taking notes. It might be meetings where we’re taking notes. But we’ve got them. We can file things away in these different
categories. To add a new category, you would just tap
the plus key up there. Once we’re in a category — and I’m going
to go into my universal design for learning notes — to add a new note, you would hit
this blue button over here that has a pencil in it. I have several notes within here. I’m just going to show you kind of how this
works. I’m going to tap on this first note and open
that up. And what we’re going to see, here, is a toolbar
that pops up across the top of the screen. These are your main note taking tools. You’ve got a T for text that’s for typing,
you’ve got a pencil for writing, you’ve got a highlighter, an eraser, and scissors. If we hit the T button for the text and we
want to begin typing, and we tap where we want to type; you can see the keyboard pops
up. Now right on the keyboard, there’s some cool
things that are added onto the keyboard only in Notability. If we look right here where it says gil sans;
that’s the font. If I tap that font, you can see I can pick
one of several other fonts that I can type with. Next to that we have the size of the font
that we’re typing with, here. We’ve got the color of the font we’re typing
with. We’ve got bold, italicize and underline. And we can choose settings within all of these
and then save them in A, B, and C, here so that we could have our favorites. And we could go directly to a different font. So let’s say I want to type in blue and save
that as a font B. Now I have my B font saved as that. Actually, I already had saved the B font so
I go back to what I had before. So I can save my favorites within these. The other thing we have over on the far side
is bullet points. If we want to add bullet points in the form
of numbers and letters, dots, or just in outline format; we can go ahead and we can set up
our notes as an outline. That’s what we would do to type. I think the most powerful complement to typing
is the audio component of this. You see here there’s a microphone. If we go into class and we tap record, it
records everything that the instructor is saying. When we type a note, then, while it’s recording
— and only when we type; not with writing or anything else but only when we type — it
links what’s typed with what was recorded while that was recording. And so we can then — this is where it becomes
real helpful for folks with disabilities. If they struggle with writing everything they
see on the board, keeping up with the teacher; they can record the lecture, write down key
words for their notes, and then go back and tap those key words to play back what the
teacher was saying about those things. So here’s how that works. When we play it back, I’m going to go and
I’m going to tap the Play button, here. Now you can hear it’s playing. Now I take my cursor or my — I’m using a
stylus — and tap on any of these notes I’ve typed. You’re going to see it’s going to jump to
another part in that recording. You can see it changed where it jumped to
on the line. You’re hearing different parts to that recording,
as well. I’m going to pause that. That’s a really powerful tool that we’ve got
in here. That’s a great piece for note taking. Along with that — I’m going to show you — there’s
a couple other things we can do. If you tap on the pencil, here — if you tap
on the pencil, using the pencil, we can write notes within our notepad, here. So we could write: this is a test. If I’m doing this, however, right in my notepad;
that’s awfully large. That’s big writing. That’s not going to be very conducive to taking
lots of notes if you’re going back and studying. If I want to make that a little bit smaller
and more the size of the other text on my screen, what I can do when I’m writing is
I can go to this bottom corner and tap on the magnifying glass. When I tap on the magnifying glass, what you’ll
see appear up here is a little zoom window. So with that zoom window — shows everything
zoomed in right here where you happen to be writing. So I can take that zoom window up here and
I can move it to an empty area. And now I can start writing something within
the box down below. When I write it in the box down below, you’ll
see it appropriately sized on the screen. What’s nice about this, as well, is that when
we are writing and you get over to the far side where you see this green area; as soon
as you write in the green area, it automatically slides over so you can continue writing right
within that line without much wait time, at all. So it’s a really neat way to note take. This happens to be the way that I take a lot
of my notes right now. The downside of this is when you do the writing,
it doesn’t change — it doesn’t link to audio if you happen to be recording at that time. Only typing does that. The writing is a really nice component. Also, if you’re doing the writing, you probably
want to have some kind of stylus. It’s a little bit easier to write with a stylus
than it is with your finger. If you hold down that blue pencil, you’re
going to see that you have lots of options for stroke size, color. You can change lots of different things and
you can really customize this note taking capability to what you want and what you need
there. So that’s really nice, as well. When you’re done writing, if you go back over
here and you tap on that magnifying glass again, that zoom window goes away. You’ll see if you want to erase something,
you tap the eraser up top. When I tap the eraser up top and rub over
what I have written, it will erase that stuff for me. Another option next to the eraser is the highlighter. If I hold down the highlighter, you can see
I can change — just like with the pencil — I can change stroke size, I can change
the color, as well. And then I can go ahead and I can highlight
things that I think are important within my notes. And you’ll see that highlighting pop up there,
as well. So lots of cool things that we can do with
note taking. Where I think this really starts to differentiate
itself as well, is we’ve got all those options but on top of that, we can really make these
multi-media notes if we want to. And we can do that by going to the Plus key,
here. And I guess before we do that, let me show
you something by the wrench. If I type the wrench and I hit Paper, I can
choose different types of lined paper, graph paper, different backgrounds here. So I can really set this up to look like a
notebook if I want to do that. But now I’m going to go back to that Plus
key. With the Plus key, you can add lots of media
to this. You can add a photo. If you add a photo from the top option here,
that goes into your photo gallery within your iPad and it allows you to pull photos from
there. If you’re a student that wants to take down
everything that’s written on the board and you can’t do it fast enough because there’s
so much there, you can hit Take a Photo. That allows you to use your camera on your
iPad and it allows you to take a photo and add it into your document like I have here
of a board in my office. If we go back to the Add, you can add a figure. So adding a figure allows us to go ahead and
we can and — say, we can draw a figure. So we’ll maybe draw a graph like this and
I can change the colors of the stroke, again. Draw a graph and then hit Done and that allows
us to add that graph into our notes, also. We can also add a web clip. If there was something from a website that
somebody thought that they wanted to grab — if an instructor was talking about a website,
you can actually go in — and this is what I’ve done here with Student Disability Services
— you can hit the Add, go to Web Clip, it takes you right to a web browser. You type in the site you want to go to — let’s
just do uiowa.edu. We’ll go there. It brings up U Iowa, we hit Done, and that
allows us to put that web clip directly into our notes. So now, if we wanted to visit that, we can
hit the Web Clip, hit Browser, and it’s going to take us right to that web clip that we’ve
added in here. So you can get directly to that if they’re
talking about an important web clip in class. There are some new things that have been added
to this, as well. This is now available on all of the Apple
devices. So it’s available on the iPhone, it’s available
on the iPad; it’s available on the iPad mini. You can take notes on any of those. You can sync to iCloud and then it can be
brought up and viewed on any of those, as well. So if you’re’ using your iPad typically to
take notes and you forget it, and you have your iPhone with you in class, you can use
the phone that day and you can still view those notes on the iPad. That’s one of the big things that has changed
in this. Another thing that’s changed in this is that
some of the ability to manipulate text. So let’s say I wanted to label this Student
Disability Services web clip by writing, and I just wanted to write SDS [inaudible]. So I write SDS but what I really want to do
is I want to rotate that and make it vertical next to the web clip. What I would then do, is I would go and hit
the Scissors button and draw a circle around that text. And now I’m going to take my fingers, and
with my fingers if I want to rotate that vertically, I am going to twist like a dial on the iPad
and it’s going to twist and it’s going to rotate my text. Now I can also slide that text over, move
it to where I want to go, and then if I use my fingers in a pinching motion, I can make
that smaller or I can make that bigger if I want to. I can figure out what size I want and leave
it there. I can also hit Style, and that allows me to
change the thickness, it allows me to change the color. I can change whatever I need to change about
that text to make it show up a little bit better. There we go. Now you can see what I’m angling for, there. And as soon as we tap out of that, then that
stays the way it is. So this is a great note taking tool. Also, as you see down at the bottom, here
there’s a little hand. If you have the problem of resting your hand
while you’re writing notes on the iPad; if you hit that hand, you get a little palm guard. And you can click and drag on the tool on
the far right — I’m at three lines. If you click and drag on that, you can increase
the size of that palm guard. And what that means is you can rest your hand
on this and not it’s going to affect anything you’re doing with the note taking app itself. So that’s a nice feature, as well. Not one that I particularly use a lot, but
that is a very nice feature. The other thing I want to show you is that
once you’re done taking notes, see that arrow coming out of the box? If we tap on that, we can email this, put
it in Drop Box, Google Drive, Twitter; whatever. We can send it out to just about anybody anywhere
and share those notes fairly easily. The other thing that we found that a lot of
people like about this — I’m going to show you here — is that you can import things
from other sources using this arrow heading into the box, there; the Import button. You could import from Drop Box or Google Drive. And you can pull in something like a PDF. So here’s a PDF. You know your instructor is going to be talking
about this PDF in class so you want to be able to take notes directly on it. You can pull that PDF into your iPad and now
you can use your highlighter to go through and highlight important names that you might
have to remember. Or you can use your pencil to write in important
notes that you might have to remember for class. Or we could even go ahead and we could type
notes into this, as well. So there’s lots that we can do with annotating
PDFs, annotating anything that happens to be in Drop Box, on Google Drive; we can pull
that in to Notability and operate with it within there. So there’s really a lot of cool things this
can do. And I think — it fluctuates in price sometimes. I think right now it’s $2.99. For $2.99, it’s a fantastic app. It’s a great app. It’s a must-have, I think, for any college. I think certainly students with learning disabilities
that might struggle with note taking; this is going to be an excellent thing for them,
as well. So if you’re going to import a word document,
what you want to do is you do want to save it to a PDF before you import it. So save it to a PDF, put it into Google Docs
or into Drop Box. You want to do that because one of the things
that it does is some of the symbols that you want to bring over from Word don’t necessarily
translate into Notability. And one of the issues that one of my grad
students ran into was in stats class where she was having that issue where some of the
symbols that she needed to see weren’t coming over in a Word document. So you’ve got to save it to a PDF first, then
bring it into Notability if you want to see everything that’s supposed to be there. That’s kind of the one downside. So again, that is a drawback. The other drawback is that your handwriting
does not link to recorded audio. But otherwise, this really is a fantastic
app; one of our favorites and one that we’re glad to review for a second time, here. And I think that’s about it. As always, if you have any questions —

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