Using an iPad to Take Notes in Class

Using an iPad to Take Notes in Class
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iPad with a Smart Cover and an Apple wireless keyboard.


Heading off to college soon? Already in college and looking for a way to get rid of some of that paper and those notebooks? Or are you already done with college and looking for an easier way to take minutes at a meeting? No matter your situation, the iPad may be able to make your life a little easier.

Being a college student with an iPad, I can vouch for their versatility and their usefulness (I use an iPad 2 with a Smart Cover and a wireless keyboard). It is a very light and portable device and can also store ALL of your notes and papers, without having to worry about carrying around notebooks and binders. Although you may be skeptical about how easy it is to actually type on it, I can assure you that it is not as complicated as you think. In addition, you can use the “Notes” app already installed on your device or you can obtain a separate word processing app (I use Apple’s “Pages”).


One of the defining features of the iPad is its size. It is extremely thin and light, and takes up only about as much space as a magazine would. If you place it in a book bag or a small computer bag you can barely tell that it is even there.

Now, I believe that there is more to portability than just size and weight; how about how quickly it can be ready to use? Putting your iPad into sleep mode and waking it up is almost instantaneous. You’ll have your iPad out and ready to go before anyone else even has their laptops plugged in. Also, with the iPad’s long battery life you should have plenty of time to take all of your notes and then come home and charge it (although I only have to charge my iPad once every four or five days, at the most).


Another great aspect of the iPad is its storage capabilities. Every few pages of notes should only take up a few kilobytes (Kbs), let’s say 10Kbs-20Kbs. Now let’s say that you have a 16 Gigabyte iPad, that is ruffly 17 million kilobytes (another way to look at it is between 850,000 papers and 1,700,000 papers). I can guarantee you that all of your documents will fit comfortably in to your tablet.

Writing With the On-Screen Keyboard

When I first got my iPad, I thought that trying to type on it would have much the same results as typing on my iPod (which I find a quite difficult compared to using a physical keyboard). But I was surprised to find the typing on the on-screen keyboard felt more like typing on a computer keyboard than on an iPod. It is has large keys, giving you plenty of room to type, with a layout that feels a lot like a computer when you use it. Mind you, it’s not quite as easy as a physical keyboard, but it still very convenient and effective.

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The Apple wireless keyboard (side view).

Using a Separate Physical Keyboard

Like I mentioned earlier, I use an Apple wireless keyboard and a Smart Cover in conjunction with my iPad; this makes writing on my iPad even preferable to typing on my computer. The controls on the iPad are smooth and convenient, and I don’t have to worry about waiting for Windows to load before I can begin typing.

Although there are many docks and Bluetooth keyboards available for the iPad, I use Apple’s Bluetooth keyboard. It is small and extremely light, and with it being only slightly longer than my iPad it fits comfortably in my computer case. Connecting it is also very simple, I let the keyboard and iPad find each other when I first bought the keyboard and they have remained connected ever since.

Notes and Pages

“Notes” is a great way to take notes (no pun intended?) with the iPad. It is a simple yet versatile program that allows for you to keep your work organized in a small list and to take down anything you would normally put on paper. you even get the ability to send anything you have typed directly to your email. However, if you want a little more functionality you may want to think about purchasing a third part word processor or Apple’s “Pages”.

I bought “Pages” for my iPad and have not regretted it since (about $10 on the App Store). I’ve used it to write all of my class papers and it is on hand if I need it to take notes in class. Pages allows me to edit both Pages documents and Word documents, so I don’t have to worry about file type. What’s even better though is that it allows me to export as either file type as well, and I can send these right to my email. Pages is fun to easy and easy to pick up on. The controls seem to be logically placed on the screen and the touch capabilities make it all the more interactive.

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A screenshot of “Pages” at work.


The iPad is an extremely versatile tool, and can be highly beneficial to students and others who are required to take notes on a regular basis. It is small and portable, capable of storing all of your notes and papers, and is a breeze to type on. Apple and other companies have even made it easier to take notes by adding apps that cater to the paper-writing/note-taking users. I would recommend the iPad, or a tablet in general, to anyone who would ask me about it.