How do you use your tablet for notes?

Discussion in 'The Tablet PC Life' started by Roxlo, Jan 14, 2010.

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  1. Roxlo

    Roxlo Pen Pal - Newbie

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    So here's my story. I'm a freshman (2nd semester now) and I just ordered myself a tablet convertible.

    My 1st semester, my school work was all over the place and disorganized (but I still managed good grades ;)).

    This semester I want to organize myself up, so I went out and bought a few binders and dividers.

    But then the idea of a tablet PC came to my mind - having the ability to have all my work on one platform, in my backpack at all times, and being able to have them conveniently archived at the end of the semester. However, I'm not quite sure how to begin.

    Should I use my tablet for taking notes in every class, for book notes, etc? How would you all suggest I use my tablet PC to organize myself? Is a tablet more useful than using a plain binder w/ dividers and/or notebook?

    I haven't received my tablet yet (coming tomorrow), so I should probably wait until then, but I'd still like to hear some of you all's experiences.
     
  2. Fishface

    Fishface Scribbler - Standard Member

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    I use PDF Revu / PDF annotator to mark up and make notes on my papers. The ability to "add a blank page" at will is invaluable when you are working out a proof completely for yourself. This probably works for electronic slides too. I never print out an electronic resource if I can help it.

    I'm no longer taking classes, but I don't think I could write neatly or fast enough on a tablet to keep up with a live lecture that doesn't use slides (e.g., prof sketches a proof on the board, and you have 1 minute to scribble it down while trying to understand it). Also, nothing beats the tactile feeling of pencil on paper when you're brainstorming something out. So I still use notebooks for various things such as this.
     
  3. Roxlo

    Roxlo Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Just had my first 2 days of class. Two of my professors post the day's powerpoint online before the lecture, so I can directly "ink" on them. :D -laughs at classmates printing out hundreds of pages-
     
  4. R.C.Anderson

    R.C.Anderson Pen Pal - Newbie

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    That's the main thing I'll be using mine for when I get it. What program do you use to write on them? Can you write directly in PP or do you print them into a PDF with note space on the side to write on?
     
  5. MaDequipment

    MaDequipment Pen Pal - Newbie

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    My first semester with a tablet-pc was a big mess. Everything worked properly, but I just did not know how to fully utilize everything.

    First and foremost, Microsoft OneNote 2010 is an absolute must along with Windows 7.

    Secondly, set up a system that will enable you to take better and neater notes. This will include:
    -utililzation of tags within OneNote so you can easily find information that you need to review, ask questions about, or add supplemental information to
    -set up a color system that delineates between headings, examples, main ideas, critical points, and diagrams - there are more than enough colors in OneNote to make this possible
    -understanding that OneNote works best when every note you take is distinct and clear - that means just making sure that what you write down is in a neat fashion
    -setting up a notebook system that clearly distinguishes between textbook notes, homework, and lecture notes - beyond that, ask yourself how you want to divide notebook sections and pages up such as a new section for every unit and a new page for every lecture
    -Use the send-to function of OneNote to have annotations of readings and lectures readily available
    -Utilize the diagramming tools of OneNote

    Thirdly, make your tablet be more than just a notebook.
    -Use Ink Flash Cards from Microsoft to make reviewing for information simpler
    -Use screensharing functionality from Adobe Connect, Skype, and others to work on problems over the internet with friends - E.g. I use this function to work on primarily my math homework instead of trying to describe to someone over audio how to complete an integral
    -Record your lectures with OneNote - fantastic tool that makes sure you can always go back to listen to what a professor said while you were busy copying notes
    -Use it as a replacement for a printer - instead of doing a peer review by printing out something, just simply annotate on it with word's ink tools
    -Use cooliris to take full advantage of your tablet's capabilities and make searching for images and media a breeze

    Fourth, BACKUP!!!
    -School files should always be backed up, but when you're carrying all that information in addition to your lecture and textbook notes, you really SHOULD be paranoid about what could happen to data like a virus over a campus network, a drop on the sidewalk, or a clumsy friend who spilled coke during lunch. Utilize Live Mesh or Dropbox to synchronize your notebooks on the cloud and across other computers.
     
  6. flythebrick

    flythebrick Pen Pal - Newbie

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    I just finished my first semester with a tx, and i thought is was incredibly valuable. I write everything I need into onenote, print slides to onenote if they're posted for lecture and the ability to search notes is definitely worth it, just be sure to add in one or two key words.

    Also, like MaDequipment said, space everything out. You have unlimited paper, use it! make everything neat and clear.

    and always back up! because even if you dont use your backups, you can always send them to a friend who missed lecture/lost his paper notes.
     
  7. NamelessPlayer

    NamelessPlayer Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    Let's just say that the instant I got my first taste of OneNote on the ol' TC1100, I was NOT going back to that kludgy dead tree stuff ever again!

    Search your notes, easily edit and duplicate them, and perhaps best of all, with a Tablet PC, you don't have to worry about trying to "type" a complex math formula, a diagram, or some other piece of non-plain-text information!

    Also, for some weird reason, even though I'm a fast touch-typist, I never bother using the keyboard in OneNote. I guess I just find it more practical to stick with the pen rather than going back and forth between two input methods.
     
  8. DaemonForce

    DaemonForce Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Your journey is yours. I started on a 233MHz desktop and not enough storage. I learned to archive only what matters. I now have an open N+ wireless base server that stores all of my data in an order that only I understand. Do what is easy for you and no one else. For me that means a single rack running Windows Server and IIS with a direct link to the main disk from any device in the house.
    Fit the tablet with the way you learn. If you're smart, you don't have to do a whole lot. Maybe write a few notes or make a Visio diagram and that's it. If you're stupid like me, you'll try to exploit every possible method and possibly waste a lot more time than the lesson itself, but you'll eventually learn it all. This means as soon as the lesson starts, opening Audacity and hitting the record button. It also means opening FoxIt, One Note, Visio, Windows Journal, Xournal, whatever and taking down all the stuff that matters. If you're slow, you can go back and grab what you need later when you're studying. In a normal session you shouldn't have to use Photoshop, Microsoft Word or even a camera(some people are really that lazy) to convey what you've learned, but that's up to you. For a lot of people there is an issue of power. Remember that for some God forsaken reason we still can't seem to make a good battery. Your apps are not efficient. They eat power. Try not to waste it all.
    Confirmed.
    Maemo World:
    Xournal

    Windows World:
    Microsoft One Note
    Windows Journal
    FoxIt
    ArtRage

    There are too many. I try to find a non-demanding app that I like using and stick to it. You should keep it simple too.

    Web: A work in progress. I'm trying to eliminate the text post/get system with an adjustable bitmap post system. If I could hack up the right arguments I could do notes in Xournal or Windows Journal then send them to a .NET blog. If you're another Windows user, you might like using ritePen. A lot of new users tend to favor this for a while.
    I haven't used PowerPoint in years. I would use a PDF program like FoxIt. Adobe and Corel suffer from the Microsoft problem: too big too slow. But here's the issue I have: The more you use a closed source OS, the more options you seem to have. Find a common filetype or system that you can use to commune with office clips, printers, across platforms and use it. Sometimes your goals intentionally make themselves difficult and that's usually when you can't be bothered to send a digital note to a physical piece of paper. It has happened to me too many times.
    Did you have any practice with your tablet prior to class? Doing trial and error while you're in the middle of class is brutal and rather half hazard. I advise new users to set up a system and stick to it.
    This is all common sense and everything but school is a vicious playground that will eventually knock you down.

    I segregate the roles of production vs. storage. They're just not meant to be together on the same system. This is especially true with world networking. For this to work, there must be a second computer. Here's how I look at it:
    You have a tablet. You(I'm going to assume this is the majority of users here) decide on Windows for your main system of choice. You load the PE, hit diskpart and create a new disk. This could either be one solid partition like I always do, or if you are unlike me and have no other device for synchronization, you could try a defensive maneuver and create a second partition dedicated to data storage. The tablet serves you as a vital communications device across the campus by saving your notes, lectures and other personal data such as Internet meetings, messenger conversations, and occasionally new software and the every day web experience. Those last two will without warning stop all productivity and utterly destroy you with extreme prejudice. Prepare for it.
     
  9. MaDequipment

    MaDequipment Pen Pal - Newbie

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    I had had the tablet for about a week prior to class starting. I understood the basic functionality of what my tablet could do but didn't dare venture out trying anything new for screwing up my past system. So I ended up with a note-taking system that was identical to what I would have had with pencil and paper. No tagging, no audio-recording, no real effective note-taking system optimized for a tablet, and none of OneNote's diagramming tools.

    In addition, using the tablet for notes is primarily what I relegate the computer to. When not traversing campus, I have a Lenovo T61p that remains stationary on my desk. This is my primary means of typing papers, doing research, making spreadsheets, and creating presentations. I have also begun to use Live Mesh to synchronize my notes across computers which lets me study on the T61p, something that I feel contributes to my productivity. Anyways, DaemonForce is right, notes on a tablet should be geared to how one learns - but one should be aware of a tablet's capabilities in contributing to effective learning.
     
  10. Jinius

    Jinius Pen Pal - Newbie

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    I just got TabletPC and started using it at uni. I'm pretty thankful I came across this thread and "MaDequipment"'s advance is really useful. I probably would needed some trial to get it to that level he described!

    I currently use OneNotes for general notes and in lectures but most of lecture I have are given out also in PDF so I use annotator to add my notes to slides. I'm still not sure if I should import PDFs to OneNotes and annotate there as I read somewhere you lose quality and it doesn't look great when you print, but I can see how tagging would be useful.
     
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