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Pros and Cons of Using a Note-Taking App

Online note-taking has become a new way for students to absorb information from their lectures, especially through apps that allow you to take handwritten notes such as GoodNotes or OneNote. Personally, I recently started taking notes online myself with my iPad and stylus. However, I do wish I had learned the negatives of taking online notes since I had mostly focused on the benefits of it. Here are some pros and cons of using an online note-taking app that I’ve learned from the past couple of months.

Pro: It saves space.

Perhaps the biggest pro of online note-taking is that I don’t need to lug around multiple notebooks for each of my classes. Instead, all of my notes are condensed in my iPad. Not to mention that it saves wasting paper, too! You’re able to import any documents your professor may have uploaded online to work directly on your iPad via your note-taking app. 

Pro: You can’t lose your notes!

As someone who is extremely forgetful, it is a godsend that my GoodNotes app organizes itself without me putting in much effort. You can organize your notes by placing them in their own notebook with its respective cover. Another thing I found super useful is that I was able to keep my old notes from fall quarter into its own folder on my iPad. That way, if I ever need them again, I could just click on the folder and look up those notes. No more shuffling papers and no more panicking if you forgot your folder at home. If you have your tablet with you, it’s all you need. 

Con: It can be expensive. 

The iPad I currently have retails at $329.99 at the Apple Store. In addition, the Apple Pencil--the iPad’s accompanying stylus--is $99. Plus, certain note-taking apps will cost money through the app store. For example, the GoodNotes app that I bought was $8.99. Clearly, a college student has to save up a lot before buying these items. Meanwhile, a pack of notebooks at your local Office Depot could probably average around $6, and pencils are easily half the price. 

Con: Handwritten notes online take a while to get used to.

This is one of the cons that I wish I knew prior to getting an iPad. I’ve always been used to using a typical pen and pencil, but you have to change certain things when you make a big switch from traditional to technology-based. For me, I still struggle with writing as well as I do on paper on my iPad. I have to adjust my writing posture a lot to make sure my palm doesn’t make any extra marks on my paper. 

Despite the negatives and positives, it’s certain that our society is making a big change from traditional paper and pencil to a tablet and stylus. Hopefully these pros and cons will help you decide if making the switch is right for you!

Angelin Simon

UC Riverside '24

Angelin is currently pursuing a B.S. in Neuroscience at UC Riverside. In her free time, she enjoys taking long naps, stargazing, and painting.
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