Taking Notes With Technology

By Kaitlin Hurtado on February 28, 2017

Taking the technological route is often preferred over the standard handwritten notes in a notebook when it comes to taking notes in university. Keeping notes digital is often more efficient — both editing and sharing with classmates is easier when you can copy and paste or share a document with just a few clicks.

From your choice of laptop/tablet to the choice of a note-taking app, you can take further steps to maximize the efficiency of taking notes with technology.

Technological Tools

The go-to option for taking digital notes is a laptop, which most students have in their arsenal of school supplies. Laptops are portable, making it easy to take your supply of notes between campus, your living space, and other study spots.

However, laptops can often become an unnecessary weight addition to your backpack in comparison to a simple notebook, and burdensome when you have to trek all over campus to go between your classes and extracurriculars. Another technological option that will be lighter than a laptop is a tablet — they are easily more convenient in terms of weight by being able to fit in most school bags because of their typically slim build.

Tablets won’t have the same built-in keyboard that laptops do, but the problem has an easy fix as there are different keyboard accessories that are made specifically for tablets, making taking notes easy with a lighter tool and its versatile qualities, including its touch screen. With a touch screen, you can buy an accessory, such as a stylus, to take handwritten notes on your tablet. Writing the notes by hand, even with technology, will help you maintain the positive effects of handwritten notes that technology could take away by making you type notes.

Having a laptop or tablet in lecture will also allow you to pull up lecture notes in class, if your instructor provides them for the class beforehand. If you have the PowerPoint in your possession, you don’t have to worry about copying each slide word for word. Instead, you can focus more on the actual lecture, and be able to take down any information that isn’t on the instructor’s notes/PowerPoints.

If you feel like you can’t type as fast as your lecturer is able to speak, try recording lectures — most smartphones have reliable voice recorders already installed. Before you do record any lecture, make sure you are aware of your lecturer’s policy toward recording as some instructors do not allow any form of recording in their lectures for personal and/or legal reasons.

If you have yet to secure necessary technology for your studies, there are various discounts for college students that will help you fund your purchases. Best Buy has discounts specifically tailored toward college students, allowing you to save money on new laptops and tablets.

Image via pexels.com


At one point or another in your college career, you will encounter Google Docs and love its convenience when it comes to sharing and taking notes. Google Docs allows you to take notes just as you would on any other word document. With a few simple clicks, you are able to share the document to classmates for further studying.

Google Docs also allows for collaborative note-taking — make the document open for viewing and editing for your fellow classmates. Your classmates can directly add to your notes, filling in any information you may have missed in lecture, or offering their own thoughts on the lecture’s content.

One of the most convenient aspects of Google Docs is that you can take your notes with you wherever you go, without having to carry around your laptop or tablet. Google Docs has an app for smartphones, allowing you to view your notes on your phone and edit them whenever needed.

Similar to the sharing qualities that Google Docs has, the website OneClass acts as one large Dropbox for lecture notes, instructional videos, and exam study guides. The site lets you upload your own notes and download those of other users so that you can compare your notes to others’ and improve the quality of your own notes.

If you have the software of Microsoft Office on your laptop and/or tablet, Microsoft OneNote is another option for taking notes with technology and keeping them organized in one place. Just like any word-processing app, you can type notes just as you would on a word document, but you can also incorporate multimedia into your note-taking on OneNote.

OneNote allows you to easily incorporate clippings from the internet, or diagrams drawn with a touch screen (if using a tablet), into your notes taken on the software. With OneNote, you can make countless digital notebooks for different courses and carry them around in a single technological device without worrying about carrying specific folders/notebooks around campus.

Before purchasing Microsoft Office software, make sure you check if your university has free Microsoft Office for enrolled students, or if the seller you are buying from has a discount for college students.

By Kaitlin Hurtado

Uloop Writer
Hello! I'm Kaitlin, a second year Literary Journalism major at UC Irvine. I'm a writer on Uloop's national team and a campus editor for UCI.

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