Notability is an app that is told to make you “feel in love with note-taking”. it is basically a note-taking app compatible with Apple products (Macs or iPads). It is a very versatile tool which is more and more popular amongst teachers in schools because of its tons of features.

Notability is fairly easy to use. First, when you open it, you can create a category, in which you can create subjects, in which you can create your notes. When creating your notes, you either have the choice to start writing down right away or to import pdf files from your device or cloud services (like GoogleDrive or DropBox). When importing PDFs, the app asks you from which page to which you want your document to be imported; that way, it prevents from importing useless page for note-taking like the title page or the references. After you imported your PDFs, several features are available to annotate. You can draw with different pen sizes, type in different fonts, and highlight in different colours on the document. You can cut or copy parts of the document too. You can also import pictures on the document and in the margins. In addition, there is a feature allowing to import Youtube videos on the document and in the margins. You can also record voice and import audio files; which you can play either at 50% of their original speed or at 150% or at 200%. To save the document, you can either do so on the platform or keep it in sync with cloud services that were mentioned earlier. Too see Notability explained in a video, click here.

According to Nik Rawlinson’s review on Maclife, Notability is an all-in-one variety of essential tools in note-taking. He adds that it is important not to have to switch between apps when taking notes and that is why he thinks Notability is very good; because it doesn’t lack any essential feature. The fact that apps are backed up within iClouds and backed up on Google Drive or DropBox ensures that all the work put within your notes will not get lost. On the counterpart, he adds that the text formatting options are basics; it covers bold, underline, and italic plus a range of font sizes but only 46 typefaces. Also, it is possible to search through notes, but not by using keywords. In the end, he says it is an inexpensive app that fulfill its promises and that has a smart drawing tool and audio recording built in. On the other hand, it has no free version like Evernote to rivalise with such apps.

On, Stacy Zeiger mentions Notability recognizes that students have different learning styles and note-taking differences. More auditory learners can record themselves (or others) while visual can type, photograph, draw, or highlight. Logic-focused learners can add graphs and create diagrams. Students are not restricted to one type of learning. She adds that it is not only a way for her students to take notes but also for teachers to organize and show notes. For instance, teachers can create a review sheet  before an exam and share it with their students. She concludes by saying it is also a good tool for cooperative work as students can brainstorm ideas, take notes and then share it with their team.

As an ESL teacher, there would be tons of way to use this app. If I would have the chance to work in a school with an iPad for each student, I could distribute a ton of files on this app rather than printing paper or using books. If it wouldn’t be the case, I would simply distribute my homework online and ask students to annotate the text and share their thoughts on the paper and in class the day after. I definitely feel that distributing the notes beforehand and allowing students to write over them is helping many students learn better. With Notability, they could do so fitting their learning style.

To conclude, Notability can change the face of note-taking and make it a lot more appealing for students. It can help students study and teachers share their notes. In my opinion, it is easier to use than Evernote despite not having a free version.


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