• Livescribe makes smartpens that allow you to record lecture as you take notes.  If the lecture is going too quickly for you to keep up or you find your attention wandering, you can go back to any gaps in your notes after class, tap on that area of the paper, and the smart pen will replay the lecture from that exact spot.  You have to use special paper with these pens, but you can then transfer your notes (along with the audio file of the lecture) to your computer, laptop, tablet, and/or smart phone.


  • Evernote is a free application compatible with various operating systems (including OSX, iOS, Android and Windows).  Evernote allows you to take notes, record audio, take pictures, etc. and sync this information across devices.
  • Popplet is a visual organization app available on various iOS devices (iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch).  The full version of the app is available for a small fee, but there is also a free “lite” version available. 
  • PaperPort Notes is a free iPad app that not only allows you to sync audio to your typed text, but it also features powerful speech recognition software (from Dragon) that allows you to convert audio to text.
  • Other iPad apps that feature audio-text synchronization: AudioNote, Notability, and SoundNote
  • Text expanders can help you take notes faster by having your device “learn” your shorthand.  You set the shortcuts, or, hotkeys and type away. Examples include TextExpander (Mac), Phrase Express (Windows), AutoHotKey (Windows), and AutoKey (Linux).


  • Inspiration is a visual mapping software that allows the user to visually represent and organize information in various ways and is compatible with multiple platforms.  The software is affordably priced, but there is a related iPad app (Inspiration Maps), that’s even less expensive.
  • OneNote is Microsoft’s note-taking program, but it is compatible with various platforms. OneNote allows you to embed various file formats within your notes and sync your notes across devices.  If you already subscribe to Office 365 or own Office Professional Plus 2013, you already have OneNote on your PC or laptop.  The mobile and tablet apps are free.