As a 1:1 iPad school Notability is one of the best workflow tools at our fingertips. Even more so I’ve found most of our students choose to use it daily, which is a huge deal! That being said, there are some features that as students and teachers we might not be utilizing that will save us a ton of time while creating better learning experiences in a virtual learning environment.
Here are some tips for you and your students that will create effective and efficient learning.
1. The Document Scan Tool
Pictures when dropped in to notability can lose quality and stay small on the page – making it hard to mark up and give feedback. An issue I often see is also that teachers wonder about grading time when an assignment is turned to in Google Classroom – and students submitting photos instead of documents is the #1 culprit of that concern. When using the Document Scan option at the + icon, notability creates smaller file sizes for grading in Google Classroom but makes the attachment large in size – and a PDF that they can in turn write over and ad to.
2. The Zoom to Write Tool
If a student is completing work with a stylus or their finger writing on the iPad in general can become cumbersome. Notability’s zoom to write feature is an amazing tool that allows you to mark up some spaces or write really clearly even with a finger or stylus.
When clicking on the plus button a zoomed in box appears at the bottom of the screen, and a small box is provided over the area that you would like to write. You can drag the box to continue writing or use the arrows to tab along the page. Tap the zoom button to exit the Zoom to Write Tool
3. Insert websites & Links with a preview
By choosing to insert a web clip you can take your links to the next level by providing a picture of that specific webpage as well as the ability to tap on it and open in safari.
To do this, copy & paste a link or drag and drop it from safari – if you want to navigate back to the website at any point make sure you are on the “T” for text tool and tap on the photo, choose edit and it will open a safari window!
I think this is a great way to gather research (especially the kind you are taking notes over) in one place and sharing that as a bibliography, ideas doc, or other. Additionally it’s just super helpful to have interactive screenshots. Selfishly I have a recipe version of this so I save the recipe on the doc, make my own notes, and if I ever want to go back to the website I just tap on it!
4. Split Screen Notes & the Note Switcher
Easily navigate back and forth between notes by pulling from the left side of your iPad’s black space around the screen, across the screen in line (see below photo). This will pull up a view of your other Notability notes to easily toggle back and forth. OR by tapping on the three dots open another note on the left or right side of the screen to view in split screen mode.
5. Turn Handwriting into Text
If you’re like me you LIVE with your Apple Pencil in your hand. I can’t put mine down and sometimes I just like handwriting better – but the outcome of my document should be text. Notability allows you to use the scissor tool and circle handwriting – then tap to get options to change the style (like a quick way to change the color) or “convert to text”.
6. Back up to Google Drive
Notability stores it’s documents on the iPad within the app. So on a bad day, if the app crashes, or needs to be deleted and reinstalled sometimes, you lose things. That’s why they’ve built in back up options like Dropbox & Google Drive. I LOVE the Google Drive Back Up because it saves all my notes to a folder in drive.
*Note about which file format to choose.
.PDF will be able to viewed in Drive, but you’ll lose aspects of the document like GIF’s & Audio Recording
.NOTE format won’t be able to be opened in drive but will work great if you download and send it to notability!
It all depends on what you need to work from the document. If you are mostly just writing and typing & coloring I would say save as a PDF – if you use the other features alot, stick with a .NOTE for your back up.