In an earlier blog I wrote about the Livescribe Pen which is a recording pen that assists students who have trouble taking notes. In this same blog, I mentioned the AudioNote app. At that point, I did not have any experience with it. Since that time, several of my students purchased it and have been using it in my class.
AudioNote is available for the Mac, iOS, Windows and Android operating systems. I downloaded it on my Android phone for $4.99 and one of my students bought it for his Windows computer for $19.99. Here is how it works.
When class begins, the students who wish to use AudioNote ask permission to record class. I give blanket permission to my classes, and the students who are recording just signal me by pointing at their device (laptop or smartphone). But asking is important, because some teachers do not want to be recorded. I teach my students that they must always ask; this is basic etiquette that students need to know.
As AudioNote records the sounds in the room, students type their notes. It does not matter if they miss writing something, because they can later click or touch their screen where they have missing notes, and the software plays whatever the teacher was saying at that time. Before the Livescribe Pen (and now AudioNote) came along, it was difficult to find the part of a recording you needed to hear. You would have to fast forward or rewind until you located the correct spot. This was time-consuming and frustrating. But thanks to Livescribe and AudioNote, recording lectures is a truly powerful assistive technology.
My students have learned a few things about AudioNote that may help you. Those who use it on their iPhone or Android phone find they are not able to type much on their phone. They use the app on their phone and type one or two words when something new starts. For example, if the subject changes or a new bullet point starts they might type and “A. Genetics,” or “B. DNA Fingerprinting.” While doing this, they also write their notes in a spiral notebook which they later fill in as they listen to the recording. Students who bought the software for their laptop love typing their notes in the software; but they find that the sound is too low because the microphone on their laptop faces them instead of the front of the room. They can hear it if they use their headset, but it is really too soft. They find that they must sit near me in order for it to be loud enough.
We are still working out these issues. Regardless, my students find AudioNote to be a useful tool that assists them taking notes in class. Many times students try new technology, software or apps, and only use it for a short trial period before giving up on it. AudioNote is helpful enough to some of my students that they are still using it after weeks of use.
If you have found an assistive technology that works and proves to be really helpful, please let me know. I always appreciate learning about something from someone who has actually given it a try!