Notability App Poster Image

Notability

(i)

 

Learning(i)

Creative tool lets kids jazz up notes with audio, photos.

What parents need to know

Ease of play

Welcome note guides note-takers through the major features and has them complete sample tasks, such as writing with the pencil and erasing information. Some of the more complex tasks, such as adding, scaling, and rotating images, will take more time to learn.

Violence
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Sex
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Language
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Consumerism

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Drinking, drugs, & smoking
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Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Notability gives kids and teens a place to take and organize their notes. It can be especially helpful for kids with executive-functioning challenges or those who just need a note-taking tool that's more flexible than a pencil and paper. If kids want to type their notes, they can type. If they want to draw, they can draw. If they want to record audio notes, that can do that. Numerous possibilities for note-taking make this ideal for a range of students with diverse needs, and kids can sync, store, and share notes in a variety of ways: email, Dropbox, Google Drive, and so on.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • writing

Skills

Self-Direction

  • academic development
  • goal-setting
  • self-reflection
  • working efficiently

Communication

  • conveying messages effectively
  • multiple forms of expression

Tech Skills

  • digital creation
  • using and applying technology

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

Prepare to fall in love with note-taking: Kids and teens will find themselves doodling, highlighting, and recording audio to make their notes richer and more meaningfully detailed.

Learning Approach

With best-in-class audio features plus lots of ways to take, share, and save notes, this tool is a great fit for kids with a range of learning needs and at a range of grade levels. 

Support

Before taking any notes of their own, kids and teens can practice using the note-taking features. The wide variety of features helps accommodate students with physical and learning disabilities.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • writing

Skills

Self-Direction

  • academic development
  • goal-setting
  • self-reflection
  • working efficiently

Communication

  • conveying messages effectively
  • multiple forms of expression

Tech Skills

  • digital creation
  • using and applying technology

Many kids will love using Notability's flexible features to take notes that capture sound, images, and words from the classroom or reading for later review. Kids with learning and attention differences will love Notability's flexibility: Kids can work to come up with strategies for using the note-taking and audio-recording features to capture what's going on in class and help focus their efforts on understanding rather than writing furiously. Once mastered, Notability gives kids the power to take control of information, organize it, and share it in ways that actually mesh with the ways they learn best.

This Learning Rating review was written by Stacy Zeiger

What's it about?

NOTABILITY helps kids and teens take notes they'll want to review, revisit, and actively use. If there's a chart in the textbook they want to reference quickly, they can snap a picture and add it to their notes. If a concept is better explained by drawing a picture, they can do it right there. On a single page of notes, students can type, write, draw, highlight, record audio, cut, paste, and even insert content captured from websites. When they're finished, students can organize notes for easy access later. The audio-recording feature is especially flexible: If you play from the start of the recording, the notes you took darken and fill in as the recording continues, letting you see them appear as you wrote them. Similarly, you can tap on any point of the note (whether it's written or typed or a photo) and jump to that point in the audio recording.

Students also can use Notability to organize their notes, tagging them by color and organizing them by tags or categories. To access notes, users can sync between devices and share their notes across a variety of platforms (such as Google Drive, Dropbox, and Box), via email or iTunes or across devices through the Notability app itself.

Is it any good?

QUALITY

With so many flexible and thoughtful features, Notability equips all students to take high-impact notes. Although note-taking may be a way for students to capture important information, not all students benefit from the note-taking process. Notability recognizes that different students have different learning needs and note-taking preferences. Students can choose to record as they talk or record their teachers' lectures and make minimal written notes ("test review starts here!") to help them jump to appropriate points in the audio recording when they revisit their notes later. Students also can record themselves sharing key information or record a conversation with a teacher when they're receiving feedback or reviewing for an assessment. Learners who respond better to images or drawings can add photographs and drawings to their notes, while learners can who thrive on charts and diagrams can create them with a stylus or finger.

Keep in mind that not all these options work for everyone, and it might be overwhelming if you try to use them all at once. It's up to students and their teachers to develop efficient strategies for using the app's many capabilities in the most efficient, meaningful way possible.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about staying organized. If you set up categories for your notes, which categories do you need? Help kids set up subjects and dividers to keep their notes organized.

  • Review notes with kids regularly, especially when they're preparing for a big test. Talk about how notes can help you prepare for an assessment and how and when to review them when there's a test coming up. 

  • Talk about the best ways for your child to take notes. What helps him or her learn best? Talk about ways to use pictures, drawings, typing, handwriting, or audio to most effectively capture what's going on in class and what they need to know once they get home. Consider setting up a conversation between your child and his or her teacher to come up with a daily plan for how to use this app in the classroom. 

App details

Devices:iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
Price:$2.99
Pricing structure:Paid
Release date:October 17, 2013
Category:Productivity
Size:73.70 MB
Publisher:Ginger Labs
Version:5.11
Minimum software requirements:iOS 6.0 or later

This review of Notability was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 13 years old Written byLele314 December 20, 2013

Notability Review

This app is great! You can make wonderful projects using it, or just draw for fun. The app offers a range of drawing tools, and you can add audio, pictures, and other cool stuff to your project. It is wonderful and can be easily used by kids 7 and up.
Parent of a 8 and 12 year old Written byhewittwalker December 5, 2013

Idea for Common Sense Media

OK - we don't have an iPad and admit to not having tried this app. But the concept of enabling kids to do their notes in a whole host of different ways is awesome, and I could see it being very well received. I wish Common Sense Media would partner with Apple or Google on a phone totally geared to kids, where the apps are reviewed by a respected organization like CSM, or parents at least have the ability to remotely control what does and does not belong on the phone so kids could use it more to their advantage and we could avoid all the parent-child battles over screen time/game time. I'm sorry but - based on our experience - middle schoolers just don't have the impulse control (and vision) to use their phone for communication, education, organization, time-management, etc... All that other good stuff is best added later.
What other families should know
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