App review by
Amanda Bindel, Common Sense Media
SoundNote App Poster Image
Cool study aid syncs written notes with recorded audio.

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The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Kids can learn effective note-taking and study skills using SoundNote. They can record class discussions or lectures while taking notes and easily refer back to specific points in the audio recording for clarification or to get verbatim quotes. Students can use it in many subject areas -- recording lectures in science, history, or other lecture-based courses. The drawing tool is handy for recording explanations in math class while copying example equations. Teens can record small group discussions while taking notes. They can record interviews for written pieces. SoundNote is an easy-to-use yet powerful tool for note-taking.

Ease of Play

Despite offering no instructions whatsoever, SoundNote is remarkably easy to figure out and use. Hit the red record button to record the lecture, type or select the pen tool to draw, and hit pause when done. Notes save automatically. 

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that SoundNote is a productivity app that syncs recorded audio with the notes taken during the recording. It's a tool parents might appreciate themselves for work or study and that teens will find handy in lecture-based courses. Notes and audio can be shared by email or accessed by URL on other devices on the same network. The app is great for kids who are easily distracted or who may not understand something a teacher has said during a lesson. Kids can go back to their recorded notes and listen to the lesson again to help reinforce missed facts or facts that need reinforcement. Students also can add drawings to their notes to help them remember what the teacher has said.

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What's it about?

SOUNDNOTE doesn't include any written instructions or even a start screen. It opens right up into a blank page for note-taking. Teens title their note page, hit the red record button, and begin typing notes or select the pen tool to draw or write notes. While the speaker is talking, teens take notes and the device records the audio. Teens simply hit pause when done, and the notes save automatically with the title. When replaying the audio, teens can tap a word on their notes and the audio will automatically jump to the place when that note was written. Teens can share their notes and audio by email, save them to Dropbox, or access them via another device on the network through a URL. To listen to the audio on a Mac computer, teens will need to download a free SoundNote reader.

Is it any good?

SoundNote is a tool that showcases how cool technology can be. It records a lecture and knows which notes were written down at each point in that lecture, making it easy to review the notes and listen to specific parts of the lecture. The sparse design keeps the focus on the meat of the app: recording audio and taking notes. The search function for the saved documents makes it easy to find notes, even when many have been saved. Teens can easily share class notes with classmates over email. The audio picks up well from across a room, though it's not the quality of a professional recording. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Talk about effective note-taking and study techniques to help your teen figure out what works best for him or her.

  • The app's description mentions falling asleep during a lecture. Why do some teens fall asleep during class? What are some techniques tired (or bored) teens can use to stay focused and alert during class?

App details

  • Device: iPad
  • Subjects: Language & Reading: using supporting evidence, writing
  • Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: collecting data, thinking critically
    Self-Direction: academic development, self-reflection, time management, working efficiently
    Communication: listening
    Tech Skills: using and applying technology
  • Price: $4.99
  • Pricing structure: Paid
  • Release date: October 25, 2013
  • Category: Productivity
  • Size: 2.70 MB
  • Publisher: David Estes
  • Version: 2.5.1
  • Minimum software requirements: iOS 6.1 or later
  • Last updated: November 11, 2020

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