A Valuable Assistive Technology

What is Notability?

Notability is an interactive note taking application that is available on Apple IOS supported devices like iPhones, iPads, and Macbooks. It has won numerous awards as a productivity tool and can function as a great assistive technology tool for students with learning disabilities. It combines a lot of features into one package to add multimedia and user created content into a note taking platform. This includes the ability to write notes in a variety of colors and sizes, draw supportive images, import any type of media, record lectures/presentations, and freely organize the material after class into a coherent presentation. Created notes can be shared from teacher to student, student to student, and they can be used as an assignment with teacher provided feedback (Blessington, 2014).

An Assistive Technology

As an assistive technology, it can greatly benefit students with visual or auditory difficulties. For example, notes can be enlarged or zoomed in on for easier reading. Students can also color code their notes into themes or by topic during or after the note taking session. Notes can be uploaded onto student devices which would allow them to focus on close reading skills like margin writing, highlighting, and drawing images as support for the text. Students can also record a teacher’s lesson or presentation directly into their notes and align it with their notes and images. Teachers and/or students can embed videos, PowerPoints, podcasts, infographics, and more into Notability to further enhance the learning experience (2012).
Review: Notability - Best Note Taking App for iPhone and iPad

Tools of Notability

  • On the left hand side of the application, one can create a series of folders, or subjects, by clicking on the + sign. Folders can be color coordinated and organized.

  • Inside of a folder, one can click on the “pencil” icon to create a note inside of each folder.

  • For each note one can utilize a series of icons to accomplish a variety of tasks:

  • “T” stands for text. When clicked, you can add text into your note. Below, you have your basic word document icons to increase font size, change colors, bullet points etc…

  • There is a “paintbrush” icon, that allows users to draw or “paint” images next to their notes.

  • There is an “eraser” icon, that obviously allows people to erase text or drawn images.

  • A “highlighter” icon allows students to highlight any pertinent information.

  • The “microphone” icon allows students to record their voice or the teacher’s voice alongside of their notes. By simply clicking on the notes, it will play the audio that corresponds to the text.

  • In the right corner, the “+” icon will allow users to add images, videos, files, etc.

  • The upper left, allows individuals to “share” their notes via a variety of other online applications. Teachers could share an interactive notebook to each of their students via Schoology or a Google Drive account. (2013)
EdTech Quick Take: Evernote vs. Notability

Notability in the Classroom

For schools looking to integrate technology into their classrooms, Notability is an exceptional tool that can enhance classroom instruction and student learning. Our school district is in active discussions on whether or not to commit to a 1:1 initiative next school year. If that were the case, teachers can integrate Notability to greatly enhance learning. Combined with our current use of Schoology, the pedagogical approach of teachers would look radically different from just a few years ago. One issue, is that it isn’t free. It costs a few dollars on the App Store, but can hopefully be bought by the school’s technology department to make it available to most devices and students. Another issue, is that it is currently only available on Apple products, something our District probably would not consider for a 1:1 initiative because of user familiarity. Administrators, teachers, and students, like the US population, are more accustomed to Microsoft products.

For students with learning disabilities, 504 plans, or IEPs, Notability’s use can be customized by individual teachers to meet student needs. For instance, depending on each individual student’s situation, a teacher can add additional materials to a shared note section. For example, some students can receive a blank slate and have the creative freedom to create their notes that best suits them. Student’s that may have difficulty with listening comprehension, could have the notes preloaded and record the lecture onto the notes. They can be tasked with color coding or adding images to enhance the already provided notes. For students with visual difficulties, the teacher can provide pre-recorded notes that feature larger font sizes, color coordination, and a plethora of audio/video recordings that support the notes. In this case, the student should definitely record the lecture and/or presentation so that they can always return to it again with the already provided notes.
Best Note Taking App for your iPad - Notability


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(2015). Drawing diagrams with the notability app for iOS. Method Shop. Retrieved rom

(2015). EdTech quick take: evernote vs. notability. YouTube. Retrieved from

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Blessington, L. (2014). Notability: powerful note taking for teachers and students. Fractus Learning. Retrieved from