Sketching notes or sketchnoting appears to be becoming a popular way of taking notes and organizing ideas. I’ve done that on paper for years and you may have too. Sketchnoting allows me to create outlines in any format that I like, quickly connect ideas through arrows and lines, and illustrate ideas when words aren’t enough. Sketchnoting on an iPad enables students to edit and share sketchnotes more quickly and easily than ever before. Here is a handful of iPad apps (some freemium, some completely free) for sketchnoting.
IdeaStorm is a free iPad app for quickly creating sketches and diagrams. IdeaStorm allows you to create individual sketches and collections of sketches. To create a sketch just tap the “new drawing” button and start drawing. You can choose from three line thicknesses and five colors to use in your drawings. All drawings are automatically saved in the app. IdeaStorm does not require or even offer the option for creating an account. Students of all ages can start using the app in a matter of seconds. One drawback to IdeaStorm is that drawings can only be shared if you take a screenshot of them, save them to your camera roll, and then share from your camera roll.
Idea Sketch is a simple app for creating mind maps on your iPad. One of the features of Idea Sketch that stands out is the option to flip back and forth between a web format and an outline format. This makes the app a good choice for students who occasionally prefer to a linear outline instead of a web layout. Creating a mind map on Idea Sketch is a simple process. To get started tap the “Ideas” button then tap the “+” button. All mind maps start on a blank screen that you fill up by tapping anywhere to add a text bubble. You can change the colors and sizes of each bubble. To add a new connected bubble just tap, hold, and drag a bubble into place. To switch to a linear outline format tap the “list” icon in the upper, right corner of the screen. Tap that icon again to switch back to the web format. Completed mind maps can be exported as images or shared via email.
Inkflow is an iPad app that can be used to sketch mind maps, draw pictures, write free hand, and just about anything else you might do with a pencil and paper. All of the pages that you sketch on and write on can be organized into little books that include page-turning effects. Inkflow is the perfect app for people like me who like to sketch out their ideas before sharing them in presentations, in writing, or in video productions. Inkflow is also great for people who like to take notes in a free-hand format in which they can easily include little sketches and diagrams along with their written words.
Penultimate provides a place for you to hand-write notes on your iPad. The app allows you to create multiple notebooks with multiple pages in each. You can change the color and size of the pen strokes that are created when you write in your notebooks. Each page in your notebook can include pictures that you have stored on your iPad or pictures that you take through the Penultimate app. The app provides the option to change the look of the virtual paper on which you write. You can copy and paste content from one page to another and from one notebook to another.
iBrainstorm is a free brainstorming application for the iPad and the iPhone. The app allows you to record brainstorming sessions using a combination of free hand drawings and sticky notes. You can share and collaborate with other users of iBrainstorm.
Check out Kathy Schrock’s page on sketchnoting for great ideas on using sketchnoting in your classroom.