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Notability iOS and OSX – #peel21st blog hop

I jumped at the opportunity to share a favourite tech tool when Tina sent out the Tweet.

Of course my enthusiastic, react before I think attitude got myself signed up to share about a tool that I had yet to consider sharing about.  Problem, of course not, I am also the “What app? What is its name? Ok, I’ll try it type”  Over the next week I thought about the tool that I would write about.  A couple days ago as I was using one of my now go to tools, I finally decided that I would share my experiences with  “Notability“.

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While I have used many note taking apps, Evernote and OneNote to name a couple. Notability has demonstrated versatility within one app and across the Apple platforms that I have yet to find efficient with the others.

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To date I have typically found myself creating notes on my iPhone and them working with them further on my Mac.


First you can link with your Dropbox, Google, Box account for easy backup and access elsewhere.


There is then the flexibility of being able to share via a variety of services both suited for Apple and non-iOS/OSX based devices.


Notes can be created on various different backgrounds or paper styles.  Blank being created for sketching on imported photos, etc.  Graph and lined great for students who have difficulty without or who are trying to create something that needs structure.


Basic features on the iPhone allow text based notes, sketches, photos from the camera or camera roll which then can be annotated as well as audio notes recorded.  I have yet to experience a limit to audio recordings within an individual note.

Overall, I would say that this has been the all-in-one note taking tool that I have been most pleased with.


Check out the other tools from our #peel21st bloggers;

Synchronizing OneNote iPad App with PDSB Office365 Account

With the relatively new introduction of Office 365 in the Peel District School Board, many are searching out way to link their mobile devices with this new cloud based resource.  One App that compliments Office365 is the iOS app OneNote, a virtual notebook, great for students, educators and the like to organize and keep track of notes and integrate images to support those notes taken.  It is certainly a competitor to the likes of Evernote and Google Keep.

For those in organization where an Office 365 sharepoint account has been created, OneNote (iOS, and Android) can connect to the service providing a virtually seamless interface between the mobile and non-mobile devices that many used for note taking.

A few steps to make this connection,

  1. Download and install the iOS or Android verisons of OneNote for your mobile device from the AppStore or Google Play.

a. iOS iPhone version –

b. iOS iPad version –

c. Android version – (Works on phones cannot confirm with tabs)

*The following instructions are based on the setup using an iPad.

2.  **Initiate setup using a Microsoft account (i.e., a Hotmail email account) and your board Office 365 sharepoint account will not allow you to get OneNote going for the very first time.  I just happen to have a hotmail account from back in the day before Gmail.

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3.  Once you have done this, you will be able to add the Office 365 sharepoint service that your organization (for PDSB educators, your account associated with Office365) has created for you.

4.  The first step is to add the service itself.  By touching your Avatar image in the upper left hand corner of the screen you will be provided a pop-up dialogue box giving you the option to “Add a Service”.  Click “Add a Service” then select “Office 365 SharePoint”.  Next key in your email account and associated password.  For PDSB educators this is your and your typical email password. Then click sign-in.  It will verify your account and return to the main OneNote screen.

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5.  At this point not much looks different.  Clicking your Avatar in the upper left corner will now reveal that you have two services associated with your device.


6.  The next step is to add an account so that the work you are doing is actually connected with your Office 365 SharePoint account and not your Hotmail based cloud. Again by touching your Avatar image in the upper left hand corner of the screen you will be provided a pop-up dialogue box giving you the option to “Switch Account”. Select “Switch Account” and then “Add an Account” and follow the steps to add your Office 365 account.  This seems redundant but it is so far the only way I have manage to get my OneNote notebooks to sync without issue between my mobile devices and the web based account.

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7.  Clicking your Avatar in the upper left corner will now reveal that you are using on your device in your organization based (PDSB) Office 365 SharePoint account


8.  Now you are almost ready to use OneNote in conjunction with your organization based (PDSB) Office 365 SharePoint account.  I have yet to discover a way to create a new notebook on my mobile device while working under my sharepoint account.  It seems as though one must first login to the web-based OneNote and create the notebooks that you will want to use.  You can see that while associated with my Office 365 account I do not have the option to “Create Notebook” where as when I am working using my Hotmail based account I do have the option to “Create Notebook” and unfortunately these two services cannot be merged.


Organization-based account with no option to create notebook.


Microsoft-based account with option to create notebook.

Which Device? Just One Educators Opinion

In our school board ( there has been a shift away from traditional computing technologies (The Desktop Computer) towards mobile technologies (smartphones, tablets, ultrabooks, etc.) that better allow for student collaboration and mobility.  At the TLDW  (Teaching and Learning in a Digital World) conference held this past August, the popular devices in the hands of the educators during the two-day conference were iOS devices.  This is quite indicative of the movement schools are making in terms of their technology plans.

The questions for those responsible for making purchases are simple yet overwhelming, “Which Type of Device?” and “What Device?”.  The decision about the type of device is often the easiest to make, and typically based on power or portability though there are many other factors to consider when making this decision.  The second decision about which device is a far more challenging task to chew on.  There are literally hundreds of choices with your iOS/OSX, Android, and Windows devices being the most popular in the marketplace.  Under the umbrella of each of those operating systems, iOS/OSX offers the fewest options, while Windows and Android-based devices are plentiful.  Google has also entered this battle for the education market with the Chromebook.

So much to consider (Type, Device, Cost, Uses), but it’s time to make the decision, devices need to get into the hands of the educators and their students, otherwise one will fall behind the other.  The general consensus has been to purchase iOS devices; because they hold a large portion of the mobile technology marketplace, students and staff are familiar with them.

Is there a “best” choice, of course there is.  What is it?  I would have to say that the “best” choice would be dependant on a school’s technology plan that would outline the vision for technology in the learning environment.  With this being considered those responsible for making purchases can wade into the deep end “the market” to make their decision.  There are PROS and CONS with each option and while I have recently become a proponent for the iOS/OS X devices, I am also a user of Android, Windows and even Blackberry devices and the decisions we have made in regards to the devices we have purchased in my school have focused on “Improving Outcomes” with an outlook on keeping our technology plan sustainable.

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