11 apps to help kids with note-taking

By Common Sense Media

Expert reviewed by Jamie Martin

Taking notes in school can be a big challenge for students with learning and thinking differences. They may struggle with writing and organizing their notes while listening. Or they may have trouble keeping up with a teacher because of slow processing speed. These note-taking apps can help.

Price and availability may vary but were accurate as of August 17, 2018. Understood does not endorse or receive financial compensation for the sale of any of these products.


With AudioNote, students can record lectures and type or draw notes at the same time. The app automatically syncs the recorded audio to a student’s notes, creating a lecture with matching notes. Students can jump around in the audio by clicking the notes they’ve taken. This lets them review the lecture through sound and notes.


  • AudioNote 2 for iOS, free (with in-app purchases)
  • AudioNote for Android, $5.99
  • AudioNote LITE for iOS and Android, free

Available for: iOS, Android


Evernote lets students take notes across multiple devices. They can create and organize notebooks for different subjects, using lists, text, images, sounds and other media. Evernote’s interface is simple, which may be helpful for kids who are easily distracted. Students can also customize the app’s appearance through highlighting, fonts and color-coding, and share notes they’ve created.

Price: Free (premium features are available for $7.99/month)

Available for: iOS, Android


Notability is a fun tool for taking and organizing notes. Students can draw and type notes, or record audio notes. There are features to capture sound and images from the classroom, as well as add media like photos. Notes can be shared via email or through services like Google Drive and Dropbox. The app allows kids to get creative with their notes, so students with an artistic side may especially enjoy it.

Price: $9.99

Available for: iOS


Like Notability, Whink allows students to draw or type notes, or record audio notes. Students can add sound and images from the classroom and from the web. They can also share their notes. Students who like modern design may like Whink’s sleek interface.

Price: $4.99

Available for: iOS

Inspiration Maps

Inspiration Maps is a mind-mapping tool. A mind map is a way of representing ideas in a visual way. For example, instead of making a list of historical events, students can put each event in a bubble and connect it to similar events with lines. Visual learners may like Inspiration Maps. It lets students create several kinds of mind maps. These include diagrams, brainstorms and outlines. The app also has built-in templates for taking notes in various subjects, like English, history and science. There’s a similar version of this app for younger kids called Kidspiration Maps.

Price: $9.99 (a free trial version is available)

Available for: iOS


MindMeister is another mind-mapping app. Students can customize the color and look of their maps. MindMeister has some great options for letting different users work together on the same mind map. The app also allows students to assign dates and priorities to different ideas and notes. Mindomo is another free mind-mapping tool to consider.

Price: Free (with in-app purchases)

Available for: iOS, Android

Microsoft OneNote

OneNote is a well-known and popular app that lets students capture, organize and share notes. Kids can organize their notes in folders, as well as sort and search quickly. The app works across multiple devices, and allows the sharing of notes with others. Microsoft also offers Learning Tools for OneNote, a free add-on with several assistive technology tools, like text-to-speech.

Price: Free

Available for: iOS, Android


This app lets students import digital text and then take notes in the margins of that text. After they make their notes, students can use the app’s tools to create notes for a summary, mind maps and flashcards. MarginNote may be especially helpful for high-schoolers and college students who are tackling longer, more complex texts like books and articles.

Price: Free (with in-app purchases)

Available for: iOS


When it first came out in 2015, LiquidText won numerous awards for its innovative approach. Through gestures like pinching and swiping, students can import and manipulate digital text. They can grab a piece of text from one page and move it to another page to compare it. Or they can scroll through different parts of a book at the same time. They can also take notes and pull out key passages and terms.

Price: Free (with in-app purchases)

Available for: iPad


With this app, students can handwrite notes on a tablet or mobile phone with their finger, digital pen or stylus. Students who like to handwrite notes but want to move away from pen and paper may enjoy Squid. It lets students choose various kinds of digital paper, including ruled and graph. They can save notes, organize them into folders and share them. With a subscription, students also can import PDFs and annotate them, use virtual highlighters and add shapes to their notes.

Price: Free (premium features are available for $1/month)

Available for: Android

Otter Voice Notes

Otter Voice Notes lets kids record lectures and meetings, while creating digital transcripts of the recordings. As people talk, the app displays their words on screen, so kids can see what the speaker is saying in addition to listening. Once recordings are created, kids can listen to them and follow along with the transcript at the same time. The app highlights each word as it’s read aloud. The recordings and transcripts are also searchable, and kids can share them with others. This app can be a big help for kids who struggle to take notes and keep up in class.

Price: Free

Available for: Android, iOS

About the author

About the author

Common Sense Media is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping kids and families thrive in a world of media and technology.

Reviewed by

Reviewed by

Jamie Martin is an assistive technology specialist at the New England Assistive Technology Center (NEAT) in Hartford, Connecticut.