The Best Classroom Alternatives to the iOS Notes App

There is nothing wrong with the iOS Notes app. I know lots of people that use it, and like it, but it’s a little light on features. There are other apps that do more, a lot more in some cases, and they are all great apps for teachers and students to use in the classroom. So, without further ado, here are some of the best alternatives to the iOS Notes app.

1. Swiftkey Note (Free) – Swiftkey is a relative newcomer to the iOS scene, but it is a name that is well known with Android users for its innovative swipe to type keyboard technologies. There is no keyboard swiping magic in Swiftkey Note, but it still has a great feature for elementary classrooms – word prediction! It will predict the words as you type them, offer you spelling corrections for misspelled words, and learn new words that you add to its dictionary. Better still, it is free, and you can sync all your notes to Evernote.

swiftkey note

2. Evernote (Free) – Speaking of Evernote, it would be remiss of me not to mention it in a roundup of the best iOS notetaking apps. Evernote has been around for a while, but it has stood the test of time, and proven itself to be a reliable and feature packed note taking app. For me the key feature is the ability to access my notes on any device at any time, but the ability to add photos, record audio, and search through all my notes quickly is also very handy.

evernote

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Evernote Updates Terms and Conditions for Using Evernote in Schools

Evernote announced today that they are updating their terms and conditions. The new changes will take place on December 4th, 2012, and there are some concessions made to educators among the new terms.

We’re thrilled with the number of educators and administrators around the world who have shown interest in using Evernote in their schools, so we have modified our contracts with respect to use by underage individuals who might not be old enough to enter into a contract on their own, including specific guidance for schools in the US where we want to ensure that the requirements of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act are satisfied.

So, what is new for educators? Well you can read the new terms and conditions in full here, but the important part for educators is quoted below:

Can Kids Use Evernote?

Of course, but Evernote is not currently directed to children and we expect that use by children will only be done with the guidance, supervision and consent of their parents, guardians and/or authorized school officials. Further, we rely on parents and guardians to ensure minors only use the Service if they can understand their rights and responsibilities as stated in these Terms and our Privacy Policy.

In the United States, if you are the sponsor of a Sponsored Group (the “Sponsor”), including an Evernote for Schools group, that includes children under the age of 13, you (or your school) assumes the responsibility for complying with the U.S. Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”) and, to the extent applicable, The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”). This means that the Sponsor must notify parents/guardians of the information to be collected and obtain parental/guardian consent before collecting and sharing with the Service the personal information of children under the age of 13 in order to establish an account or use the Service. Schools may under appropriate circumstances provide such consent on behalf of parents/guardians. For more information on complying with COPPA, see the Federal Trade Commission’s website at www.ftc.gov/COPPA.

If you are outside of the United States, please ensure that you are complying with any laws applicable to you before submitting any child’s personal information or permitting any child to submit personal information to us. If a school outside the United States wants to enable its students to use Evernote for Schools, Evernote will work with such schools on case by case basis to ensure compliance with any applicable laws regarding the collection of information from minors.

I’m not a lawyer, so I am not going to make any further interpretation of the terms as they stand, but I think it is a positive move to attempt to address the use of Evernote in schools, and any possible confusion or misinterpretations of the previous terms and conditions that were not specifically aimed at the use of Evernote in schools.

I am sure that there are already teachers out there that are already using Evernote with students under 13 because they have had parents set up the accounts in their names for students to use, or parents have signed off on generic school created accounts, but with these new guidelines, educators have a clearer vision of what is and is not acceptable in order to comply with legal requirements and Evernote’s  own terms and conditions.

So, what do you think about the new guidelines for using Evernote in Schools with those under 13? Does your school use Evernote with students who are under 13? How do you get around the legal implications of such a move, and would you be willing to share any of the documentation you send out to parents about this? Please share any feedback below.