Notetaking Technology

These technologies are accessible alternatives to pen and paper notes. They allow students to retain more information and organize their notes in ways that further their learning. The “best tool” depends on the student’s particular needs. For instance, students whose preference is to handwrite their notes will be better suited for a live-scrive pen, while those who prefer to type their notes on a laptop will be better suited for Glean. Still, those who have a tablet (such as an iPad) will benefit from using Notability.

To be eligible for these technologies, students must be approved for note-taking accommodations. If you have been approved, you are very welcome to sign up to be trained for these technologies using the following link.

Livescribe Smartpen

Smartpens enable students to attach recorded lecture audio to their hand-written notes. Currently, Yale uses the Livescribe Symphony and Echo II smartpens. These devices work with a notebook tailored for the smartpen (SmartPaper) and a smartphone app that allows students to access their digital notes. Students will be provided a smartpen, a smartpen charging cable, notebook(s), and be set up with the Livescribe app. The app is available for download on both the iOS and Android App Store.

All smartpen trainings will be conducted in person.


Students who prefer typing their notes will benefit from using Glean. Glean is an online platform that allows students to attach audio to their notes, organize them by course, and even create transcriptions. In addition, Glean allows students to slow down or speed up the play back speed, create tasks, and sync up their notes with course slides (provided the student has access to their slides ahead of class time).


Notability is a simple-to-use app that allows users to handwrite their notes on an iPad. This app is available for download on the App Store. Unfortunately, this app is not yet compatible with Android devices. Notability is the preferred note-taking tool for students who (1) already have an iPad; and (2) whose preferred method of notetaking is on a tablet.