Whiteboards are powerful places for learning and thinking to occur. With the introduction of whiteboard applications and a touch screen, interactive whiteboards create a whole new world for learning, thinking, and collaboration.

Note Anytime

Todays post will take a look at a versatile app that will turn your tablet device into an interactive whiteboard, a presentation tool, a PDF annotation tool, and more. Note Anytime is a free app available for iOS, Android, Windows tablets, and Kindle. It does offer some in-app handwriting recognition and pen purchases but most of the functionality you might want is available from the free download. Here is a brief video showing an overview of it’s functionality.

Getting Started

When you first open the app, you will see the screen below. The left side allows you to create folders and organize your content for future use. To start your first note, just press “Create Note” and you will be presented with several templates or a blank page option. Clicking on the cloud will give you the opportunity to create a free account which will allow you to sync your documents across devices.

Beginning Screen Note Anywhere

By touching on the pen, you will be presented with several editing options. If you touch and hold the options around the pen, you will be presented with more formatting and editing options. In the top right, you can add images, photos, and web pages to your notes. Each image that is added can then be annotated over with the pen and text editing tools.

Editing Tools Note Anytime

Note Anytime offers a variety of ways to share the content you create within the app. You can send via email, to Evernote, Dropbox, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, or Send to another app where you can have the features of that app available to you. Images can also be saved to the camera roll or printed with a compatible printer.

Sharing features Note Anytime

By selecting the Share button throughout iOS, you can open many documents like a PDF in Note Anytime by selecting the “Open in” option. Several apps allow the user to open a document or attachment in Note Anytime. In the example below, a PDF was opened from an email with Note Anytime and now it’s possible to begin annotating over that PDF.

Open In feature Note Anytime

Other Interactive Whiteboard Apps

What if I don’t have a tablet?

Here are some ideas if you do not have a tablet:

Your Challenge

Download Note Anytime or try one of the other interactive whiteboard apps presented. Describe how you could or have used interactive whiteboard apps in the classroom. Consider how students could learn using a whiteboard app and how you can teach with it. Feel free to describe how you use a whiteboard app that is not listed here. Share your ideas in the comments below.


  1. Not having a tablet, I looked at the alternative sites. They remind me very much of the Activision flipcharts which students already use to lead discussions over texts – highlighting the key points, annotating. These programs are great with language study as we analyze and diagram sentences.

  2. Our corporation has gone 100% ActivInspire this year. I’m turning into a Promethean junkie. However, I love the ability of going wireless with a tablet in the classroom using these apps. Definitely provides less expensive alternatives, if that is the route you would like to go in your classroom. I’ll be sharing this with our teachers!

    We are also 1:1 with Chromebooks, so the alternative sites are are great. You don’t even have to download. Thanks for sharing these sweet resources.

  3. The middle school in our corporation purchased Noteability for all students this year. It has been a great tool, and many students use it to create notes, annotate, etc. The problem with Noteability is that it is pricey. Note Anytime seems pretty comparable. I like how you can open PDFs from My Big Campus in either app and write on them or add pages, etc. Note Anytime allows you to easily send your Notes to Evernote (an app I LOVE) and Dropbox, while Noteability lets you share with your Google Drive. Noteability lets you add audio, and I don’t see where Notes Anytime lets you do that. Overall though, the fact that Notes Anytime is free, probably makes it the better choice for most schools.

    • You are correct. Note Anytime does not offer the ability to record your screen or audio. It would be great if that is an update in the future though! As an alternative, you could design and create your work, save to the camera roll and import that to an app that allows screen recording. A few extra steps but definitely a workaround that is possible.

  4. When I taught fifth grade it was always a hassle getting the white boards, markers, and erasers out. Just something that took time. Now teachers who are in a 1:1 environment have the option to use the iPad as a digital white board in class. Teachers have the option to use them in multiple different ways. I like screen chomp or ask 3 because you can record what you are doing. Note anytime looks like an app that I might use more often because you can save or send your notes easily.

  5. I don’t have a whiteboard in my classroom, so this was a tough one for me. I did try out http://www.scribblar.com and I think it could be beneficial in my Language Arts classroom, in terms of vocabulary. I think I could create a drawing based on one of our vocabulary terms and see if the students were able to guess the word using their definitions.

    I do have a pole vault system and document camera that I use on a regular basis. Often, I will pull things up on my computer that I project to the screen. This is a great way for me to walk through an assignment that I think the students might have trouble with. Also, I have found it helpful when reading a novel, because I can project a certain page and talk about a particular passage.

    • I understand what you’re saying. Before I had a Promethean board in my classroom, I created my own “interactive board” For a while I used a sheet, then a chalkboard where I wrote with chalk over the images projected from my computer – I was determined to have one. If you have an iPad and projector available somewhere in your school, connecting them would be a great substitute to a whiteboard.

  6. When I had to teach middle school science there was this program called Algodoo loaded on the Smart Boards. It has pretty awesome and cartoony interactivity. It was a free download. The only downside is that you can only let one group or one student use the board at one time. But!!! You can have the students download it to an iPad or download onto the school iPad. That way, all the students have access to it and you can give them a discovery lesson, or a worksheet that explains how to make things. I will check the other ones out above, but the one that stands out most is this algodoo.


    Here is a Hydrodynamics lesson!!

  7. There are several great whiteboard apps out there depending on what is needed for presentation of the lesson. Note Anytime has a great feature in that you can inport files through pdf and then annotate over the top. This would be great if you want to draw students’ attention to particular pieces of information on the pdf, or better yet, let them be the teacher and have them annotate on it! I also like Doceri, but it is more limited in importing documents. It does have a record feature that I find useful to add to the students’ understanding of the visual. Educreations is another one that I enjoy using with students who are presenting, as they seem to find the app easy to navigate and create.

  8. In some ways this program reminds me of the ActivInspire flipchart; but it’s so much more than that. I love how it’s compatible with PDFs and other documents. In addition, when you send out a file or presentation, the person who receives it doesn’t need ActivInspire software just to open it.

    I can see my students in English basic skills creating presentations with this. For example, we just finished learning the elements of a story. Students could draw the plot diagram of a favorite movie or book and illustrate it with videos, pictures, etc. Much like Padlet, I could see them using it to take notes as well. Like John Wells said, we don’t have to keep switching from paper to netbook and back.

    • I think you could possibly use something like Note Anytime in place of desktop whiteboard software, especially where schools may only have a projector and screen. With a VGA connector or airplay from iOS, you could have a fully functional, wireless whiteboard.

  9. I routinely use Penultimate to demonstrate sample problems in math and science for my students. It really helps having a stylus which I’ve used this 1:1 but also using AirServer to transmit what’s on my iPad to my computer screen which then projects to the front of the class for easier instruction to multiple students. Using the Spashtop Whiteboard app, I can control what’s on my computer from my iPad. This also has an annotation function to write over what is on my screen if projecting to the class. Exploring Note Anytime just now, there are some nice functions that I’ll keep in mind to use in the future. Thanks!

    • A multitude of riches this morning! Thanks for sharing several apps and programs tyou use! I have used splashtop and airserver and enjoy using them both, Penultimate I have heard of, but not used personally. Thanks!

  10. I really like these types of whiteboard apps because they address one of the problems I have had since going digital. When we are asking the kids to be using their netbook exclusively, why would we then take them offline while I lecture or we are working on some sort of notes? Why go to paper when researching? This keeps them online. It reinforces the message that we are presenting with digital curriculum.

    More than that, it also keeps them in one place. So instead of going back and forth between different “platforms” (paper and digital), we are keeping them focused and on task.

    • Great point. With Note Anytime and other whiteboard apps like this, not only can they keep these notes together but they can tag, title, and search for notes later. Try to do that with a piece of paper. There is no quick search feature for lockers and book bags!

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