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. I’ve used Splashtop on my personal iPad for students to use the stylus and solve math problems. I’ve also had them write answers. I found though I needed more practice to make it more practical and time efficient. However, this may be a tool to try. Does it seem to take a lot of practice?

  2. I checked out both Note Anytime and Educreations. My school has a couple of Mobis, but they didn’t work very well. I don’t think we had enough memory or something. Anyway, from what I see, these could turn the iPads into something like a Mobi. I could have my students put problem on the screen. It would be nice to have an iPad per group so they could report on findings.

    Note Anytime would be a great personal organizer. I liked that you could actually write on a calendar. It seems like it takes longer typing in dates and times.

  3. I don’t have a whiteboard or interactive board but we do have ipads this year. We have downloaded several apps that students can use as Pam said such as NoteAblity. I used Splashtop last year to help me out with projecting my desktop through my projector. My students in special ed would love to be able to interact on the whiteboard and using their ipads.
    I could use this also when teaching math skills and students could work the problems out as well on the board or ipad. As I looked at several of the website versions, I could also see these being used in art classes.

  4. This would be a great app to collect the diverse info during my counseling day. I could use this for student contacts, phone calls, small group notes, student info regarding RTI,EIT, 504s, HA testing and ISTEP. I presently use Evernote, but will be switching to Note Anytime.

  5. I’ve used ShowMe with a group of students to do presentations on regions of the US. They download a map, circle their assigned area and then add pictures and audio describing features of the area. It is simple to use and the kids seemed to like it. I’ll share Note Anytime with my high school students who are about to embark on interviews for their next project. This will be a great tool for them to take interview notes, incorporate photos or jot down presentation ideas. It will keep all of their material in one place too.

  6. One nice advantage of Penultimate is that it is owned by Evernote and syncs directly with your Evernote account. Extremely helpful in organizing your thoughts into notebooks on Evernote! There are several apps that are whiteboard like that also include record features. Doceri was mentioned previously, but there is also Educreation, Knowmia Teach, DoodleCast, and ShowMe to name a few. Skitch also provides a means to import a document and allows you to annotate over the top of it. One last fun math app is MyScript Calculator. It allows you hand write a calculation and it will perform it. You write with your finger 3+2 and it will show = 5. It will perform some fairly complicated calculations.

  7. I use to use a mobi and now I have an interactive whiteboard and use it frequently. The students now have google chromebooks and My Big Campus. Not for sure how I would use note anytime…I like the features and will have to get creative and find a way to incorporate note anytime!

  8. I do not have an interactive whiteboard, but all of our classrooms do have one. I love that you can add PDF files, websites and your own ideas to your presentation. I also like that you can put so many things on one page, make them smaller, then open them up when needed. That is much better than going from page to page. I will most definitely introduce this to our teachers.

  9. I am sure I will think of a lot of other ways to use this but the first thing that came to mind was working on fine motor skills with my students. I could create writing templates for them to practice on.

  10. Wow! This resource is almost overwhelmingly cool. Note Anytime makes me want to run out and buy an iPad. Not having a tablet of my own did make this resource a challenge so I looked at some of the other resources. It reminds me a lot of what I use on my Promethean flipchart to annotate and diagram text or other resources. But man wouldn’t that be cool to do those same things and take it wireless!

  11. This is a great alternative when just a projector and screen are available in the classroom. Instructions are simple enough that I don’t think our non-techy teachers would find it overwhelming. So many of the students are visual learners that it helps to reinforce what they are hearing/seeing on a larger scale. I could see this being used as a tool to create a review game such as Jeopardy. To get the teacher on-board, it would be a great resource to actually use at a staff meeting so teachers get a sense of its use. It’s also great for classrooms with limited computers.
    and can be used at all grade levels and subjects.

  12. Note Anytime allows students to take notes or to sketch out an idea on their mobile device. Then they can automatically sync it to the cloud-based storage within the app to be picked up later on their desktop machine. They can also share across email or via social media in universal formats like PDF and JPEG. These gives them the convenience of using a mobile device but the option of using a computer for more advanced editing through their computer.

  13. I don’t have a whiteboard in my classroom, but we are looking into getting them. I could definitely see using several of these applications on a daily basis with our classroom iPads. It would be amazing to be able to do my geography lessons on the whiteboard while using the Reflector app for my iPad. I think being able to make online maps and globes interactive for my students, especially since we don’t have classroom maps and globes anymore, would be a wonderful asset.

    • Having an iPad, projector and something like the reflector app would definitely be a way to have a whiteboard in your class without having the hardware. If you have a projector to connect to your computer you may be just a few steps away from having an interactive whiteboard already. Thanks for sharing!

  14. I teach 5/6 science and I could see using this app on my android devices. Students could create graphs or charts organizing the data they collect during an experiment then with the app they could share their charts or graphs.

  15. I have used Doceri before. It allows me to move about the room while annotating. The first time I used it to highlight directions and specific details on a Language Worksheet we were working on. It was so funny because the kids thought I was magic :)!! When I had a homeroom I liked to set up my day on ActiveInspire slides that had everything I needed for the day. I can see Note Anytime being a much better use for this. Many of our teachers use Class Dojo to help increase positive behaviors in class. Many of these apps would be great for this allowing teachers to move about the room while still giving out their Dojo Points. Our older grades use the Yes MAAM strategy for writing and I can see Note Anytime being a great tool for them to use to have the students and teachers demonstrate their process. I can also see teachers downloading Achieve Articles and being able to highlight details and annotate specifics in the article that would help them answer the questions to the Achieve articles.

  16. My students and I do not have an Ipad, so I looked at the other resources listed. To be honest, I don’t really think I would use these resources. I did see one of the posts mentioned Educreations, so I looked at that program. I liked that it is possible to record audio, so I think it will have many uses in the classroom. One of the ways I think my students would enjoy using it would be in math. I could have my students partner with another student, and show how to work a problem from an assignment, along with the audio explanation of their work. I really think my students would enjoy doing this. They love showing how to work our daily problem solving journal work on the ActivBoard.

  17. Interactive White boards provide lots of opportunities! When teachers can place a PDF document on the White Board and annotate, they are better able to create an interactive classroom environment. For example, by putting a PDF of a reading story on the board, teachers can demonstrate concepts such as picking out main idea and supporting details in a more visually engaging manner.

  18. Using whiteboard whether you have 1:1 or not is an awesome way to check for understanding. the ability to use your camera roll and annotate over it allows students to complete a task and save for the teacher to see without using paper. This could be used in a small group during daily 5 or whole group as you would use a dry erase board but without dying pens and lost “sock erasers” You could also create a QR code and then import it for completion as well and that could be used to differentiate your learning groups.

    • Good point. With the iPad it’s easy to capture student work with the camera and then annotate over it to show positive work and also find out where a student may have made a wrong turn.

  19. I looked at Note Anytime. This application may be useful for therapists when we provide professional development to teachers and or/ staff. We often times teach body mechanics for lifting students or education on setting up desk ergonomics. This could help us organize our notes and add videos through the use of our tablets. I feel like this could be a very functional app for us. We also may be able to use this application with organizing our notes on each student. I am looking forward to playing around with this app more.

  20. I looked through all the links and while they are all cool IF you had a tablet; I think I will stick with what I do on Activ and other places still for lessons. I also have an Airliner made by Smart that is just like what most of these apps will do. I can walk anywhere in my room and still do the problems on the board with the kids. It doesn’t have to be an Activ slate to use it with the Promethean boards so I have been able to keep using i since the roll out of the boards. I love it and could not teach without a slate. If I had a tablet it could work the same way. I have heard about an app called Splashpad that works in the classroom too that connects your desktop and tablet together plus add in your home computer.

    • I agree that it may be hard to compete with an actual interactive board in a classroom but I wonder if there is anything that could be created with this app and shared to desktop software like the ActivInspire or the SMART Notebook software? What could you create with this app and then use in your flipchart?

  21. This app is pretty cool. It is an interesting way for students to take notes. I can see it being used in my classroom with modeling reading. I could load pages of texts and model questions I would have while reading the piece or notes I would jot down to the side. Things I would hightlight. Then I would ask the students to do the same type of thing with passages of their own.

  22. My husband records his math lessons during class on Showme. He then uploads them for students to view: either for review or because they were absent. I also love prerecording some lessons to use in stations during class.
    I also love having my students create work in Notability followed by an upload to My Big Campus as PDF file. Then I can annotate and return it to them. Notability has also offered some incredible organization for many students as do many of these whiteboard apps. Showme is wonderful as it offers and online searchable library.

    Also remembering that I had students create ShowMe presentations for homework last year. We then watched the work of others and engaged in peer feedback.

    I have used ShowMe, Educreations, Explain Everything, Screen Chomp, Doceri and Notability. I have just downloaded Note Anytime and I believe I like it better than Notability!

    • I really like the idea of using an app like this for peer feedback.
      The other apps you mention are also great and offer great tools for teachers and students as well. Thank you for sharing!

  23. I have been playing with this app for a couple months now…love it! In my biology classes, this is a Brest way to make note-taking more interactive & reach more more learning styles. I have used it to load PDFs from My Big Campus (and I think Dropbox….I’ll have to experiment there again). Annotations can be added, photos, weblinks, etc. for mot taking..this is great. Students can add bits of information to help them remember the content better with all their helps in one location.
    Currently, I’m using Adobe Reader for notes in my classes, but want to switch to Note Anytime soon…it just has more options.

  24. I agree with John and Peter. I like keeping the students organized and in one spot. I like the ability to use it with PDF’s.

  25. 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.

  26. 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.

  27. 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.

  28. 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.

  29. 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.

  30. 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!!

  31. 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.

  32. 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.

  33. 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!

  34. 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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