A new software component of Microsoft Word that promises to revolutionize the way people take notes using digital technology is beginning to catch on around college campuses, and Ben Sturner wants Temple to be a part of it.
“This is a new way for students to take notes,” said Ben Sturner, Microsoft marketing spokesperson. “It will replace the three-ring binder.”
Microsoft OneNote was released in late 2003, but has only recently begun to rise in popularity. The software simplifies note-taking on a computer, as it mimics characteristics of writing on paper, only with the legibility of type on screen. OneNote allows users to write directly on the screen as they could on a PDA.
Users are able to type anywhere on screen without regard for margins. With a pen tool, they are able to illustrate and make notes around their citations. Important information may be highlighted, or “red-flagged,” and in files containing large amounts of text, where some information might be difficult to find while scanning with the eye, a text search can be done in the program for specific keywords or information, taking the user directly to the data.
Amy Annunziato, of Computer Business Services, is familiar with OneNote and gives it a favorable commendation.
“I think it’s a great idea,” said Annunziato. “It would be greatly beneficial to students’ needs.”
When two Temple students tested a trial version of the software, however, their feedback came from another standpoint.
“I didn’t think it was great,” said freshman Michelle Mogavero. “People have been taking notes on paper for years upon years; I don’t understand why they would need software to do it now.”
“I thought it was a good idea, but it’s not practical because not everyone has a portable computer,” said architecture major James Boggs. “If there were computers in every classroom and ways to store all the information, then it might work. For people with desktops or heavy laptops, it doesn’t make sense to have the software.”
Sturner, however, makes his prediction in favor of OneNote.
“As technology advances, paper and the traditional ways will all be shifted to computer,” he said.
OneNote includes other technological features that extend the boundaries of paper. Pictures and other graphics may be integrated onto the pages, as well as hyperlinks to Web sites containing further information than what appears next to it on the page. The program also has the capability to record large sound files, as well as video (if the computer has a microphone and webcam). With the sound recording, data is integrated into the notes in the exact spot in which the sound was captured. Furthermore, all notes are capable of being emailed to other parties.
The program has found success in the corporate world, as employees use it during meetings and sales pitches. Now, Microsoft is marketing OneNote toward college students as an aid during classes and lectures.
Sturner explained how the software was built to create a more simplistic and organized way for college students to take notes in classes such as lecture halls. He pointed out that while students study, as it is sometimes difficult to find specific information amongst many pages of notes, the search function allows students to access particular information immediately.
At retail, the program sells for $99.95, but college bookstores, including Temple’s software-providing Web site, campusestore.com/microsoft, sells OneNote for $49.95. Anyone interested in a 60 day free trial of the OneNote software may download it at microsoft.com/TryOneNote.
Jesse North may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.