3 Cool iPad Apps Shared at ISTE

My ISTE Experiment

For the last few years I’ve lugged a big backpack around the ISTE Conference. The backpack contained all the tech I “thought” I needed for the conference: Laptop, speakers, chargers, power cords, camera, cables, adaptors, batteries. All in all it came to about 15 -20 pounds. By the end of the day it seemed more like 50.  This year I wanted to see if I could get by with just my phone and my iPad – no backpack. Turns out it worked. I was able to check e-mail, Tweet out during sessions, check Facebook, and take notes. With my phone I was able to snap pictures and grab QR Codes. I even carried a mini charger in my pocket just in case, but I never needed it.

I also picked up some great apps that were shared by others at the conference. Here are the three coolest ones.

Type Drawing

To put it simply, Type Drawing is drawing with words.  You type in a word, then draw with it. The faster you draw the bigger the letters. Draw slowly and the letters get really tiny. By changing words and colors you can get some really interesting creations. Imagine telling kids to make a picture with their spelling words. Thanks to Bridget Belardi for sharing this.



Kevin Honeycutt shared this at one of his sessions. Sure it’s got a digital piano and drums, but what grabbed my attention was it’s feature that lets you create and play your own 12 Bar Blues. Watching Kevin create a simple blues song in just minutes was enough to tell me I HAD to have this. By the way, if you ever get a chance to hear Kevin speak, DO IT. You won’t be disappointed. I was happy that his was my final session at ISTE. I left energized and inspired.


Thanks again to Bridget for showing me this gem.  Noteshelf is the best app I’ve seen for note taking on the iPad. It lets you write notes, quickly and easily. It has a zoom feature that helps you write small to fit more info on one page. If you want to make your notes look “cute” there’s a pull down box with hundreds of little smileys and icons for jazzing up your note pages. Noteshelf also lets you bring in pictures from your iPad photo library. Using multi-touch, those images can be moved, resized, and rotated.

For handwriting notes on an iPad you really need a stylus.  I picked up a little Pogo Sketch stylus at Amazon.com for under $10. Noteshelf has a “wrist protection” feature that lets you rest your wrist on the iPad while taking handwritten notes. I tried it. It works.

The best part about Noteshelf is that it connects to the cloud. Notes you take can be uploaded to Dropbox or Evernote. I tested it by creating the note below, sending that note to Evernote. Once it’s in Evernote your handwriting is searchable. I was able to search for keywords and it recognized my writing.

I really want to use Evernote more, but for me note taking means writing and Evernote doesn’t let me do that. Now that I can write my notes with Noteshelf, send them to Evernote, and search what I’ve written I’ll be using this powerful cloud tool much more.


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