A PhD student/ Jazz Guitarist’s Take on his Passions and Noteshelf

This blog post refers to the classic version of Noteshelf. We now have a new & improved version of the app, Noteshelf 2. We’d love for you to check it out!

We caught up with Teddy Svoronos, a PhD student fond of jazz music, technology and a Noteshelf user.

Noteshelf Star

  1. Where are you originally from and where are you staying now?

I grew up in Queens, New York, and currently live in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

  1. What’s your occupation?

I’m a fourth-year PhD student in Health Policy, focusing on program evaluation and statistics. Fourth-year means I’m knee deep in dissertation research and teaching, but not much coursework anymore.

  1. What specific projects are you working on right now?

Besides my research, I spend much of my time developing teaching materials for statistics using my Mac and iPad, which has become a bit of a passion of mine.

It’s the product of using my iPad to teach in a classroom setting (projected using an Apple TV), which I’ve found to be an extremely useful tool; using a combination of Keynote, Noteshelf, and a few other apps lets me combine the structure and visuals of an “on rails” presentation, while maintaining the flexibility of a simple whiteboard. Translating those advantages to narrated videos felt like a no-brainer. I also like to blog about the intersection of technology, teaching, and statistics

  1. What are your hobbies?

I’m a jazz guitarist, and music has been centrally important to me since I was 14. I try to gig from time to time, in addition to playing with a million music production apps on my iPad.

  1. What are you passionate about? Name three.

Most relevant to my interests and this interview, I’d say I’m passionate about the clarity of thought, attention to detail, and accessibility to novices. These three are linked in lots of ways, but it’s quite common to encounter one without the other two. I try pretty hard to integrate this into my research, writing, teaching, and music.

  1. How did you discover Noteshelf?

I’ve had an iPad since the first generation came out because I was looking for exactly what it promised – easy access to reading and writing in a lightweight, shareable package. Since then I believe I’ve purchased every single note-taking application that’s worth trying on the App Store, and Noteshelf was one of the early contenders. Of all the apps I had tried, it came closest to capturing the feel of a solid, reliable notebook.

  1. What kind of notes do you have in Noteshelf, kindly elaborate? (eg. work notes, diary, logo sketches, etc.)?

I have three main notebooks in Noteshelf, which fit neatly into the three kinds of notes that I take:

1. Meeting/Class notes: This used to be my primary use of Noteshelf, back when I was still doing coursework. I had notebooks for each subject, grouped together in a Notebook group. Nowadays I use Noteshelf for meeting notes, which I quickly export to Omnifocus for processing or Evernote for archiving. The new Evernote syncing feature means that this archiving now happens automatically

2. Teaching/Projected notes: I use this notebook whenever I want to project Noteshelf onto an external screen. Since Noteshelf hides all the interface elements on the projected screen, it’s a great way to throw up ideas during a meeting or walk through an example while teaching. I keep this notebook in landscape mode so it takes up most of a projected screen.

3. Journal/Reflection notes: I use the heck out of DayOne for journaling, but I often prefer to handwrite instead of type. Since Noteshelf has come to feel so comfortable, I write in a password protected notebook, copy the text that I write, and paste it into DayOne as an entry. Noteshelf’s ink feels great, and the password feature helps me feel secure.

  1. What for the three most important feature of Noteshelf for you and why?

1. The ink: I often switch to Noteshelf just to use its inking engine, which is one of the most impressive I’ve encountered.

2. The presentation mode: The last thing I want to do while teaching is distracting students with buttons, pen types, and zoom windows. Projecting Noteshelf on an external screen hides all those elements and helps keep things clear.

3. Password protection: I haven’t encountered a handwriting app of Noteshelf’s calibre that has this feature, and I’m very grateful for it.

4. Bonus: Evernote sync: I have to add this because it’s just so darn useful. Having all of my Noteshelf notes accessible (and searchable!) on Evernote without any additional work from me is fantastic.

  1. What stylus do you use and why?

I currently use a Wacom Bamboo Duo, because I like the feel of the stylus and the pen on the other side of it. I’ve been playing with other Bluetooth styluses like the Pogo Connect and the Jot Script, which have some great features, but I always end up going back to a “dumb” stylus.

  1. What are your other favourite apps/programs/gadgets?

Besides the apps that I’ve already mentioned, I’m a heavy user of GoodNotes, PDF Expert, MindNode, and Byword.

  1. How would you recommend Noteshelf to those who don’t use any note-taking app? To those that are using another note-taking app?

I think of Noteshelf as an enhanced notebook: it captures the feel and ease of use of a traditional notebook, with additional elements like typed text, color switching, image insertion, etc. Many other note-taking apps are jam-packed with features that make the app really feel like computer software; Noteshelf feels more like a writing experience.

Read up on Teddy Svoronos’ research, teaching materials and thoughts on his blog, http://teddysvoronos.com/posts. Follow him also on Twitter: @tedsvo

Comments Below


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *