09 Jul 2013
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Fastest fingers in the west

By Rebecca Wood

There are many note taking apps available for iPads and iPhones, but one New Zealand-developed app is proving popular in the education sector.

FastFinga, developed by Catalystwo, takes advantage of the touch-screen technology of Apple devices by allowing users to use their finger to write on the screen instead of using a stylus.

Students can use the app to take handwritten notes in class, write music, do maths, draw, type, copy and paste, and design layouts and floorplans.

Carl Olsen and Masatoshi Nishikata, directors of Catalystwo, say many different types of documents, files and folders for different subjects can be created and stored in one app on an Apple device.

“Assignments can be sent electronically between teachers and students; and it saves students the cost of extra stationery for individual subjects.”

The app was first released in 2009 to take advantage of the new touch-screen technology made available by Apple with the iPhone 3. Shortly after release, FastFinga became the number one selling app in the Japanese iTunes App Store.

A sister app, Sketch Pad, was developed as a drawing app using the same concept of people using their fingers to draw on the touch-screen. The latest iteration of the app, FastFinga 3, includes both FastFinga and Sketch Pad in the one app.

FastFinga now has more than 550,000 users worldwide, while Sketch Pad has attracted more than one million users.

But the company hasn’t been resting on its laurels and has developed a number of other apps suitable for the education sector.

In particular its app, Back@U, which was designed for people living with disabilities, has been found to be useful for teaching children to write and learn their numbers.

And its calendar/scheduling app, CCal 11 Pro, which syncs with Google Calendar and Google Tasks, displays Apple's Calendar app events and Apple's Reminders app, can be useful for planning classes and school events.

The company has no plans to develop android versions of the apps.

What apps do you use in the classroom? What do your students use for note-taking? Tell us below.

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