Faculty Story Tool Exploration

A Remarkable Note-Taking Device

Linguistics and Cognitive Science department chair Michael Diercks has discovered a new tool that has revolutionized the way he works: the reMarkable2, an e-ink tablet. The tablet offers an alternative to a traditional paper notebook. What makes it unique, however, is not its high-tech functionality but rather its low-tech nature. 

E-Ink, sometimes called e-paper, mimics the appearance of ordinary ink on paper. Unlike traditional tablets that emit light, these tablets reflect light as regular paper would, making them easier on your eyes. With so much screen time this semester, this has been a welcome change for Professor Diercks.

The reMarkable tablet has a digital display made up of millions of bubbles of electrophoretic ink, which burst and encapsulate as needed to form an image. The near-instant response time makes writing feel natural.

For Professor Diercks, the beauty of an e-ink tablet lies in its simplicity. The sole function of the reMarkable tablet is to take notes—there are no notifications, no buzzes, and no pop-ups. With so much of our work being done on a computer these days, it can be challenging to stay focused. Having an e-ink tablet allows Professor Diercks to eliminate distractions and get work done.

The reMarkable tablet has also helped Professor Diercks organize his work. As someone whose reading is primarily comprised of PDFs, Professor Diercks relied heavily on printing and always had papers floating around his desk. The reMarkable tablet offered an alternative to hard copies, while also keeping his files easy organized; the tablet auto-syncs with his other devices when connected to WiFi. He uses the tablet primarily for research, grading papers, and taking notes for meetings, among other things. With a particularly writing-intensive course this semester, Professor Diercks finds the tablet an easy way to markup student essays.

While devices such as the reMarkable 2 will not replace your iPad or Surface, for those of us who handle a lot of paper documents, these tablets offer a well-designed alternative to paper that organizes and streamlines your notetaking with minimal distractions. For Professor Diercks, this has been a game-changer.

Story by: John Paul Ferrantino