Notion, the sleek and sophisticated note-taking app, is going free for the education market. The company said today that teachers and students who sign up with an academic email address will get a free upgrade to the premium version of the software, which entitles them to unlimited uploads, storage, and version history features. The service has a sleek design, robust feature set, and cross-platform availability — and students or teachers seeking a new online workspace will find it well worth a look.
Notion is a collaborative document editor that will compete in the education market with tools including Evernote, Bear, and Microsoft OneNote. Students can use it to take and share notes in class or to organize their tasks into to-do lists. Teachers might use it to create syllabi and share them with students or create a wiki for the class.
“We’ve been so amazed by the number of students who are not only using Notion, but building their own tools that we could have never imagined,” Notion co-founder and CEO Ivan Zhao said in a statement. “We have Harvard professors running classes with it, professors running whole labs, and students managing all kinds of organizations, too.”
As part of the move, the company is releasing 25 templates that highlight what Notion can do. Students will find tools for building grade calculators, a personal budget, and job applications; teachers will find templates for lesson plans and a class directory, among other things.
Existing Notion users can access premium features for free by changing their login to a .edu or other academic domain address, the company said. (Previously, they would have paid $4 a month under the company’s plan for individuals. The software is free to try but begins to charge once users hit a storage threshold.)
Making Notion’s premium features free for the education community signals a more aggressive growth strategy for a company that recently announced it hit 1 million users. The company’s emphasis on subscription revenues from the start enabled it to become profitable much faster than most fast-growing San Francisco startups, and it has surged to an $800 million valuation just three years after being founded.
The product’s versatility can be overwhelming for new users, and it has a learning curve that a simpler alternative like Google Keep lacks. But for those who like flexibility and power in their note-taking, Notion is well worth a look. And now that it’s free for students and teachers, many more people will have a good reason to give it a try.
Vox Media has affiliate partnerships. These do not influence editorial content, though Vox Media may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links. For more information, see our ethics policy.
Update, 12:45 p.m.: This article has been updated to reflect that you can sign up for Notion with an academic email address even it is not a .edu address.