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Kody Peralta: A high school student using Surface Book and OneNote every day

Written By published September 2, 2016

Recently I met Kody Peralta, an ambitious 18-year old high school graduate whose Surface Book has changed the way he learns. Kody now has the ability to take handwritten notes which he couldn’t do on pen and paper because of his transcription disability, dysgraphia. People with dysgraphia have difficulty with handwriting and it can interfere with a student’s ability to express themselves. Surface and OneNote together have encouraged him to start taking handwritten notes again because he can write on a much larger scale using Surface Pen and easily scroll in and out to make his sentences legible on ruled lines. Dysgraphia also effects the pressure that’s applied to any given writing tool and with the Surface Book’s ability to adjust pressure sensitivity, as well as quickly adjust pen size, Kody can write clear, legible words that can be scaled to normal size.

Kody Peralta
“My Surface Book has allowed me to keep up with my busy college schedule, and made my life a much simpler in the process!” – Kody Peralta

He uses OneNote in and outside the classroom to do everything from importing in all his text books, annotating, and recording during class as well as organizing everything he needs for going to college. I hear from fans all the time how Surface and OneNote together can truly help students get more out of the classroom and Kody is a great example of someone that is taking full advantage of what a Surface Book can do. Here is more about Kody’s story:

Can you tell me a bit about yourself and your background?

I grew up in Seattle and have actually never been out of the state, although I moved around a lot when I was younger, and attended school mostly in the North Shore school district. Even though I lived in Seattle, I would still commute to Bothell High School, and then during my junior and senior year, Bellevue College. It’s been hard balancing multiple classes in multiple locations during high school, and I’ve been driving close to 150 miles a day round trip!  

I’m about to start college at the University of Washington Bothell where I’m studying a double major in Marketing and Economics – and working right down the street from Bothell High School at Starbucks to earn some extra cash.

Why did you get a Surface Book?

I decided to get a Surface Book because I needed a laptop that would be light enough to carry around from class-to-class, yet provide enough power to handle top-of-the-line games in between classes. I also wanted to find a laptop that would help me with my dysgraphia. Before the Surface Book, I had both an iPad and a MacBook that would allow me to write down my math notes, yet type up my lecture notes – but it was a pain carrying around two devices. The Surface Book combined the best of both words, and with the help of OneNote, has given me all the tools I need to be successful at college!

What’s been the most useful thing about your Surface during your studies?

OneNote is my main go-to product on the Surface – it’s really intuitive and allows me to write, as well as type, instead of skipping back and forth between Apple Pages on my MacBook, and Bamboo Paper on my iPad. OneNote’s ability to convert handwriting to text has also encouraged me to write more often! Something that I don’t particularly enjoy due to dysgraphia. I also use the audio and video recording capabilities – it’s great because I can go over recordings of lectures to make sure that I didn’t miss anything.

Kody Peralta

All of my textbooks are on OneNote, which total around 3000-4000 pages of text. The reason I choose digital textbooks over physical textbooks is because OneNote provides the ability for me to highlight and annotate textbooks without permanently marking up the textbook pages – along with that, digital textbooks are comparatively cheaper than physical textbooks, which saves me a lot of money in the long run! To get the text books into OneNote I either use a photocopier and scan to OneNote, or I’ll purchase a digital copy of the textbook online and use the ‘send to OneNote 2016’ feature.

I also switch the screen around all the time. Sometimes I’ll use the base to hold textbooks or extra pieces of paper, whilst using the screen to write on. I also love Windows Hello because it’s easier than remembering and typing in a password. In the beginning, I was really skeptical about how safe Windows Hello is, but I’ve tried getting people that look like me to sign in just to test it and so far, no-one has been able to log in!

What do you do outside of studying?

 Aside from academics, I’m a huge video gamer and generally stick to PC games like Civilization V, Stellaris, and as of late, No Man’s Sky. I’m also a massive car geek, and really like Lexus and Audi, however Tesla’s are my all-time favorite due to their all-electric powertrain, and autonomous driving capabilities – I really want one! If I’m not glossing over every detail of cars, or playing videogames, I’m either golfing or sailing – although I haven’t been able to do either as of late due to my busy college schedule!

 Can you give me 3 top tech tips for other students?

  1. Use Outlook to schedule your classes and also use it as a planner, saves so much time!
  2. In OneNote, use the audio recording features to record professors (side tip, ask them first). Buy text books online and pull them OneNote to annotate, saves so much money.
  3. Get a case for your laptop, it gets tiring carrying it around all day

 If you’d like to learn more about getting the most out of your Surface for college or looking into what’s right for you, please visit the