This is the eighth post in my Summer Learning Series. These are short posts with tools, tips and resources for you to try something new this summer or something you can take to the classroom in the Fall. First was Collaborative Learning With Edmodo and then we followed up with Learning With Hashtags. Then we looked at TED Talks. We moved on to Twitter chats. Then our last post looked at some pretty neat things you can do with YouTube. Last week we took a look at Diigo and how to curate the information you are finding this summer. Then we examined the things to consider if you want to use Twitter in your classroom or your school in the coming school year. Today we look at a tool I can't live without, Evernote.
I'll admit it.
I have to be one of the most unorganized people on the planet. I have notebooks in just about every bag I carry. Multiple calendars and I still miss appointments. Slips of papers as reminders with some string of illegible thoughts on them, that, when I find them, I don't have a clue what I was thinking when I wrote them.
I have more than 10 different types of projects going on at anyone time. A book, book chapters for others, keynotes to write, presentations to prepare, consulting, product review, and on and on and on. Not to mention my projects with my district.
Organization isn't really in my vocabulary.
Well, let me say, it wasn't in my vocabulary.
But it is now, thanks to Evernote.
I had tried Evernote in the past. Installed it and looked at it and couldn't really find a use for it. I would uninstall it and go on my way, unorganized, missing appointments, stressing about putting things together. But that is all in the past. I use Evernote everyday. I can't live without it. So much so, its on every phone, computer and in every browser I come in contact with.
Ok, so what is it?
To boil it all down. Think of Evernote as this giant filing cabinet. In it you put all the different notes, clips, photos, scans, just about anything. You can organize these notes into notebooks. Really what you use it for is up to you.
Here is a small view of some of my current notebooks.
So I have notebooks for work, personal and other work I do. And I nest notebooks. I like keeping things separate. That has really helped with my organization. I also use the To-Do notebook as my list of upcoming and current projects and responsibilities.
I keep Evernote open on my computer at all times. I never know when I am going to need it or when it could come in handy. Inside one of my notebooks you will see all my notes.
In this notebook are notes for 3 presentations I did at a district technology conference. I plan out my slidedeck, resources, videos, everything, can go right in the note for that particular session and I have it no matter where I am. I can scan in items, add Word docs, exe files and loads more to a notebook or note. Did I practice a part of my preso that I wanted to save the audio for? No problem! I can even include audio as part of my notes. (That works even better on a smartphone.)
You can also install the Evernote Web Clipper extension and save portions of websites or just some text from a blog post that you want to use somewhere else. You can also connect Evernote to your Twitter favorites and whenever you save a favorite it goes into a notebook. (That is one of my favorite features.)
There are lots of uses in Education too. Here are some of my favorite resources:
- Evernote 101- This video from my good friend Josh is a great starting point for folks who want to get started.
- Evernote For Educators- This Livebinder is packed full of getting started links and ideas for using Evernote with students.
- Evernote On Classroom 2.0 Live- There was a great webinar all about Evernote and its application in the classroom.
- Resources From Cybraryman-As always, Jerry has a page for Evernote.
- 10 Evernote Tips For School-From The Evernote Blog, a great list of things to think about when using Evernote with kids.
- Evernote For Schools-Just launched, here you can read more about how to get Evernote in your school and read about how other schools are using it.
- The Complete Guide To Evernote In Schools-A great eBook from my friend Nick, it has everything you need to get started using Evernote in your classroom.
One idea for use is portfolios. Because of Evernotes ability to accept lots of different kinds of inputs (text, images, audio, files, PDF, etc) it makes it a perfect edition to the portfolio-based classroom. The same is true with teachers. If you are an administrator, think about it. Since notebooks can be shared, you could create a notebook for each teacher, share it with them, and use that as a place to gather evaluation materials throughout the year. Simple and elegant.
Evernote is 100% free. You can download it as many times as you want. There are versions for both Mac and PC and it works on your smartphone too. There are, however, monthly upload limits for things like images and PDFs. You can pay for Evernote Premium (which I do.) that gives you lots more space, the ability to search your PDFs, the sharing option and more. For $45 bucks a year, well worth it if you ask me.
Best thing to do now is go download it and start small. Use it for a project or two that you have going on. And I would bet in a month or 2 you will say, just like I do that I can't live without it!
Do you use Evernote? How do you use it? What are your favorite resources? Leave some comments below.
cross posted at blog.web20classroom.org
Steven W. Anderson is the Director of Instructional Technology for the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools in Winston-Salem, NC. He also regularly travels the country talking to schools and districts about the use of Social Media in the classroom. Steven has been recognized with the NOW Award and the 2009 and 2011 Edublogs, Twitterer of The Year Award. In 2012 he was named an ASCD Emerging Leader. Read more at blog.web20classroom.org.