Evernote is a closed source freemium suite of software and services, designed for notetaking and archiving. A "note" can be a piece of formatted text, a full webpage or webpage excerpt, a photograph, a voice memo, or a handwritten "ink" note. Notes can also have file attachments. Notes can be sorted into folders, then tagged, annotated, edited, given comments, searched, and exported as part of a notebook.
I found this a great way to share notes and ideas with my class, it can be collaborative and also share information with the students.
Evernote is a great application for educators. Its usefulness can range from planning a course to delivering a lesson plan to capturing feedback after class. I experimented with using Evernote while I was teaching courses at San Jose State University. It proved to be an excellent classroom companion. Here are some ways to use Evernote to achieve your teaching goals.
As a teacher, my Evernote use falls into three categories:
- Prior to class
- During class
- After class
Prior to class
- Plan and organize your classes with tags: Using tags is a great way to organize your classes on a week-to-week basis or on a class-by-class basis. For example, if you know that there is certain content that has to be taught during the second week of the school year, then for all related content you can use the tag “week 2″. Once you’ve created this system you can keep adding additional items throughout the year.
- Standards database: Compile standards of achievements for your particular grade or subject. You can even share them with teachers, parents, administrators and students using Evernote’s sharing features.
- Professional development: If you use the summer break or vacations to improve your skills or continue your education, keep all your notes, resources, lessons and new ideas learned in Evernote. This also works well for teacher in-services, conferences, workshops and seminars that you attend.
- Classroom templates: Templates are a great way to save time when grading and assessing your students. If you use templates such as grade sheets or student assessment forms, keep them in Evernote so you have them at your fingertips throughout the year.
- Prepare for your absence: Use Evernote’s shared notebooks as a way to keep your class up and running even if you aren’t there. Evernote makes it easy to share a notebook with the substitute teacher. Consider sharing lesson plans, worksheets, answer keys and examples of completed work. This can ensure your class keeps moving even if you aren’t there.
- Share a notebook with your class: After you create a public notebook, share the URL with your class. This way anything you add can be viewed by your students (or their parents). Here’s an example of a public notebook that I created for an entrepreneurship class.
- Whiteboard photos: Taking snapshots of the whiteboard is a favorite use of mine. Take photographs of the whiteboard before the start of the class, and again at the end. This gives you an accurate time stamped snapshot of what you were working on, on any given date. You can title or tag each photo based on the lecture number to make searching for specific photos easier. Also, you can share the photos with students that miss a class, so that they have the day’s notes.
- Keep handouts handy: Keep all of the handouts, worksheets, templates, study guides and assignments that you frequently use in Evernote, where they are easily searchable and accessible.
- Simplify grading: Scan graded tests, including scantrons and add them to Evernote. You can then enter them into your preferred grade-book or spreadsheet when you have time. This is also great if you have a teacher’s assistant. You can share the notebook with them and have them help with the grading process.
- Keep your extracurriculars in order: If you participate in any committees or coach a team, you can use Evernote to keep track of all the different research, notes and information associated with it. Again, shared notebooks are a great way to keep your committee on the same page and makes for an easy way to share collective knowledge about a project.