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Tool of the Month - Evernote (May, 2013)

In this article you will learn about Evernote: world’s first and biggest online note organizer. We will talk about general concept of having an Evernote, and focus on its use cases in education. You can follow our exploration hands-on, by signing on to Evernote.com and searching for Evernote app on your smartphone’s applications center. Evernote is available for web, iPhone, iPad and Android.

What is Evernote?

Evernote is a note-taking application that synchronizes your notes on the web and across mobile devices. E.g., you are in class with a tablet, and you need to make a quick note on a topic that needs to be reviewed for the next class. You open up Evernote and quickly tap a note. When you are back home, the Evernote on your home computer already has the note you’ve typed earlier on your tablet. You can review all the notes you’ve typed during the day, and get ready for the next day at school. On your way to school, you can pull up your tablet and review your notes from yesterday, including those you wrote on your home computer.

Among other key features of Evernote:
• Organizing notes into separate notebooks — helps separate work and life, track separate students, classes and disciplines.
• Sharing selected notes and notebooks to others via the web and e-mail — helps pass your notes on to others, e.g. a substitute teacher when you are away.
• Images, documents, videos and voice in your notes — help attach whatever relevant material you need for a note, including photographs from your tablet or smartphone.
• Text recognition in images and PDFs — helps you find text inside photographs and locked documents. You can take a photo of a book page, and the text in the photo will be fully searchable.
• Full-text search across all your notes — helps you find that note about project-based learning experiment in Japan that you clipped from the web three years ago.

Evernote is not for everyone, and it takes some discipline to take full advantage of its features. It’s best used if you have a habit of taking notes everyday. Evernote is best during the times when you do research, write a paper, get ready for class or collect ideas for a project. With Evernote’s powerful web clipping capabilities, you can collect all your research material in one place, organize it well and use it to your advantage in the future.

Using Evernote

Taking notes with Evernote is rather straightforward:
1. You sign up for the free service on Evernote.com,
2. install Evernote apps across all your devices,
3. sign into your account,
4. hit “Add note” on whichever device is at hand.

In your note, you can add text, images, documents, videos and a voice memo. Evernote will push your note onto its cloud storage and store it there, so you can access all your notes from any device. If you’ve attached an image or a readable document, Evernote’s system will scan it and attempt to trace words, so that your photographs and documents are fully searchable. Notebooks can be shared, so if you are preparing for a project together with others, it might be a good idea to keep a separate notebook for a separate project.

You can also add tags to your notes. Tags are indispensable to categorize your notes by functional types, e.g.: ideas, references, to see later, submitted works etc. Unlike notebooks, a single note can have many tags assigned, and tags are easily reusable. What’s more, reusing tags makes it much easier to navigate your universe of notes. In most applications, you will notice that Evernote tracks the location of your notes, so when you travel, you can leave geographical distribution of your notes to Evernote.


1. Instant feedback on understanding material
2. Grammar 'stop and drill'
3. Brainstorming activities
4. Listening comprehension
5. Skimming and scanning reading activities

Evernote in Class

Evernote might not be the best teaching tool as it is, but it is a perfect productivity companion certainly worth considering. It boosts personal effectiveness, helps you stay organized and track the things that matter to you personally and professionally. Evernote is a very open and extension-friendly ecosystem, inviting dozens of education-related applications. If you decide to take your class into a mobile learning environment, Evernote is a perfect core to your mobile learning.

As a teacher, you might find Evernote useful in one of these cases:
• In-class note taking regarding attendance, performance, further plans and sidenotes.
• Keeping and refining lesson plans, and sharing them when needed with your colleagues.
• Keeping track of your class’s home task and sharing it with the class.
• Recording portions of your lectures for peer review.
• Tracking you students’ performance with individual notebooks per student. You can type in observations, record students’ performance and take snapshots of their works.
• Collecting and organizing useful teaching and research resources.
• Storing frequently used document templates, e.g. grading sheets, course syllabi etc.

Your students can benefit from Evernote in the following way:
• Taking notes during class.
• Storing teacher’s handouts by taking pictures of them with their cameras.
• Recording teacher’s talks during class for later revision.
• Collecting materials for their projects, share them and collaborate on projects.
• Tracking their progress in a portfolio-like way and sharing their portfolios with their teacher.

Tips and Tricks on Using Evernote

Taking full advantage of Evernote requires discipline. The following rules will help you keep a helpful notebook with Evernote:
1. Track and note everything important. Avoid writing things down on paper or keeping an extra notebook. Jotting down things in a paper notebook requires less effort than noting things down in Evernote, so you will always be tempted to go the easy way. Avoid that and stick to keeping your notes in one place.
2. If you’ve noted something outside Evernote, make sure you put it into Evernote by taking picture of it, scanning it or retyping it into your Evernote notebook. It is important to keep all your notes in one place.
3. Take time to organize your notes, either regularly or as you make them. Having all your notes in one notebook with no tags is hardly helpful in the long run, so make sure your notes go into appropriate notebooks and have helpful tags assigned too.
4. Take pictures of beautiful and helpful things you see. It’s a useful habit, and Evernote is a good way to store them.
5. Mark everything important as soon as possible. If you can’t type, make a voice note or take a picture. Never put off note-taking to later. It rarely works out.

Tips and Tricks on Teaching with Evernote

1. Take snapshots of your blackboard during or after class to track your in-class activities. It’s hard to remember what you wrote on the board a week later.
2. Have your lesson plans and class notes in a single notebook, and be ready to share them with a colleague.
3. Take advantage of Evernote’s mobile applications to prepare for classes and make lesson plans as you commute. Being able to do this on the go saves substantial amount of time at home and at school.
4. Make a habit of capturing everything classworthy as you travel, during your free time and as you work. Personal observations and experience is priceless in the classroom, so make sure you’ve got plenty to share. Evernote takes care of the technicalities.
5. Be a valid example of self-organization with Evernote. Students follow good example, unless it’s forced upon them. Use Evernote to increase your efficiency as a teacher and as a person, and your students are likely to follow.
6. Use Evernote-compatible teaching apps (like Evernote Peek, StudyBlue, etc.) to integrate their data into a solid Evernote-powered learning space.

Evernote for E-Portfolios

Evernote can be used as a tool for e-portfolios in the classroom, although this isn’t the best use of its capabilities. Below is a step-by-step walkthrough on how to create e-portfolios:
1. Students sign up with Evernote and install the apps on their mobile devices
2. Students create a dedicated notebook with their name on it and share a link to their portfolio notebook with their teacher
3. In the notebook, students add notes related to their learning experience
4. The teacher reviews the portfolio notebooks

Since Evernote offers no feedback capabilities, teachers will need to provide feedback via e-mail, social networks or personal contacts.

More on e-portfolios in Evernote:
Evernote – IS a personal e-portfolio solution for students! By Martin Hawksey
Evernote – a personalized e-portfolio solution (video) by Martin Hawksey
Evernote for Intermediate Portfolios by Dr. Helen Barrett

Evernote Resources

1. Evernote Trunk. Evernote-enabled apps and gear for better productivity, extra features and extensive educational use http://trunk.evernote.com/
2. Evernote video tutorials, http://vimeo.com/26982205, http://youtu.be/HMea7u0eXJA, http://vimeo.com/42066807
3. A complete guide to Evernote. Thorough manual on all features and use cases for Evernote http://www.freetech4teachers.com/2012/09/a-free-complete-guide-to-evernote.html
4. Evernote – A teacher’s perspective. Presentation on Evernote use case by Rebecca Spink http://prezi.com/xizyhpryd3sw/evernote-a-teachers-perspective/
5. 10 tips for teachers using Evernote. Tutorial by Michael Cruz http://blog.evernote.com/blog/2011/01/13/10-tips-for-teachers-using-evernote-education-series/
6. Go Paperless: Evernote iPad Workflows. Review of extra features provided to Evernote via external applications, by Lou Climetta http://technochalkie.blogspot.com.au/2012/12/go-paperless-evernote-ipad-workflows.html
7. Six ways to use Evernote to capture learning. Review of Evernote practices in education, by Cathy Mere http://reflectandrefine.blogspot.ru/2012/09/six-ways-to-use-evernote-to-capture.html
8. A collection of resources on Evernote by Samia Wahbab http://pinterest.com/samia524/evernote-education/

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