It’s been almost three weeks since my first ISTE conference and the wheels continue to turn or better said, spin wildly! This is by far the largest and most inspiring education conference I have ever been to and has resulted in creating new life in my ed tech world. While I spend a lot of time reading blogs and professional articles and following extremely inspiring educators on Twitter, I was able to take all the ideas I have been gathering and really plant some solid seeds into next year’s plan for my classroom. Another plus, was actually meeting and networking with some of the very same teachers I follow and network with on Twitter.
     Now I have been formulating all of the ideas into my head for long enough and it is about time to put them down on my blog. This will be a series of blog entries because as I sit here and think about everything I want to write about I find myself overwhelmed with writer’s block. So as a cure to this, I am posting in smaller chunks. I hope you enjoy and can take at least one new piece of edtech awesomeness away with you!
Lose the Binder: Use Evernote in Your Classroom
Remember the good ol’ days of getting your brand new Trapper Keeper? You stuffed it full of tabs, pencils pouches, and fresh clean college ruled paper. Then after a year of sub-organization, with papers falling out, you place that Trapper Keeper on the bookshelf never to be looked at again. Now imagine the world for our students where Trapper Keepers and binders were considered a blast from the past. Imagine a world where your students carried their digital binder from grade to grade collecting work from their past years of schooling. Essentially, collecting a history of learning and a digital portfolio all at the same time. That time has come and Evernote is that digital binder of the future.
     If you use Evernote for your personal use, then you know all too well how wonderfully simple and amazing the Evernote app is. When I first began using Evernote, I downloaded it so I could take notes there rather than using the iPhone/iPad’s built in notes. I was amazed how easily it synced with my iPad, iPod, iPhone, and desktop. Then as I began to dig deeper into Evernote’s capabilities I began to see the potential of this app in the classroom.
Here are the functions that make Evernote amazing for use in a classroom:
  • Note taking (word processing)
  • List maker
  • Audio recording
  • Snapshots (take pictures)
  • Tag notes for searching and filing ease
  • With the Premium version you are able to search items in all notebooks (including words in images and handwritten words)
  • With the Premium version, students can share work with you (but not in real time like in Google Docs)
     The first thing that came to mind was to use Evernote as my student’s word processing tool. I have a 1:1 iPod classroom and this made writing and publishing of student work a fun and easy process. However, after listening to Nick Provenzano (@thenerdyteacher) speak about his full integration of Evernote into his high school English class (at #ISTE12) I was inspired on a whole new level. He is part of a 1:1 iPad program and claims that once he introduced Evernote to his students they took to it immediately and wanted to use it for all of their classes for note-taking and word processing. He explained how Evernote is like a binder that a student can carry with them from year to year. Each year a student can collect all of their learning in one location and essentially, indirectly or purposely, compile a digital portfolio.
     Nick has so fully integrated Evernote into his teaching that he is now paperless! He has scanned all of his assignments and teaching tools and has them stored in notebooks in Evernote. Nick said last school year he made only 240 copies! In addition, instead of carrying home crates of writing projects to grade each day, he just walks on out with his iPad. That is truly phenomenal.
Instantly my mind was turning with new ideas to integrate Evernote into my classroom. Here they are:
  • Have students create notebooks for their projects. They can then email me their entire notebook as their final project.
  • Create digital writing portfolios
  • Use Evernote to capture pictures of their artwork (from our art program). Students can include either a written reflection about their piece or an audio recording.
  • Students can use the audio recording to record their final fluency practice. This can be turned in with a written reflection (using a kid-friendly rubric).
  • With the premium version (teacher only) I will have students share their writing with me. I will then be able to comment on their work or attach an audio recording of my reflection of their work. Imagine the time I will save and the documentation I will be able to gather!
  • Students can access their work on their iPods, in the computer lab, and even on their devices at home.
  • Students can email their work to you.
  • Teach my students to take notes using Evernote fully utilizing snapshots.
  • Use Evernote to document my Daily 5 reading conferences. I can even use the audio recording to record students reading aloud. Read this blog for more information: Evernote as a Reading 1 on 1 Conference Tool 
Great Evernote links from other amazing educators:

If you have more ideas to add, please add them into the comment area! I love hearing what everyone else is doing.
Thank you,
Jo-Ann Fox
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7 Responses to Lose the Binder: Use Evernote in Your Classroom

  1. steve says:

    Here is how I used EN with my Livescribe pens last year in my room—
    http://www.dangoldesq.com/2012/04/how-2nd-grade-teacher-leverages.html#.UAcdAGGXSSp

  2. Christina says:

    Hi,

    I love this article on Evernote. I am putting together a Livebinder for a conference on Edmodo and I included Evernote in my toolbox. May I have permission to post this article in my Livebinder? Thank you!

  3. Ron Toledo says:

    Hello Jo-Ann, This is Ron from Evernote. I just wanted to drop by and say thanks so much for putting together this great blog post and sharing. We really appreciate all the support.

  4. Tori Steres says:

    I just started to use iPod touches in my 5th grade classroom and am interested in utilizing Evernote. How did you address the email requirement?

    • Jo-Ann Fox says:

      I would get permission from your district and ask them for direction with this. They may want you to have parents sign an AUP. You can have parents sign their child up for an account. Or you can use a google email. If you use the name + then your email, you can sign up all of your students. For example… if your gmail is teacher@gmail.com then you can create an Evernote account using studentfirstname+teacher@gmail.com. Hope this helps!

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