Saturday, October 8, 2011

Evernote is a Must-Have for Educators

I use Evernote and absolutely love it. It’s an extremely powerful productivity tool for one’s personal and professional life. With the ability to access my notes across all platforms (whether it’s my laptop or my numerous mobile devices), I always have everything I need to remember within reach.

Here’s how I use evernote as a teacher:

1. Notebooks: In Evernote, Notebooks are like folders.  I create notebooks to help me organize information. For example, I have notebooks called "Students," “Web 2.0 Tools,” “Apps,” “Tech Committee,” “Temporary,” etc.  Some teachers may want to create a notebook for each specific student if they need create documentation for parent conferences.

2. Notes: I create notes on anything I want to document or file inside a notebook. I usually receive paper copies of student IEP's and 504's from my school.  I prefer to store them in Evernote so that I can easily search for them without thumbing through stacks of papers.  I can either scan the paper using a traditional scanner, take a photo of it, or use a scanning app.  I also like to scan or photograph student work to who parents during conferences.

3. Web Clippings: Anytime I come across an article, blog or webpage I want to read again, I save it to Evernote. Sure, Read It Later and Instapaper are great for this, but I like to keep all my work information in one place, and Evernote fits the bill.

4. Save Emails from Outlook: Now whenever I receive an email from a parent or student, I can click “Add to Evernote” from my Outlook desktop client to export it.  If you have a notebook for a particular student, this is a great place to file it so that everything is in one place.  After I choose "Add to Evernote," a window will pop up, waiting for me to designate a notebook and add tags. If I’m using my iPad, I can just forward the email to my Evernote email address, and it’ll be filed under the notebook of my choosing. This leads me to my next tip.

5. Send Emails to Evernote: Each Evernote account has a unique email address, and sometimes I’ll come across a website that gives me the option of emailing a link or the page. This feature is especially handy to have on the iPad where there's no "Clip to Evernote" option.  Hint: on the iPad, if the page allows, tap "Reader" so that the entire page will be sent to your Evernote account.  Otherwise, only the link will be emailed to you.

6.  Students Submit Work Through Evernote:  Students can also send their work to your account by using your unique Evernote email address.  First, set up notebooks for each class you teach or name the notebook after an assignment.  Then, when they send their work, have them use the notebook name in their subject title with the "@" symbol.  This way, their work will go directly to that notebook.

For example, Joe Bruin from Period A needs to submit his Journal #1 to you.  He will fill out the email like this.

To:  Teacher's unique Evernote email address
Subject: Journal #1 Bruin Joe @ Period A

This way, all the assignments will be grouped together, and the students' work will be in alphabetical order, too.  The "@" symbol tells Evernote to file the note under your notebook named "Period A."

7. Take Pictures of Student Work: This is for when you need to bring examples of a student’s work to a parent conference. I used to photocopy student work just in case I ever have to justify a grade, and now I don’t have to make a trip to the copier or waste paper if I never end up using it.

8. Purchases: We all buy things for our classroom, whether at the store or online. This is a fabulous place to store those receipts or order confirmations. For web orders, I use my snipping tool to create a jpg of my confirmation page and load it to my Evernote.

9. How-To Guides/User Manuals/Product Information: This is a great place to store that type of information, especially if you need to know the model number of something because you have to replace a missing or broken part. I also take pictures of the product so that I can match it to the user manual.

10. Special Assembly Schedules: At my school, we have various assemblies throughout the year, and because the duration of the assemblies vary, we always have a new schedule each time an event occurs. I will take a picture of the schedule (or upload an emailed copy of the schedule) so that I never have to carry a sheet of paper around to see where I need to be and when. I also do the same when we have standardized testing in the spring. Every day is different when we are testing.

These are just a few ways in which I use Evernote for my professional life. I also use Evernote in my personal life: for shopping, vacation planning, home improvement projects, organizing kids activities…but that would be an entirely new post.

How do you use Evernote as an educator? Please share in the comments below.

The Importance of Technology Integration

Never before has teaching in the classroom become more challenging and yet exciting. In this Digital Age, teachers find themselves vying for their students' attention while competing against a plethora of technological devices. Because of this, teachers must learn to incorporate, rather than alienate, technology in their classroom.

I am constantly finding ways to help students become engaged learners both inside and outside the classroom. In my quest to become a better teacher, I find myself regularly browsing the web for new ideas and tools to achieve my goal. I hope you wil enjoy browsing my blog as you join me on this journey of discovery and inspiration.