Endeavors with Evernote

24 Mar

The routine is always the same, kids come to class, pull out their notebooks, and prepare for the day.  Invariably, there are one or more students who give out the proverbial cry, “I left my notebook at home!” This is not a huge problem at my school, but students coming unprepared is a problem.  In this day and age of digital access as well as the growing need of student collaboration for success in the real world, I turned to Evernote.

This is your digital notepad.

I started using Evernote two years ago after reading about it online.  My theory, I carry my phone everywhere, why should I have to carry a notebook as well? After experimenting for a year or so I unleashed this program on my students to see how they would pick up on the software.  They were resistant at first, as well as hesitant as I was giving them permission to use their phones in class.  However, over time, they became quiet adept at using Evernote.

My first assignment was a research project.  Traditionally, I would have the students keep 3×5 note cards to track their sources in a research paper.  This time, I had students fill out their cards and use them for two sources, and then find three more using only Evernote.  At the end, I asked students to tell me which way was easier, most cited Evernote as being easier as they did a majority of their research online.  For those who may have searched in a book, I had them take a picture of their quote and put that in among their resources.  So, at the end of the project, along with their papers, I had 58 notebooks filled with data and research by each student that they would then email to me so I could check out the process they went through.

I did a lot of teaching and modeling on this one.  While kids are good with phones, they still need great teaching on note taking and research.  Also, the kids did appreciate the ability to search their notes and share them, it made their lives and their work much easier.  I also added another assignment, at the end, where the kids partnered up, and using the notebooks they created in Evernote they had to teach someone else what they learned.  I even put a couple of notebooks up via the LCD projector and asked kids the process they went through to create them.

Now, my students have pages of notes all on their phone or home computer.  The versatility of Evernote makes it great for class lessons.  For example, normally I would teach my students how to recognize points of emphasis just by how I change my voice.  Now, I give my students the option to record what I am saying at important points.  They can write it out later and add it to their notebooks.  I am very excited to see how this process grows from here.

How do you use Evernote?

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