Evernote is a wonderful program which I use every day. At a simple level, it lets you store notes about anything that you choose. These are all synced so that you can access them using the PC / Mac / iPhone / iPad / Android / Blackberry (and other) versions of the software, as well as via the Evernote website itself. Having the notes available everywhere is a fantastic feature and it means that you should always have access to whatever you have stored within Evernote.
Evernote has a wide range of potential uses for teachers, so I thought that I would share some of the ways that I use it as part of my own work, both in and outside of the classroom:
2) Reducing paper mountains! - I must admit that I’m not great at keeping track of paper… and as a teacher, there is often a lot of paper to deal with. So, I use a Scansnap scanner to quickly scan any important pieces of paper. These are important automatically into Evernote where I can save them for the future and organise them into notebooks, using tags to help me find them again later.
3) Making notes in meetings – During staff meetings, I use Evernote to keep notes on my iPhone or iPad. If I use a piece of paper to make notes, I will often lose it, so storing the information digitally in Evernote means that it can’t get lost! It’s also great because the notes are synced between all of my devices so that I can access them in a range of places whenever I need to.
4) Capturing images – Sometimes at school, there might be a note on our staffroom board which I need to remember or I might be given a post-it note with something that I need to keep track of. Rather than relying on my memory (which appears to get getting steadily worse!), I often take a photo of the note using the Evernote iPhone app. Again, this saves the note across all of my devices, reducing the potential for me to forget about it!
5) Storing documents – You can also add documents to Evernote notes as attachments, so it is possible to use this to sync and store your files in a range of places. However, I am a Dropbox user, so I don’t use Evernote for document storage a great deal.
6) Storing PDFs – Although I don’t use Evernote to store documents much, I do use it to store PDFs so that I can read them on my iPhone / iPad whenever I have the spare time to do so. When Evernote syncs PDFs (and images), it also scans the text, making it easier to search for things later.
7) Bookmarks – I used to use Delicious for storing bookmarks, but Simon Haughton suggested using Evernote instead. By using the Evernote web clipper, you can copy the title, web address and content of web pages into Evernote, so that they are accessible anywhere. By storing the content in Evernote, you also have a permanent record of the web page in case it ever goes offline. I now have over 2,000 bookmarks in Evernote which I can search through quickly using the search box or by using tags.
8) Keeping track of achievements – I strongly believe that everyone should keep a record of their achievements. As a teacher this might include nice comments and notes from pupils / parents, evidence from lesson observations and much more. In Evernote, I have a notebook which I use to store notes of this kind. Not only is it nice to look through every now and again, it’s great to have information like this available for performance management and professional development reasons.
9) Twitter Favourites - Whenever I ‘Favourite’ a tweet on Twitter, the ifttt service automatically copies these into an Evernote notebook for me. Although Twitter keeps a record of favourites on their site, I find their system really unmanageable and difficult to search through later. Keeping them in Evernote makes it much easier to find them in the future.
10) Gift Ideas – Whenever I think of a possible gift for a colleague / friend / family member (or whenever they mention that they might like something), I add it to my ‘Gift Ideas’ notebook so that I have an instant collection of shopping ideas at Christmas / birthday times!
Privacy Issues – I must mention that anything you add to Evernote gets synced online to their servers (so that it can then be synced back to any other devices that you use). Therefore, it’s important to think carefully before adding certain kinds of information to Evernote (i.e. pupil data and other private school documents) – although it is possible to set up ‘Local Notebooks’ which are not synced and only stay on the machine that you are using at the time.
Evernote is a brilliant free piece of software. It’s my ‘second brain’ and I have signed up for the Premium service (which offers greater upload limits and other features) as I use it so much. Do you have any other great ideas for using Evernote?