One of the most amazing things about attending a conference like ISTE is the power of serendipity. Some of the best sessions are the ones you don't plan for, they just happen. This morning, thanks to a tip by @AvitalAharon at last night's @AVICHAIFDN dinner, I went to special session on Evernote. Even though, I already personally use Evernote, what you can do with students blew my mind. This is definitely the go-to app for any iPad deployment. Below are some of my notes from the session.
The driving force behind Evernote is that it will help you remember everything. A basic goal of education is to increase knowledge over time. This can be illustrated by a simple upward graph where as we advance in our educational years, our knowledge increases. However, in our experience with students, usually there are jagged edges in this graph; gaps where knowledge is lost over time like the end of the school year or summer break when not only do students forget but they often lose their notes so do not have the ability to reconstruct what they learned. I have experienced this in my own life many times, where notebooks, even those that I save, wind up filed away in storage without easy access and even notes taken n computer can sometimes be lost when a computer crashes or is upgraded to a new model. With Evernote all of these notes are synchronized across over all devices so they are saved FOREVER.
Students will have a lifetime career in education and usually we only focus on one fixed point with the student, the grade they are in. The student with Evernote can always use whatever they love and have access to everything. Evernote can be the bridge to tie a lot of technologies together during the lifetime of the student. In a BYOD program students can use Evernote with whatever they have, phones, laptops, iPod Touch. They start to see technology as a tool, not a toy to create, collect, and collaborate.
In one app you can create, collect, and collaborate. You don't need you to train teachers and students on multiple apps to accomplish these 3 goals. Evernote is a box to put everything in. It's a digital binder and more. You can keep everything you've learned throughout the year. At the end of school, students used to throw their binders away. With Evernote this binder is saved forever.
Anything can become a note in Evernote, a text note, to-do list, snapshot note, and voice note. It's as simple as possible for you to get stuff into Evernote. Every few minutes, notes are synchronized. The Mac version is the most full featured version of Evernote. In a school setting, you are not restricted to just typing notes. You can use voice note. This can be great for students if they lose their train of thought and can't keep up with the teacher. Instead of desperately trying to transcribe what the teacher is saying without understanding, they can turn on the record button and just focus on listening to the teacher, knowing they can listen again and write the notes later.
You can drag and drop PDFs into Evernote. Use an app called Clearly to remove all ads from the website first and then drag to Evernote. You can organize stuff in a Notebook and then you can out all of your Notebooks inside a stack for further filing. You can now collaborate by sharing individual notes or a whole notebook with others. Everything in Evernote is private by default. You have to decide to share.
There are also apps to automatize things in Evernote like to send starred Gmail messages to Evernote or starred Google Reader posts. You can also use the note links in Evernote to create a table of contents in a new note. Since each note has its own unique link, you merely create a new note with a list of hyperlinks to each of the other notes and you have a Table of Contents.
Evernote Hello! is an app to remember everyone you meet. You can email into Evernote by forwarding to your personal Evernote email address in settings. You can choose tags by putting # then tag at end of subject line. You get a note in your Evernote with the title and Notebook based on the email.
Evernote has image recognition so it will recognize handwriting and text from notes for a keyword search. Can snap photo into every whiteboard into Evernote and automatically put into Notebook shared with students. When you do a keyword search then it will look up everything including pictures notes which it recognizes as containing these words.
Evernote partners with a number of apps. These include:
Peek (for fash cards)
Evernote is great tool for portfolios. For example, can photograph science projects together with papers on it so it can be in the student portfolio. Can set up scanner which will go directly into the Evernote accounts of students using the Evernote email in settings.
In her blog post, Our Second Graders are Piloting Evernote at Van Meter Shannon Miller describes how her students used Evernote in second grade. Her kids made a "My Community" project where kids took pictures around the school with their iPads and put it into their Evernote account. They took all the pictures and made it into a flippable ebook using Flipmaps. Here is a video by a 2nd Grader explaining Evernote.
The Nerdy Teacher is a high school English teacher who had a class so students with iPads. He wanted to use free apps and needed something for kids to take notes and share ideas. In No Tablets, No Problem Thanks to Evernote he describes how he used Evernote to solve this. He points out that kids catch onto Evernote quickly. They explore it and then they run with it. Evernote allows high school kids to keep all their information. Many of them are so disorganized and with Evernote kids can organize and tag so easily. Tagging notes comes naturally to them since they tag pictures on Facebook all the time. They can then search a notebook. A kid who wants a teacher to slow down but is embarrassed can hit the mic button and start recording the lecture. Kids can use Evernote on their phone too in case they don't have an iPad or laptop. Kids can study their notes from anywhere with phone or no wifi on a bus on the way to a sports game or during downtime at a practice or after school activity. They are not tied down by textbooks or notebooks. Everything kids need is there in Evernote. You can edit a comment on a note or record commentary or corrections in an assignment using Evernote. You can also so much paper using Evernote. Teachers can even use a shared Evernote document to record audio feedback and commentary on a student's written work. This can be a very valuable educational tool.
I would recommend Evernote as a key app for any 1/1 iPad deployment. It's not about using information anymore, it's about curating information. We are overwhelmed with information, Evernote helps us organize it.