How I Use It
I use Evernote in a variety of ways with my students. From a reminder calendar, to creating a shared notebook for teacher notes, to digital portfolios for reports, Evernote is a go-to essential tool for my special education classroom. First, I create a class notebook for each of the periods that I co-teach a subject with another teacher. For example, algebra has its own notebook. I give out the shared link to this notebook to students so that they can join the notebook on their Evernote account and have easy access to it. I also link to the notebook on my website for parents and teachers to access it. Once every student can access the notebook, I put my own class notes from algebra into that Evernote notebook and students can use them to supplement their own notes, review, or get notes if they miss class. When upcoming assignments are due, or tests are scheduled, I create a note in this notebook with a brief description of the upcoming event and put a reminder on the note for the day before. Then, anyone who has joined the notebook will get a notification for that note reminding them when it is due. It is great for test day scheduling. In the note, I can attach the review/study guide for the test and put a reminder on the note for 1-2 days before the test date. Then, students get a notification of the test with a link to the review guide all at once. Students and teachers using Evernote can create individual notes, entire notebooks, or sets of notebooks (called stacks) that contain text, audio, photo, URL, or attachments in your notes. You can tag your notes, creating categories, or geotag your notes for search by location. The search functionality of Evernote lets you quickly find a note containing a certain word or phrase. If you integrate a hand-writing app like I do, such as Penultimate for iPad, into your Evernote toolbox, it can even search your handwritten notes. These notes are editable and shareable. This means that notes can be modified later or updated at any time. With the variety of content possible, your notes become dynamic. It is great for showing students solutions to homework problems, giving them notes when they are absent, and helping them enhance their own note-taking experience. The final use I have seen work really well for my students with Evernote is to use it as a digital portfolio for a project report, especially for science class lab reports. Students create a new Evernote notebook and share it with their teacher. In the notebook, they make a separate note for each part of the report. For example, in science class, they would have a note for each component of the lab report: Background, Purpose, Materials, Procedure, Results, Discussion, and Conclusion. They can add text, images, and audio recordings to enhance the content of their reports and share all of this with the teacher paperlessly.
Since Evernote works across all computer and mobile platforms, in addition to having its own web app, I think it is an easily-accessible free tool to use no matter what technology you have available. Next, I consider their companion apps, like Skitch and Penultimate, which integrate perfectly with your Evernote account to give you expansive capability, and you’ve got a suite of powerful apps at your disposal. Whether you are in a computer lab, a BYOD classroom, or a 1:1 tablet environment, your classroom can get a lot of mileage out of Evernote. It gives students the option of adding a variety of different types of content to a note, including audio recordings, which is great for students who are slow note takers to record lectures, and images (for pictures of the board when there isn't enough time to write down what the teacher is saying and focus on the learning. The reminders feature is an awesome safety net for students, especially ones who are still building their capacity for organizational thinking. It could serve students better if it had a text-to-speech read aloud feature or a speech-to-text dictation feature. Currently, they have to tap into the capabilities of their mobile device to leverage features like this for what they do in Evernote.