Common Sense Review
Updated June 2013

Evernote

Handy storage locker for anything and everything you might create
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Common Sense Rating 4
  • The Evernote Web interface is well-designed to show you lots of your saved information.
  • The WYSIWYG note editor is simple and has most of the formatting tools you’ll need.
  • The Evernote Web Clipper is a handy browser extension that makes snipping websites into your notes a breeze.
  • Images are displayed right in the note interface and are also searchable.
  • Caption 5 Evernote’s search filters make finding what you’re looking for in your notes easy to do.
Pros
This fabulous digital notebook lives in the cloud and plays nicely with many other Web services.
Cons
Evernote is still just a notebook -- it's only as valuable as the information you put into it.
Bottom Line
Evernote is a safe, secure, and always-accessible place for students and teachers to store their digital notes and files.
Graphite Staff
Common Sense Reviewer
Common Sense Rating 4
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 3

As a platform, the engagement factor of Evernote would depend on what you’re putting into it. That said, the Web interface provides quick access to multiple views of your information -- making quick work of finding your stuff.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer? 4

Kids can develop important tech skills that will be valuable in future school and workplace settings. If they use the tool with guidance, kids can improve research and organization skills.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students? 4

Sure, there’s help, but there aren't right or wrong answers in the tool. Development and extension community are large.

About our ratings and privacy evaluation.
How Can Teachers Use It?

Anyone with an email address can create a free Evernote account, giving them access to the website and their own private collection of notes. Simply navigate to the Evernote website to create new notes or edit existing ones. The site’s WYSIWYG editor plays nicely with most Web browsers, and there's a mobile version for your phone or tablet.

The account also comes with a private email that users can use to send data to their accounts. Uploaded images and files are synced to Evernote's servers and processed after a short delay, then they're indexed for searching. (You’ll want to take a picture of a sign or handwritten note, give Evernote a minute to think, then run a search -- their OCR (optical character recognition) algorithms are quite something. Sharing to Twitter, Facebook, or via email is one click away from each note.

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What's It Like?

Evernote is a cloud-based platform for storing, saving, and sharing digital notes and files created across a wide range of devices and applications.  The core of the service is available from the Web portal at Evernote.com -- the ability to create a note and have it almost instantly available in any number of apps and platforms wherever you happen to be. The service syncs regularly, so whenever you’re online, so, too, are the latest updates of your notes.

Notes can contain text, photos, or files. Free members can store up to 50 MB of content per note, with an unlimited number of notes. Notes can be organized into notebooks and/or tagged across contexts for easy retrieval. Most users, though, won’t need to tag or organize -- Evernote’s search feature, with the ability to search the handwritten or typed text in photographed notes, is quite good.

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Is It Good For Learning?

Teachers and students can use Evernote as a storage locker for anything small (50 MB or smaller) that they would want to open on any of their other computers or devices, and Premium members (for a rate of $5/month or $45/year) gain the ability to co-edit notes with others and share notebooks with editing privileges.

The bottom line with Evernote is that it's a one-stop storage location for anything and everything that a student or teacher might create. While students and teachers can use Evernote together, the real value in the service is as a personal organizer and collection of resources -- a teacher cannot review the entirety of a student's notes without the student's permission.

And with a growing number of accessory apps and the number of sites that work with Evernote, odds are good that there'll always be a new skill or attribute that Evernote can pick up. That said, the Evernote habit takes some getting used to, and many students will need a little practice with the site before understanding why they would want to use it. But once they grasp the experience, they'll likely be back again and again.

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