Five Ways to use Evernote in Your Classroom

Evernote is an App that is making its way into classrooms across content areas.  I discovered Evernote when I needed a way to sort my notes on my iPhone notepad because I couldn’t ever find anything I needed when I needed it. 

A simple search for the word “recipes” would pull up 20+ notes, and then I’d have to spend quite a while skimming back through them to find the exact one I was looking for.  Then—enter Evernote into my life!  Evernote is like having a little handy notebook in your pocket—on any device you happen to use whether it’s an iPhone, iPad, Android, or laptop.  And what’s better is that it’s FREE up to a certain storage amount.  I was SOLD! 

Evernote isn’t just a notepad.  It allows you to sort your notes into notebooks, essentially filing them so that they are easier to find later on. 

My notebooks in Evernote

My notebooks in Evernote

“Note” only that (pun intended), but Evernote allows you to assign TAGS to each note that will make it easier to locate in a search.  This feature alone has saved me a ton of time.  You can also add a shortcut to a particular note or notebook that you need to have readily available.  And this is what separates Evernote from Dropbox or Google Docs.  Both of those programs are excellent tools for storing large documents and for collaborating, but if there’s a note that I would have typically jotted down on a sticky note in pre-iPhone times, then I don’t want to use Dropbox or Google Docs for that—I want EVERNOTE!  Evernote also allows you to clip items from the Internet including photos to put into your virtual notebooks, which you cannot so easily do with other Apps or programs.  So, for all of these reasons, I am now an avid Evernote fan!

Here is a note page in one of my notebooks.  It contains some research that I was doing to develop a character.  Notice, too, that if you are using Evernote on an iPad, you can also add hand-written notes as well.

Here is a note page in one of my notebooks.  It contains some research that I was doing to develop a character.  Notice, too, that if you are using Evernote on an iPad, you can also add hand-written notes as well.

Recently, Evernote has been popping up in classrooms across the nation as a free tool to aid students and teachers.  I’m excited about the possibilities that Evernote might bring to my English classes, and I love that it’s EASY TO USE!  I am NOT tech savvy AT ALL, and if I can’t figure out how to use a program within 30 minutes, I move on to the next one.  But Evernote is easy, and your students will be able to figure it out quickly. 

Here are FIVE WAYS to use Evernote in your classroom:

1.    Writer’s Notebook or Interactive Notebook

I’ve written about Evernote and the Writer’s Notebook before.  If you’d like to check out that blog, you can find it HERE.  For any class that is using a notebook or interactive notebook of some kind, consider having your students keep notes with Evernote—especially if you want your students to add to their notes outside of school.  While students may not always carry a physical notebook around with them, they tend to always have a phone available, and Evernote makes it possible to jot down a quick note anytime, any place.

2.    E-portfolios

There are lots of options for e-portfolios, but consider using Evernote as another option with a simple interface.  Students can create a “notebook” for their portfolio and upload all different kinds of documents, pictures, and audio into the pages of their notebooks and then share them to the Internet.  If it’s a group portfolio, they can also collaborate and share back-and-forth using Evernote.    

3.    Handouts

Evernote is an excellent place to post handouts for your classes so that they can access them.  This will help you cut down on photocopies, and absent students can easily access what they need while they were gone.  You can create a notebook for each class that you teach, or you can try sorting your notebooks by topic, subject, or theme—or even by marking period.  The sky is the limit on organization!!  Goodbye PHOTOCOPIES!!  Create a notebook and share it to the Internet for your students.  Then, all you need to do is give your students the URL for the notebook, and they can access it anytime.

4.    Classroom Notes

Do you tend to write a lot of notes on the board?  Then, take a picture with your phone before you erase the board and post the pic into an Evernote notebook for your students.  This way, you don’t have to spend time retyping or explaining what you discussed in class.  Students can access the information they need at anytime.  This is also another excellent use of Evernote for absent students. 

5.    The Research Process

Have your students organize their research using Evernote.  They can create a notebook for each source they visit, or perhaps they can organize by research topic.  It’s beneficial to have your research “write” at your fingertips all day long so that whenever you have an idea or come across a new article, photo, video, etc. that you want to consider in your research project, you can clip it and add it to your research notes instantaneously.  I know that I tend to forget ideas when I’m on the go, so this prevents me from being able to forget about a new idea or new source that I’ve found.  I also like that students can share their notebooks with the teacher at any point in the research process so that the teacher can assess progress along the way.  It’s a WIN-WIN!

There are LOTS of other ways to use Evernote in the classroom.  If you have any other tips, please leave them in the comments.  I’d love to hear from YOU!!  Or, if there’s another MUST-HAVE note-taking App that we should know about, please let us know!