Using Evernote for Professional Learning and Development

Being a passionate and inquisitive teacher in a digital, globally connected environment opens up so many opportunities for professional development. Like many teachers, I thrive on extending my knowledge in multiple areas, I want to know everything I can in order to make me better at my job and life in general. I am constantly seeking ways to inspire and better myself, other teachers at my school or in my wider PLN and importantly, students I engage with and teach. In an age of ‘infowhelm’ it can be hard to manage, truly engage in and learn from so much information.

That is unless you have the right tools.

I have said many times that I truly believe that using Evernote makes me a better teacher. Sometimes I receive funny looks, rolled eyes and “here she goes again” comments, especially when many don’t understand how powerful Evernote can be to manage all of this information. Other times, there are people who also thrive on learning and education in the same way as I do and want to know all they can about how and why Evernote is so amazing. For me, Evernote is more than just a file storage tool, it is exactly as Evernote describes it, my ‘external brain’ the place where I ‘remember everything’, store any of my thoughts, ideas or wonderings, a place where I can save information in a variety of formats from anywhere and have access to it in a matter of seconds on multiple devices. Wherever, whenever, however, I want.

Easily save webpages as a reference for future use. Screencap: The Best At Home Laser Hair Removal: In-Depth Review & Guide from

Last year at the Evernote Conference in San Francisco, Evernote’s CEO Phil Libin spoke about ‘knowledge workers’, describing them as people who think for a living. These types of workers are driving economies, driving technology, making decisions, solving problems and driving innovation. Knowledge workers are people who, in their daily lives and work environments make decisions, communicate and collaborate with others and understand and meet the needs of their customers. Any modern, digitally connected, passionate teacher I know would have resonated with those comments. Our customers, however are our students. In order for me or any other teacher to meet the needs of our students, to prepare them for such a socially connected digital world and prepare them for jobs that don’t even exist yet- we need to take advantage of as much learning as possible. Read more & Evernote

I love school holidays. I love the time I get to spend with my younger brother, he is only eight and a whirlwind of entertainment. In January this year, I set him up an Evernote account so we could share things- photos, little notes in the times that I don’t see him, they live in a different state. He has an iPad and uses it at home but his school hasn’t really embraced the world of technology as yet so I worry that he is not developing the necessary skills to participate fully in an ever-evolving digital world. I also wanted him to see that his iPad is a device that can be used for so much more than just games and consumption. I wanted to open his eyes to how technology can be used to create and collaborate. I suppose I want to instill in him the same philosophy and vision I have for the use of technology by students and teachers at my school.

I started by setting him up an Evernote account connected to my Gmail address so I could monitor it and created a shared notebook. I created this from my Business account so we could both edit and modify the notebook, Declan just has a free Evernote account. The notebook, simply titled ‘Declan & Bec’ now holds some photos of recent holidays and some interesting little treasures I find in there occasionally.

He also started a wish list of toys and games he wanted using the checkbox feature which he discovered himself. Evernote is so intuitive, I love that this feature was simple enough for him to find and use with a purpose. I taught him how to share the notebook, which he then shared with myself and my mum- in a hope that he could soon be checking off those items. Smart boy. Read more

Organising my Studies with Evernote

I have long blogged about using Evernote for teaching and how I use it in the classroom and with my students but this time I thought I would share about how I am using Evernote as part of my studies. I am currently studying two subjects for my Masters of Education (Information Technologies) and after this semester will only have two subjects to go (insert happy dance here). I am so incredibly busy, between work, extra curricular commitments, travel and a serious family illness, I still had to keep up to date with my studies. It has been full on but thanks to Evernote I have felt calm and organised.

A few weeks ago I set up my studies notebook in a particular way as I knew I would need to not just have my stuff saved in Evernote but organised so when the time came, I could sit down to my work and think clearly about the task at hand.

I have one notebook for both subjects-

Within that notebook I have saved all of my assignment details and due dates, subject readings and study materials. However if this was all just in the notebook I would have to search through it to find what I want- at this stage tagging would probably come in handy for some people…but I am not good at tagging- rarely (if ever) remembering to do so. Instead I use the reminders feature to pin certain notes to the top of my view. Read more

Welcoming the New School Year- Evernote Style #2

This is an update of a post that I wrote at the beginning of 2013, but in just one year there have been many updates that have changed the way I do a few things in Evernote.

Here are my top tips for preparing for your new school year with Evernote-

1. Set up a Notebook for each of your students. I like to do this because as the year goes by you will collect evidence of student learning and it is kept all in the one spot, easily accessible and extremely handy when writing mid year and end of year student reports. It is also handy when you have parent-teacher interviews. View my Evernote Infographic for a visual.

2. Stay organised with checklists. Evernote has a nifty check box feature that I use for to do lists, keeping track of student homework, home reading and curriculum outcomes.

3. Go Paperless with Reading Assessment. If you have an iPad, why not start taking running records using using Skitch which is now a one app process- no need to leave Evernote to annotate an image. Don’t forget to record the audio of your students reading for an even more powerful assessment tool. Read more

2014 Calendar Templates for Evernote

I love having a simple calendar in Evernote to use when planning different things. In the past, I have used calendar templates in Evernote as part of my planning for trips and holidays, creating itineraries, booking student meetings and conferences, keeping track of and documenting student behaviour issues and general calendar items.

I love that with Evernote I can use my calendar templates combined with the Evernote Reminders feature. I can also add note links within my calendar note which link to related notes of things that I need to do or are important. I know many people use third party calendar apps that may integrate with Evernote but I hate having so many accounts and apps. I already have too many, so I try and find ways of making Evernote work for me without using third party apps.

To create my calendar templates, I download free Word versions from the web or use the Word calendar template creator.

Here is a simple example of a month view calendar in Evernote.

Feel free to use and copy any of the 2014 calendar templates– Read more

Collecting Assessment Data with Evernote

Last year I wrote a post about how Evernote has dramatically improved how I report on student progress. As report writing time has now crept up again for Australian schools, I thought it was the perfect time to write about my developments in this process.

At the beginning of the school year, from the very first day, I have been collecting an array of student work quickly, efficiently and productively all within my Evernote account. The types of things I have collected about my students include-

  • Samples of writing
  • Audio recordings of reading
  • Videos of student explanations and answers to maths problems
  • Student reflections (written and recorded)
  • Anecdotal notes
  • Reading group notes and assessments
  • Photos of students working, managing their learning and demonstrating teamwork
  • Learning goals and achievements
  • Copies of pre and posts tests and assessment tasks
  • Records of home reading and homework habits

As a result, when I pulled out my iPad to begin writing reports last weekend, I was again, pleasantly surprised to feel so at ease and confident in writing quality reports for my students in a fraction of the time it would have taken me two years ago (before Evernote). I didn’t have to carry tub loads of books and assessments home because I had all the data I needed at the tip of my fingers, ready to go! I love that there is no need for comment banks as all student assessment data is personal and individualised, just the way student reports should be. Read more

Evernote Clearly and Web Clipper

When planning lessons and thinking about topics I am going to teach, I always ensure I research to see what other teachers have done, to get new ideas or to clarify my thoughts and understandings. I’m also a Masters student so am constantly reading articles on the web and am now in the habit of ‘clipping’ these articles or things I may want to refer back to at a later date, into Evernote. I have never been a good ‘bookmarker’, I tried social bookmarking, it was a fad for a while but I gave up. I also have saved bookmarks to my local devices but the inability to access these across platforms annoys me quite a bit. I love the way I can save different websites and articles I find right into my Evernote account.

The Evernote Web Clipper allows you to save anything you see on the web quickly and easily straight into your Evernote account. You can clip a full page, single article or just the URL and save it to a designated Notebook and add tags. Your web clips then become searchable within your Evernote account. Doing this allows me to have all of my information at the tip of my fingers, right when I need it and across my multiple devices. Read more

Student Conferences with Evernote and KustomNote

Evernote has transformed the way I keep notes on students in my class. I type notes, record audio, and video and take photos of their work samples. All this information is then stored in individual student notebooks within Evernote.

I first began using Evernote for individual reading conferences and since then just about all of my organizational data and student anecdotal notes are taken using Evernote. I love that it allows me to keep everything in one place, it keeps me organized and able to track students and information easily with the tap of a button.

Although Evernote has become a necessity for me in my classroom, I have never been one hundred percent happy with the formatting tools. I am a very visual person so not only do I want my information accessible I want it to look good too. Read more

10 of My Favourite Educational Apps

I know everybody has their favourites but I thought it was my time to share the iPad apps that I can’t live without! I have had my iPad since September 2011 and found that as each day at school went by I was using it more and more. Regular readers of my blog would already be aware of my affection for Evernote and Good Reader and how I use these apps to eliminate paper in my reading assessments with students. These are just two of my favourites so I thought it was time to share a few more!

Read more