For those of you who haven’t come across it, Evernote is a remember-everything app. It remembers, everything. When used to its full potential, it has the capacity to improve the productivity of our students. Here are 10 reasons I think it could help to do just that, with a particular focus on the role of Evernote in 1:1 iPad schemes.
1) Evernote makes you organised. I am the opposite of an organised person. However, a peek inside my Evernote account reveals a different story. All of my notes are tagged and saved into one of my notebooks and give more than an illusion of organisation. These notes contain typed notes, handwritten notes, pictures, webpages, audio files, documents, pdfs, powerpoints and much, much more. The same tagging system can be used to allow students to organise their notes for different subjects, modules and even lessons between their devices.
2) You can email to Evernote. Every Evernote account comes with its own unique email address, which allows you to instantly save into Evernote. One of the frustrating problems associated with a lot of iPad apps can be a lack of export options, but with this handy feature you will always be able to email your work to Evernote and you can even choose the notebook and tagging options in your email too.
3) The Evernote web clippers. This is how I first began using Evernote; as a way of storing information that I have come across that I may need again in the future. Evernote has web clippers for all of the major web browsers that allow you to clip a webpage so you can tag it and make its contents searchable. This makes Evernote ideal for collecting ideas and evidence for projects.
For the iPad, the process is a little more complicated. You can’t add an Evernote extension to the iPad’s Safari browser, but there are a couple of clever workarounds. One option is to copy the contents of a webpage, choose the ‘mail link to this page’ option and paste the contents into an email directly to your Evernote account (see the demo below). Alternatively, you can use the bookmarks function in Safari to set up your own Evernote web clipper for iPad. The two options offer fairly equal functionality and speed.
4) Evernote gives you access to your notes on multiple devices. The Evernote iPad app does some very impressive things, but doesn’t quite give you the full functionality of the desktop version. Of course, it doesn’t matter too much since Evernote automatically syncs your notes between all of your devices. This allows you to have your notes with you all of the time, meaning you can create notes and organise yourself on the move.
5) Using Evernote to share notebooks. Shared notebooks opens up yet more possibilities for the role of Evernote in education. It is another possible solution to the ‘How best to share documents with your students?’ question concerning iPads (along with Dropbox, email, blogs/sites and iTunesU). This impressive setup of a Science teacher in California shows what can be achieved through sharing notebooks with students, allowing them to access all of their course documents whenever they like.
6) Use Evernote to search your notes. Evernote is all about organisation and efficiency. The ability to search your notes provides a serious time-saver. In the past I could regularly be found scrolling through dozens of pages of my web browsers’ history in order to find a website containing something interesting that I forgot to favourite. Not any more. Evernote makes all of your notes searchable, including any clipped webpages, so if you know what you are looking for, Evernote will return all of your saved notes containing that term within seconds.
7) Use Evernote to search images. This particular feature adds a good element of wow factor to Evernote (see the video below). It has always surprised me just how effective the image search feature is, but having taken pictures of notes written in my own unique handwriting style Evernote still hasn’t had any issues searching my images for text. This option means students can take snapshots of their handwritten notes and save them to Evernote, allowing them to search all of their documents for keywords.
8) You can create Evernote notes automatically. Using the genius of If This Then That, you can choose certain triggers that send notes directly to Evernote. For example, you can set up RSS feeds that create a new note every time a new item appears in the feed, or you can set up a trigger that fires every time a new tweet matches a given search query.
9) You can make revision flashcards from your Evernote notes. Those lucky enough to own a smart cover for their iPad can enjoy the luxuries of Evernote Peek, a handy revision tool that converts your notes into study materials. For the rest of us, Evernote also integrates into the excellent flashcard creator StudyBlue, which allows you to access your notes for customising as flashcards.
10) It is free.