We’re big fans of IdeaPaint, a special kind of paint that can turn anything into a dry-erase writing surface (you can read more about it here). When you combine IdeaPaint’s ability turn any wall or surface into a canvas and Evernote’s ability to capture, archive and make that surface searchable, the possibilities for turning any room into an interactive environment are endless. These two products come together in a particularly exciting way in a classroom environment, which can become a more creative and engaging place to learn.
When geography teacher Mike Curta reached out to us about his plans to transform his Eisenhower High School classroom using IdeaPaint and Evernote, we knew we wanted to learn more. Throughout the school year, Mike kept us updated with his progress by sending photos and email updates about the learning environment he created and the positive results he was observing. By the end of the year, we knew we had to see it for ourselves, so we headed to Blue Island, Illinois to chat with Mike in person and get a better sense of how students were thriving in this new type of classroom.
A Geography Lesson for interactive learners
From the moment we walked into the classroom, we could tell that Mike was doing things differently. Instead of sitting at desks, students in Mike’s class occupy tables which are arranged to form a complete circle, aimed at encouraging collaboration. Everything about his classroom fosters interaction; entire walls are covered in IdeaPaint, and so are the tops of the tables the students sit at, effectively turning every possible flat surface into a potential canvas. The day we stopped by, the students were learning about population density in Japan.
“If we have any ideas, anything about the topic, we just put it on the table” – Eisenhower High School Student
Mike encouraged his students to get out of their seats and share their work on the large IdeaPaint walls. As we quietly observed, students with erasable pens in hand sketched maps, wrote down ideas and answered questions. At certain points, he instructed students to participate in group activities, such as filling in the terrain of a map or jotting down characteristics of different living situations. One by one, students would make their way to the board to contribute their thoughts, passing pens among classmates and even working in teams.
Evernote + IdeaPaint = Amazing
Writing on dry-erase walls might seem like a great idea, but how do these ideas get saved? Enter the streamlined Evernote integration. Mike’s students make use of a variety of technology tools including a class set of netbooks and their own devices. Students are encouraged to bring in their smartphones and iPods (preloaded with Evernote) to class.
By using Evernote on a mobile device or laptop, they can snap photos of their writing and drawings and sync all of this content to their Evernote accounts. Once in Evernote, this information can be accessed at home, in the library, or wherever a student might need to access it later. If IdeaPaint serves as the physical canvas for lessons, Evernote is the digital one — giving each student a personal place to keep all their notes, files, lessons and more. The use of Evernote is so seamlessly integrated into Eisenhower High students’ learning process, it’s hard to imagine Mike’s classroom functioning without it.
“IdeaPaint and Evernote has made me a better teacher and it’s made our students lifelong learners who are going to continue to be more and more creative as they grow” – Mike Curta, Eisenhower High School
Win an IdeaPaint and Evernote Classroom Makeover
Put IdeaPaint and Evernote to work in your classroom by entering our contest. One lucky winner will be selected at random, and will receive:
- Evernote Premium Codes for a classroom of students for one year (up to 250 students)
- Exclusive webinar with an Evernote Education Specialist
- 300 sq ft of IdeaPaint CLEAR or WHITE
- 4 dozen IdeaPaint WRITE dry erase markers
- 6 IdeaPaint ERASE microfiber cloths
- IdeaPaint CLEANER and gallon refill
This contest is only open to readers in the U.S. and Canada.
Evernote for Schools
Learn more about using Evernote in an education context by visiting our microsite for schools. You’ll find an array of resources including videos, case studies, guides, a discussion forum, upcoming webinars and more. Don’t forget to follow @evernoteschools on Twitter for the latest updates.