Tips & Stories

How my students started using Evernote – Education Series

Posted by Buffy Hamilton on 05 Jan 2011

Posted by Buffy Hamilton on 05 Jan 2011

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Buffy Hamilton is a teacher and librarian at Creekview High School in Canton, Georgia. Buffy is one of Tech and Learning’s 30 EdTech Leaders of the Future, Georgia School Library Media Specialist of the Year 2010, and one of the National School Boards Association’s “20 to Watch” educators for 2010; her media program at Creekview High School was also named one of two exemplary high school programs for the state of Georgia in 2010.

Name: Buffy Hamilton
Profession: Librarian and Media Specialist
Blog: The Unquiet Librarian
Twitter: @Buffyjhamilton

In the spring of 2010, I decided to introduce Evernote as a research tool to a group of 10th grade Literature/Composition students at my school. I chose Evernote because these students (part of a learning and technology integration program), were preparing to start a research project using multiple sources of information, including database articles, web-based news stories, videos, photos, and interviews. For their research, students were not only using a wide range of information sources, but they were also creating multigenre learning artifacts, such as VoiceThreads, artwork, videos, poetry, and other representations of their key learnings.

Why I chose Evernote

I felt Evernote would be a perfect solution for the students’ need to archive and organize traditional and non-traditional sources of information. In addition to the more common features, Evernote offered some specific ones that made it the perfect tool for what we would be using it for. These included:

  • Handwritten notes – Students could take handwritten notes if they preferred and still add them to their research by scanning or taking a snapshot.
  • Flexibility – Students could use Evernote on their smartphones with apps available for iPhone, iPod Touch, and Android, as well as at home using any computer they had access to.
  • Sharing – Students could make their notebooks public and import the RSS feed into Google Reader, iGoogle, or Netvibes.
  • Email – The unique email address every user gets is very useful for adding things to your account from different places.

Class, meet Evernote

I introduced Evernote to the students by giving them a peek into how I was already using it personally. I showed them how I was capturing, organizing, and maintaining notes on materials I was researching to buy for our library using the web clipper and the iPhone app. The students were really responsive to this approach.

Next, I had each student sign up for a free account. Once everyone had registered, I went over some basics of the program with them, being sure to cover the fundamentals:

  • Web clipping – At school, students only had access to Internet Explorer, but most used Firefox and Chrome at home so I was sure to demonstrate how to use all the different clipping options for each browser.
  • Create new text notes – I went over how to create and edit text notes in the application.
  • Use tags – I showed the students how tags work in Evernote and suggested some ways they could use tags effectively to keep all their notes in perfect order.
  • How to modify note source/URL attributes – This features was relevant to my students who needed to insert the source URLs for database resources.
  • How to work with notebooks – I went over how to create new notebooks, select default notebooks, as well as add content to notebooks
  • Sharing and collaboration – I showed the students how to share notebooks publicly as well as how to capture the RSS feed of notebooks shared publicly.
  • The power of sync – I introduced the concept of synchronization and explained how Evernote would automatically sync, giving them access to their notes no matter where they were or what device they were using.

What the students thought of Evernote

The response was very positive. I was pleased and pleasantly surprised by how quickly they picked up the program. They really liked the mobile apps and the flexibility of using either the desktop client or a web based version. Students repeatedly cited “ease of use” as their favorite reason for using Evernote.

“Evernote is really simple and easy to use. I am so glad Mrs. Hamilton gave us the opportunity to use this tool. I am really excited to keep clipping and working with Evernote!” -Lindy

“I found that Evernote was easy to navigate and kept all my information together. I like Evernote the best out of all the tools we have used.” – Jennifer

Evernote in the future

A year later, it has been exciting to see these students continue to use Evernote as a research tool into the 2011 academic year. To my delight, I  noticed several of my former students opening and using their Evernote accounts with no prompting, because they wanted to not because it was a course requirement.

What happened next was truly amazing; I saw some students taking the initiative and showing their classmates how to use Evernote. It was impressive to see Evernote quickly spreading around the school through enthusiastic students. I hope that the work I’m doing with teachers this academic year will help plant more seeds for learning experiences like this for more students in 2011 and beyond!

Resources for students and educators

I’m really happy to continue sharing this great tool with my students in the future. I created a research guide, as well as an introduction to help other educators get started using Evernote in their classrooms.

Evernote Education Series

Join the discussion about Evernote for Schools on our forum. Learn from educators and share your own experiences, best practices and tips.

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20 Comments RSS

  • David Levine

    It’s good to see technology being promoted in the classroom.

  • jim little

    Now if you would just publish your lecture notes…

  • elisabeth

    Inspired by Buffy, I taught Evernote as an organization tool for the 115 students in our senior class. They are doing a year-long service learning project and Evernote is helping them keep track of their research AND their experiences doing service. (I use Evernote mainly to keep me organized during my house remodel – I love it!!)
    As always, Thanks Buffy!

  • Talia

    I am an 11th grade student, and I am actually working on a research paper right now. I learned about Evernote right before I started collecting my sources–and thank goodness!

    It’s extremely useful, especially for clipping web pages. I tag everything as the endnote letter (and later #) that it’s assigned to, as well as the author’s last name and so on.

    I can access it from my computer, as well as the internet at school, which is amazingly helpful!

    Thank you Evernote ^__^

  • Kal

    This is awesome! I think it’s so cool when teachers instruct students on techniques and approaches that supplement the schoolwork itself. It’s a far cry from the days when my teachers urged us to index cards!

    P.S. — The young lady in the video is very impressive — I’ll bet students like her are a joy to teach!

  • Horoscopo

    I taught Evernote too, Evernote is really simple and easy to use, thanks

  • AG

    I use evernote for my graduate studies and it’s great. The only thing I could ask for is highlighting for both text and PDF files and the ability to record audio notes within evernote itself. (instead of having to import the notes from a different program.)

    keep up the good work!

  • david loertscher

    Buffy: Could your follow up this wonderful story with “the rest of the story” about the impact that this tool has on the quality of the products that result from this work with a great tool vs. work done “the old way?” Beyond testimonials, what is the real impact of these great Web 2.0 tools?

  • chris

    I’m hoping our school will get a lot of new computers next year. Then I’ll try to use evernote in my library instruction.

  • Bruceoutdoors

    I’m an arts student who also uses evernote to clip ideas and concepts. As a designer, I believe colour is very important. I would apply different colours to text, varrying in priority. However I believe this could be taken a step further. I wish to suggest that evernote do have their note pages coloured, like those stickey notes that have like yellow, blue, green, red and so on… That way people can see from a distance and tell easily what is what(hope you get what I meant)

    We could associate the colour of the background with the different tags! Won’t that be cool? Small add on, but cool :D

  • Harry

    I have been signing up many teachers with evernote at in-services. We are using it with our mobile devices; ipods, ipads, and etc. People really like using it. I have also shared it with the folks who use the livescribe pens too.

  • Buffy Hamilton

    David, I will try to do just that either in a subsequent post in this space or over at my blog sometime this spring. Overall, though, we saw students using a greater diversity and higher quality of information sources. I think the use of Evernote and our emphasis on research reflections students created on their WordPress blogs (these posts engaged them metacognition and really exploring what sources they were using and why) contributed to improvement in students’ information fluency.

  • Marcelo Torres

    I use Evernote in many differente situations and it’s really good.
    However, I think Evernote needs an interface for mind maps.

    Marcelo

  • efader

    Hi,
    I would like to introduce Evernote to my high school students in the classroom. I just started using it myslef but I cannot find the web clipping feature. Is that because I have the free version?
    Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Andrew Sinkov

      The web clippers are available here: http://www.evernote.com/about/download/web_clipper.php

  • PRINCE DZIGBEDE

    hey i want to be student in your scholl

  • James Green

    Worcestershire LA have been using j2e to develop and support ICT and Literacy. The integrated text to voice and built in sound recorder are 2 of the quick wins… also the ability for users to work collaboratively in real time on documents has inspired the children to engage with their learning. All documents can then be published or password protected on the web giving a real purpose and audience. All in an SSO environment so will work seamlessly with your learning platform, if you have, need, want one LOL

    http://www.j2e.com really welcome your comments.

    James

  • thomas

    “the dog ate my homework”

    everything going digital and paperless this one quote will be a thing of the past… I suppose the kids will now substitute it for the Virus ate my homework, but not with Evernote with its multi platform syncing. Music to any teachers ears :D

  • Robert Hill

    I used evernote to make an online review for my students. We have a vocabulary test approaching. Each student was assigned several words, they then email them to me at my evernote email address….by using the @ symbol and # symbols we were able to tag and put in a single notebook that I shared for the whole class!

  • Yolanda Escandon

    Just began using Evernote at ISTE2012. I’m still leaning about all the features, but I like being able to take a picture with my iPad and inserting it to the note.