Tips & Stories

Teaching with Evernote: A 6th and 8th Grade Science Teacher Shares His Top Tips (Back-to-School Series)

Posted by Kevin Buran on 30 Aug 2011

Posted by Kevin Buran on 30 Aug 2011

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Name: Kevin Buran
Profession: 6th and 8th Grade Science Teacher
Location: Carmel, California
School: Carmel Middle School

Bio

Kevin Buran teaches 6th and 8th grade science to students at Carmel Middle School.

I use Evernote, Everywhere:

I love…

  • ScanSnap Scanner for scanning in worksheets and student work
  • JotNot for taking snapshots of my daily itinerary and saving them instantly to Evernote

I use Evernote for..

I first heard about Evernote about a year ago, but have become an avid user much more recently. Here are just a few of the ways that I use Evernote for teaching:

For sharing information with my students

  • Recently, there was a landslide in my area which blocked the roads and kept students from school for several weeks. Evernote’s Shared Notebooks became a simple way for me to give students a way to access class notes, worksheets, PowerPoints and labs. Even though they couldn’t make it to class, they didn’t fall behind. [How to start sharing in Evernote]

  • I put everything my students might need to access —worksheets, articles, and labs — into a Shared Notebook that they can access through a link or via Moodle, a service that our school district has integrated.
  • I have a Scanscap scanner, which I use to shoot worksheets straight into Evernote. Sometimes, I’ll scan student work that I think was particularly impressive. It’s a great way to acknowledge the work and share it with other students (via Shared Notebooks).

For research and labs

  • Before Evernote, I was bookmarking so many different websites for research purposes, or sending emails to myself with links. I found it so difficult to keep track of things I was reading on the Web. Now, I use Evernote’s Web Clipper to simply send things I want to remember to my Evernote account, where it is completely searchable and accessible whenever I need it.
  • I recently had all of my 8th grade students sign up for an Evernote account to help them do research. They clip articles from the web, take notes and track lab results in Evernote.

For extending the classroom beyond school walls

  • I put up a daily itinerary on the whiteboard for my students to see what we’ll be working on that day. For anyone who isn’t in class, I snap a photo of it and put it in Evernote. You can see all of the past daily itineraries in my Shared Notebook. I use JotNot to take those shots, which integrates really well with Evernote.

  • In the past, I’d come across interesting things related to topics we were studying in school (like environmental problems) that didn’t specifically fit into the day’s lesson plan. Now, I save articles and even video links to Evernote, where my students can see how their studies relate to the ‘real world.’

  • Our school, like many, is considering going to a 1:1 model. We’re trying to figure out how we can incorporate technology into the classroom in a more integrated way. The fact that Evernote can be accessed from virtually any device and syncs across devices means that no matter what technology we choose, teachers and students can continue to access all of their notes from anywhere they happen to be. [Learn more about 1:1 deployments]

User Tip

I like to keep my Evernote account clutter-free, especially for my students. I’ll occasionally go through my account and move notes around to different folders or delete them. My Shared Notebooks are always up to date and organized in a way that makes it easy for students to find what they’re looking for.

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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82 Comments RSS

  • Bob Stanke

    That is an awesome use of Evernote. I like how he combined his own use with that of classroom research for his students. A great way to push content out effectively. Awesome stuff!

    Bob Stanke

  • Lynda Fletcher

    Wow, wish my kids had teachers like you!

  • Nate Corbitt

    My wife is a 6th Grade Math & Science Teacher. I’m sending her the link to this blog right now!

  • Ajay

    Nice share. Thanks

  • Katsumi Takeda

    I believe that Kevin gives Japanese teachers an interesting hint, especially after 3.11 in Japan. I hope it will be realized in Japan like Lynda Fetcher comments.

  • Wesley Carroll

    Hi, thanks for the post…

    How do you integrate evernote with moodle? My school in uk uses moodle and I love Evernote, being able to use them together would be brilliant!

  • Katsumi Takeda

    I believe that Kevin gives Japanese teachers an interesting hint, especially after 3.11 in Japan. I hope it will be realized in Japan.

  • Peter lakeman

    If you use it in the classroom (on the whiteboard) do you, or how do you keep your private notes really private. I like to use it for my lessons, but i dont want my students to see or be able to access my private notes.

  • Ron Toledo

    @Peter. All of your notes are private by default. You can select which notes you’d like to share with your students. We offer many different ways to share both individual notes and notebooks with others. Here’s an article explaining how sharing works. http://www.evernote.com/about/kb/article/sharing-overview?lang=en

  • Martina

    That is totally awesome. I use it for University to store all my notes.

  • John

    I really admire your use of Evernote. We just got our pre-teen daughter a netbook and I will be helping her use technology (especially Evernote) to help her studies this school year. I only wish the schools in my country could integrate technology as well. Unfortunately, they can hardly provide books for every student.

    I love the idea of keeping absent students in-the-loop and its great that you got all you students to open their own Evernote account. I’m sure it will help many of them greatly outside the classroom.

  • Kevin Buran

    @Wesley.

    To link notebooks to my Moodle page I first go to my Evernote account and create a shared notebook. I then copy the Public URL from my Shared Notebook Settings page.

    Then I log into Moodle –> Turn editing on –> Add a resource… –> Link to a file or web site –> Paste the Public URL into the “Link to a file or web site” window –> Save and return to course.

    Hope that helps! Let me know if you have any further questions.

    Kevin

  • Tena

    Thanks for posting… I like Evernote, but I haven’t jumped all the way into the deep end. This gives me great ideas!

  • Dom

    Loved this article… Have a question about JotNot… what’s the difference between JotNot and Genius Scan? I can spend $4.99 for Genius Scan Pro, but JotNot is just a buck?

    • Kevin Buran

      Dom,

      Quite honestly I don’t know much about Genius Scan Pro. JotNot is a nice app. as it has different enhancement settings (e.g. Whiteboard, Blackboard, and Black/White Text). My whiteboard/agenda pics come out crisp and clear. JotNot also has a nice “Send to Evernote” feature. It is really quite user friendly.

      Kevin

    • Colleen

      I use Droidscan to scan documents! :)

  • Brendan

    Great idea. I’d love to use Evernote in my classroom but without integrated LaTeX support it’s just not feasible for me.

  • Colleen Young

    As a teacher I would now be lost without Evernote. I use it every day to organise everything I need. Like the author I have recently started using shared notebooks more – for students and staff. These provide a great way to share resources that a group needs.

    I have linked to a shared notebook with useful links to some Mathematics notes in this post:
    http://colleenyoung.wordpress.com/2011/08/21/for-students/

  • rosana345

    Somebody has tested http://clicktoapp.com with Evernote??

  • Marcos

    Thanks for sharing this; very very interesting.

  • Neena

    I am sending this post to my 15 year old son.

    I have been encouraging him to use Evernote more, for his schoolwork.

    The possibilities are amazing – I wish I had this tool when I was in high school and college.

  • Dwight

    This is awesome! I am always impressed when I see individuals taking hold of technologies like Evernote and such and using them to make a difference. I had a professor that used Tumblr for an imaging class I had a few years ago and this reminds me of that.

  • Shelly Hugghins

    Wow, I am very impressed with these uses of Evernote. I started using it two years ago with my Spanish classes. I got away from using it last year, but after reading this post, I am inspired. My class has now become a BYOT learning environment, and Evernote would be such a great tool for my students. Thanks so much for sharing.

  • Larry

    I’m using Evernote to a similar effect with my Year 7 Middle School class in Melbourne Australia – except that I’ve also gotten rid of the students’ physical workbooks altogether. Instead, students have a Journal, English, Theme, and Assignment Notebook which is shared with me (viewing and writing comments on their work while in class, home or where ever!)With Ipads being tialed next year at our campus, students will have all their work available on whichever device they are on – school desktop, Ipad, home computer, Ipod, all viewable by me. Thanks Evernote, I think the search for the perfect online student work environment is just about over!

  • Samir

    Can someone explain the advantage of JotNote vs just using the picture taking ability in Evernote with a smartphone?

    • Kevin Buran

      Samir
      JotNot is neato because it offers photo enhancement features. As I told Dom (see above post), there are a variety of enhancements from which to choose. I primarily use it for taking pictures of my white board. If you follow the link below you can see that most of my agenda/itinerary pictures that I uploaded were taken using the JotNot application. Two of them, however, were taken using the stock camera on my iPhone 3G (8/24/11 and 8/25/11). I think you can see that there is a pretty remarkable difference between the picture qualities.

      http://www.evernote.com/pub/aguabonita/science6-itinerary#b=3d12b1fb-2d1b-433d-a022-d13bdea264e6&n=6b772360-f6fd-4e84-965d-9b21d40588d4

      • Samir

        Kevin,

        Thanks so much for the response. Yes, I see the difference of camera vs JotNote. I have a Droid, so looks like I have to download DroidScan, which I just did. I use Evernote mainly to keep track of things that I don’t know where else to keep, good articles I find, installation keys on software, and things like that. I also use Dropbox, which I found a little more helpful for keeping track of my wife’s many medical records. Reading your story, and that of the next person who used it to raise his high school GPA, I’m trying to see what else I can do to use Evernote to be even more productive.

  • Laurie

    I absolutely LOVE this! I can see how helpful this would be for keeping students on track AND for enabling parents to stay up-to-date on just exactly what material is being covered. I’m a private art teacher and use it to organize student portfolios, save ideas for workshops, etc. Evernote is just amazing.

  • MizB

    Great post! I’m a 9th grade english teacher and I’ve been using evernote to keep track of my work and classes, but you’ve encouraged me to take the next step and get my students on board, too!

  • Randall

    I am sending this to my brother who teaches ESL in Atlanta. He loves technology and will certainly use and build on your techniques. Thanks so much for sharing your experience with all of us. Wonderful implementation.

  • Ely

    When someone edits a notebook you shared, how are you notified that any changes have been made?

    • Kevin Buran

      Hi,

      The students are able to access the files in each of the shared notebooks but they are NOT able to make any changes to any of those files. The way I use it, it isn’t really like a shared Dropbox folder. In other words, the students can examine and download files but they can’t add to, remove, or edit any of those files.

      Kevin

    • Kasey Fleisher Hickey

      We currently don’t have a notification system.

  • Azhar Ahmad

    You’ve inspired me to post my class notes on Evernote. I currently teach building structures at an architectural college in Kuala Lumpur. I post my notes and tutorials on a blog site. Now I can see some advantages to using Evernote over the blog site, in particular posting from my Android phone. Thank you for the tips. I’m going to sit down today, which is a public holiday in Malaysia and port my blog posts to Evernote.

  • Angel P

    I’m in a graduate level teacher education program and am taking a curriculum and technology class. I love using Evernote to organize my own clippings, thoughts, etc, but I had not thought of using it in the classroom before. I can’t wait to share this blog post with my fellow preservice teachers. Thanks for sharing your ideas!

  • Steven G

    Kevin … Do you run into any memory allotment issues? I suspect you’re a paid user and get 1G a month… is that enough for all the content you’re sharing?

    • Kevin Buran

      Hi there,

      You are correct in that I have the Premium account. As soon as I figured out how amazing the text recognition technology was I signed myself up for Premium version. To answer your question though, I have never really come close to hitting the upper end of the monthly memory allotment. A gig of memory is a lot of memory. As of this monthly cycle my account says I have roughly 49,000 typed notes or 6,600 web clips left. YMMV.

      Kevin 8-)

  • Jim

    We now have a 1:1 Macbook program. I get the students to take a photo of their artwork with their macbook and save a copy for themselves in pages that they can write an evaluation to. I also ask them to email the image directly into my evernote account. Eventually I end up with the students’ own ID photos they took with the Macbook and a copy of each of their artworks. I find this useful for report writing time and remembering each student’s artwork especially in the younger year levels. Having all students with an account in a shared group sounds like it would take the collaboration further again.

  • Samantha

    Thanks for this. I am currently studying Early Childhood Education and never thought to use my Evernote account for school purposes. I will definitely use this in my classroom when I graduate!

  • Steve

    Kevin,
    Have you seen http://www.khanacademy.org/#browse
    It is very cool watch the TED Talk.

    • Kevin Buran

      Thanks Steve!
      I love the TED Talks. That episode was is especially neat and I will definitely look through the curriculum topics more closely. It would be really easy to integrate something like that into the Evernote shared folder system I’ve set up. All teachers, administrators, parents, and students should watch that video clip. Good stuff.
      Kevin

  • Sudhanshu

    Amazing tips for any teacher, who really loves his/her job. The possibilities are endless…………Thanks.

  • Mortekay

    I would die for having my teachers to use Evernote this way! So amazing, I hope Mr Burans students appreciate this!

  • Kevin

    I am a student and i use evernote for recording lectures and writing down homework also typing notes i wish my teacher use evernote as avidly as you. You should teach teachers how to integrate evernote into class.

  • Bwana Kizito

    What this ‘teacher’ has described; suites perfectly the vision of ‘heaven’ one can have here in East Africa. Way to go!!

  • Kat

    My brother starts his first teaching job this month, and he’s a total geek as well, so I’m sending this to him. Thanks for sharing your amazing use of Evernote!

  • Frank

    Kevin thanks so much for sharing your experiences using Evernote. I have several relatives who are in the teaching profession. I happen to be a tech guy (not a teacher). I’ve been trying to explain the uses and benefits of Evernote along with other technologies without much luck. Your story and examples will hopefully do the trick. Awesome stuff!

  • Shamblesguru

    I’ve collected some other “Ëvernote in Education” resources at
    http://www.shambles.net/pages/learning/ict/evernote/

    Am a BIG fan / user for a couple of years now.

  • Jiri Palacky

    I’m a university lecturer and architect. I am using Things for Mac to collect my research notes etc. but there are no sharing options and also the amazing on-line backup provided by Evernote is missing. A colleague of mine mentioned he uses Evernote in his architectural practice to collect all contractors data and product samples for future reference.
    I was inspired enough to give Evernote a try and setup a shared notebook with my co-workers to encourage the exchange of ideas as we cooperate on a research project. We also used Facebook’s hidden group feature, but it turned out to be too messy in comparison to Evernote so we use Facebook to inform each other on the additions to the project. We also use Wuala for file sharing which has notification system built in (maybe inspiration for Evernote).
    Now after reading this story I realised I could share some of our research notes, findings etc. with our students and even have them participate in it. Thanks for advice on Moodle integration.

  • Justin Dorfman

    This is great. I hope more teachers would follow Mr. Buran’s foot steps and embrace technologies like Evernote.

  • goodspeech

    I really liked this article! Is great to see the practical use of technology to support education. As an administrator in education I used EN to track observations, store forms that I may need, and keep notes from all the meetings that come with the educational system.

  • Karen Floyd

    I teach in London, 11 – 19 year olds – Ict. This looks amazing, thanks so much for sharing.

    Karen

  • Bret

    Which model of Scansnap do you recommend?

    • Kevin Buran

      Hi,

      I have the ScanSnap S1100 and really like it a lot. It’s quite small and portable. Each sheet of paper takes about 7 or 8 seconds to scan. You can set it up so that each sheet is directly fed into your Evernote account.

      There are other models that are a touch faster. I think they also have some models that scan both sides at once, which would be nice. I, however, wanted something that I could throw in my computer bag and take home with me when need be.

      Kevin

  • Susan Abdelnour

    I use Evernote & clipper but until now I haven’t known the extent to which it could be used. This is going to help with project management and sharing with my colleagues.

    Thanks, Susan

  • Jannette

    Hi Kevin,

    thanks so much for all of this information. I teach in a support unit in a mainstream high school – and you have given me so many ideas to try.

  • Bob

    Kevin,

    It all sounds great. I need some help organizer my home records. Can I do all this with evernote with a MAC?

    Thank you

    • Kevin Buran

      Hi Bob,

      Yes, you can use either a Mac or a PC. I use a Mac at home and a PC at school and the integration and syncing on both platforms is seamless.

  • Frank Peeters

    Actually, I am more interested in having students adding notes to a shared notebook instead of me. Looking up related information and building on top of what other peer students posted could be an excellent learning experience, I believe.
    Anybody knows if that could be arranged with Evernote?
    Many thanks in advance,
    Frank

    • Kasey Fleisher Hickey

      Frank, absolutely. You can create a shared notebook that students can add information to. Provided the students all have access to the notebook, they can create new notes and add them to that shared notebook. They can also email notes to this notebook. Here’s some more info about this from our Knowledge Base:

      https://support.evernote.com/link/portal/16051/16058/Article/547/Adding-content-to-Evernote-using-email

      https://support.evernote.com/link/portal/16051/16058/Article/629/An-Introduction-to-Sharing

  • Michelle

    I have been using Evernote since the beginning of the school year, and while I love it for many reasons, I’m confused as to how to organize my lesson plans by date. I’m sure it’s just something simple I’m not seeing. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated!

  • Jen

    Hi Michelle,

    There are several view options in Evernote:
    View by Dated Created
    View by Date Updated
    View by Name

    For notes that refer to a specific point in time, I suggest creating a naming convention for all these kinds of notes that starts with the date: (2011-10-31 3rd Grade Language Arts Lesson Plan)…

    I have found one of the most important things is developing a naming convention that is consistent (dates really help but always use in the same format yyyy-mm-dd or some other consistently sortable way). Also, make sure to be consitent with your tags…

  • Phil

    Hey Kevin,
    Thanks for your input on how you use Evernote, especially for education. I am an aspiring science teacher myself and an avid user of Evernote. I am using it in my teaching course but I hadn’t thought of using it like you have—as a place to save notes and class info for your class. I’m trying to figure out how to organize my account and I will definitely be experimenting with your methods. Thanks!

  • Beth Van Atten

    Thank you Kevin. As a much,much,much older technophobic teacher, I find your classroom applications very practical and do-able.

  • Charles C.

    I want to use skitch in the classroom to annotate things other than pictures such as scriptures. Can I obtain notes from Evernote and bring them into skitch where I can either project them are show them on a large monitor with annotation on them?

  • Joanna Puello

    Hey, Kevin! I love what you’ve done with Evernote! Really cool stuff! I’m the Community Coordinator for Educator Studio powered by Full Sail University, and I was wondering if you’d be interested in sharing this with our community of educators. All you have to do is create an online account (for free) and upload the information you have above as a lesson plan. Once you’ve uploaded the lesson plan, I can highlight it in our blog and on our social media sites. Please let me know if you’re interested or have any questions! joanna@educatorstudio.com

  • Jason Frasca

    Hi Kevin,

    Great use of Evernote.

    Just published a new app for Evernote – MasterNote which offers Templates for Evernote… to minimize the repetitive tasks of recreating the same notes in Evernote.

    MasterNote is a note template application for Evernote. Save countless hours recreating the same notes where you only change the same few text fields each time. For example:

    Creating quizzes and tests: Create the Evernote through MasterNote – change just the few text fields that need to be changed week to week, class to class. Export the .enex files back to Evernote and you are done. Efficiency & Time saved. Same goes for all your labs, multiple classes, the list goes on and on…

    Additional uses include: Meeting Notes, Workout Journal, Diet / Food Log, School Reports, Papers, Homework, Class Papers, Teachers: Syllabus, Curriculum, Tests, Quizzes, Handouts, client files, case management … and more.

    MasterNote solves the lack of printing the Evernote title problem too.

    Thanks!

  • Katie

    Hi Kevin,

    I teach middle school science and I love the idea of using Evernote. Is there any way for students to do more than source work from Evernote? Can they complete worksheets within the app? Or is it a reference for students to look at or print? Can they share notes with me (ie. homework)?

  • Kevin buran

    Hi Katie,

    With respect to teaching, I use Evernote to:

    1. Store my lesson plans, curriculum maps, quizzes/tests, and other teacher resources in a private folder (a different folder for each class I teach).

    2. Upload any student resources (e.g. web pages, TED Talks, etc.), files, and student work that I want my students to have access to in a shared/public folder. I link this shared folder to my Moodle page and students can access files via the search feature.

    I personally don’t know of any way that you could have students share completed worksheets and the like with you within the application unless you gave them your Evernote email address (which I personally don’t divulge).

    Take care

  • Deb

    Kevin – from the itinerary photo in this blog I see you have the students combine Evernote and Cornell.

    Do you have a Cornell template you give them, or how do you approach this? I want to use Cornell but can’t quite figure out how to get the template made/saved in EN, or without a template, how to have the kids set up for Cornell on a note on their own.

    Thanks, in advance, for your help!
    Deb in BC

    • Jason

      This website works well.

      http://eleven21.com/notetaker/

  • kevin buran

    Hi Deb,

    I do use Cornell notes a fair amount with my students. If I am understanding your question correctly -there are multiple ways you can get a template saved into your Evernote application. I usually give my students a hard copy and then have them fill it out. But if a student loses there copy or is absent then they have an opportunity to retrieve a template from my shared folder system.

    From what I have seen, if you do a search for “Cornell Notes Template” you can find a host of websites that let you download a PDF or Word version of Cornell Notes. You can download those files that interest you and then drag and drop them into one of your Evernote folders. You can also download and print a template from a website (or get a template from a colleague) and scan it into your computer using a ScanSnap scanner or other suitable device.

    Let me know if that helps.

  • Deb

    Are students doing Cornell in EN directly?, or on paper (which you then have them scan/photo into their EN binder)?

    I think EN will allow me to radically decrease my paper consumption at school, so am looking for a way to have them take Cornell notes in EN directly – I want to bypass the paper step. If I import a PDF, it doesn’t seem to be writable.

    Really appreciating your help . . .

  • Deb

    Relatedly: your worksheet above – tools of a scientist – can your kids answer right on that sheet in EN? I’ve scanned in worksheets, but they don’t seem writable. What am I missing?
    Thanks again.

  • Kevin buran

    Hi Deb,

    I have been trying to think of a way to make your idea work. That is, get students to work on and submit worksheets and notes in a digital format. Although I personally don’t do that it might work really well at a school that has a one-to-one program. There are apps like GoodReader that allow for PDF editing. If students had that app installed on an iPad then they could theoretically access any PDF from your shared notebook, edit it, and submit it to you via email or some other means.

    That’s the only way I could see that system working. Perhaps someone with more insight than me could chime in?

    Kevin

  • Shane Botting

    Hi,
    I was wanting to see if you know of EN being used in conjunction with Moodle LMS (Learning Management System). If so is there some sort of integration system and is there an API avalible for both ends.
    Thanks Shane

    • Kevin buran

      Shane,

      I personally don’t know the answer to that question. I would suggest contacting the people at Moodle.

      Cheers.

  • denise ozdeniz

    A student can access a PDF on their iPad through your Evernote Shared Folder and ‘Open in….Neu Annotate’(like Good Reader). They fill in the worksheet in hand writing or by typing in answers and then email it to your Evernote Teacher email provided by Evernote when you started the account. If the student knows the exact folder you wish them to send the PDF to, they write @ plus the name of the folder in the Subject Bar of the email, directly after the subject. You simply go to the designated folder to find the student’s work. I get my students to add their class number and name to the Subject Bar, before the @ folder, so I know from whom the work has come.
    I hope this works for you. I am part of a paperless project and so am having to find out ways of working from student iPad to teacher iPad.

  • denise ozdeniz

    Students access a PDF worksheet from your Shared Folder and ‘open in…..Neu Annotate(like Good Reader). They fill in the worksheet by typing in answers or by handwriting them. The worksheet can then be emailed back to your Evernote Account using the evernote email provided when your created the account. If the student knows the folder you want the work sent to, they add @folder name in the Subject Bar of the email. I get students to add their class and full name before the @folder, so that I can identify who the worksheet was submitted by.

  • John Bennett

    Thanks Kevin. I will be sharing your idea with our science teacher “first” ;-) This is all NEW to me but I am going to embrace it!!! It will empower our students.

  • Samantha Maren Carpenter

    We have a 1:1 iPad program and I am thinking about using evernote with my students. I was thinking that I could have them share their notebooks with me so I could see completed work. Would this work? (I know I can share my notebook with them so they can access the work I put there so I am just guessing it would work for them to share their notebook with me so I could see it…)