10 reasons (I think) teachers should use Evernote

Recently I was invited to hold a short workshop at an educational conference here in Austria on using Evernote as a teacher.

Evernote has been part of my extended brain for many years now. It is literally a catch-all, hold-all, find-all media library – where I collect and organize all types of materials, information, snippets and tidbits that I use for the preparation, delivery and organization of my classes. I thought I’d post the reasons here on why I recommend teachers use it, and why I think it has the potential to enrich your workflow.

I know that there are many millions of others in the same boat as I am. We are smack-dab in the middle of a tsunami of information. You go to conferences, attend meetings, read articles, research online, bookmark tips, annotate pdfs, create docs, collect pictures – a never-ending flow of data and information that feeds our daily teaching lives and helps inspire us for our lessons. Much like brick-and-mortar libraries used to catalog books and printed materials, our modern lives require cataloging of digital and electronic images, documents, videos, audio files, lists, brochures and websites. What can help us find things when we need them again, act as modern-day index cards so to speak? Evernote is the perfect solution for me.

Here are the 10 reasons why I think teachers should use Evernote:

  1. Organize everything: files, notes, ideas, images, screenshots, contacts, lists, plans, quotations, read later, passwords, logins, curricula, student trips etc etc
  2. Notes are splendidly simple yet versatile at the same time: use the text editor to note tables, reminders or notes. You can also store and create audio files. Everything is synchronized and saved instantly (with an internet connection). You can also view notes offline.
  3. Never lose anything again: using tags and the search field, you can find your content by keyword in notebooks, stacks or notes themselves. You can even use advanced search syntax for an optimized result.
  4. Work chat replaces email: I don’t know about you but endless email chains are hard to read through to find exactly the info I need. Work chat does a great job as an instant messenger. Team communication eases collaboration.
  5. Talking about collaboration, sharing is caring: Evernote makes it easy to share a note or notebook with other users of the service or with the public. You can set up viewer or editor permissions as per your needs. Think about the possibilities for the classroom – it’s easy to set up for a class.
  6. Present and Annotate: Although these are Premium or Business features, the presentation and annotation features are quite nice and worth their yearly fee. It’s intuitive and optically appealing.
  7. Evernote is everywhere: The really convenient aspect of Evernote is that I have it on desktop, on web, my iPhone or iPad, perfectly synchronized across the platforms. I can jot down ideas in the train and be ready to present in class.
  8. Evernote is integrated: You can send things to Evernote by email or use the Webclipper to catalog web pages. Both are real timesavers for me. System software on both Mac and Windows and mobile allow sending or saving to Evernote from many applications.
  9. Safe and sound: Evernote allows you to backup your data and to encrypt your text via password. I use it for passwords and logins at school.
  10. Nice price: I have been a happy Evernote Premium user for many years now – the extras are well worth it for me. Premium includes access to related content, turning notes into presentations and annotating of pdfs. Here is an overview of their current pricing structure.
A peak into my workflow reveals a bit more. I have a notebook for my class. There I have notes that are individual lesson plans, participation and points awarded, student name lists, files related to classroom organization, documents on competences according to the Ministry curriculum, links, information on staff meetings related to this class, student logins, list of the apps we use in class, topics and grammar points. Today I projected my lesson plan on the screen which included a to-do list. I typically present from my screen and use links to quickly navigate to our Google classroom, youtube.com, ClassDojo or class blog pages. After the lesson, I jot down reflections on what went well and what didn’t within the same note. This works very well for me at the moment.
The possibilities are endless with Evernote. And I really hoping to infect a few colleagues as well as students with my experience with this tool. Wishing you a productive and pleasurable workflow with Evernote.