Monday, July 15, 2013

How Coffeechug Uses Evernote: Part 1

If you have thought about using Evernote, then this post may provide you one example of the benefits to this amazing piece of software/web tool/app. I started to use Evernote as an experiment towards the end of the school year last year. Since then I have fallen completely in love with it and will never go back to the old ways.

I am far from a pro and have much to learn about the best ways to use this tool, but I want to share the many ways that I find benefits to Evernote so far.

The first way I use Evernote is as a digital portfolio for my own children. My school district currently does not have a digital portfolio system in place for students. It drives me nuts. I am hoping to create a grassroots movement by having my students create one this year and spread the word. (mischievous grin while typing!)

Without going into how to set up everything because I am sure there is a much simpler way than the way I do things I basically have a stack set up for each of my three children. Within each stack is the school grade they are part of as seen in the picture to the right.

There is not a lot in the folders as one of my summer projects is to add all the paper copies of school work from years past. I would like to organize the contents within each grade level.

Within each grade level I have added materials to the folders since I started using Evernote. This is such a great benefit. I can take pictures using the Evernote App and add to the proper folders. Below you can see a small example of my daughter. There is no reason to keep all the paper copies. It just creates clutter. So I quickly snap a picture and dispose of the work. At first my children were super bummed that I kept tossing things until they realized what I was doing. It finally made sense to them that I was keeping it all in digital form. Some things we do keep, but the day to day stuff can go. However, what this allows us to do is see their growth. I kept a little story Addy wrote at the beginning of kindergarten and compared it to the end of the year and it was amazing. This learning journey is more valuable than a data on a report card.

One of my favorite features is being able to record audio to the images and documents. Below is a story Addy wrote about our trip to Wisconsin Dells. I cannot read what she wrote, but she could read it clear as day. I recorded her reading the story. This is so powerful! I did the same months later and it was amazing to hear the growth. I will be doing this at the beginning of the upcoming school year and throughout. I think it is good for my kids to hear themselves and actually see and hear their growth. They are kids and don't always think they are learning.

I will continue to do this for my kids. I need to improve with using tags and organizing but it is a start and one that I find to be powerful for all of us to document their journey. Being my own children I have added elements outside of school. I continue to find many uses.

I will be using Evernote this year for my TA students as we create our journey with Habitudes and learning about ourselves. This will be an interesting experiment with using Evernote with students. It will be a big learning curve for us all, but one that I think will jump start the conversation about doing this for all students in our district.

If I was still in gifted education this was going to be our ongoing project to document our students and where they ended up after we were done with them. Now that I am an instructional coach I am going bigger and thinking all students.

I hope you enjoyed this. Please let me know if you found this worthwhile. If so, then I will continue to share the many other ways I use Evernote. It plays a role in everything I do now.

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