We all have them. And chances are, they’re full of papers that we never look at anymore.
Fact: After teaching at a school for about six years, I raided my two four-cabinet, almost-full filing cabinets and threw away 90 percent of the decades of papers collected there.
Including several blue-inked ditto sheets. (Just to humor me, let me know in a comment if you’ve found ditto sheets in your room and what you’ve done with them.)
These days, papers still pile up on my desk. They still get filed on my much-smaller filing drawer in my desk.
But paper is not cluttering my life like it used to — thanks to Evernote.
Evernote, according to the website, is an set of digital tools that “make modern life manageable, by letting you easily collect and find everything that matters.” Using Evernote, you can take just about any digital medium, store it in the cloud, make it searchable and access it on all of your devices.
Evernote, put simply, is a game changer.
Here are five ways that Evernote can make your life better and easier:
1. Keep all of your notes everywhere — If you take notes on paper, you can only refer to them if you have the paper. Plus, there’s only one copy of it. Take your notes on Evernote and it’s available anywhere. Start the note on your laptop (with the computer app or on the web). Pull it up on your tablet during a meeting. Add a quick detail on your smartphone at home.
2. Share your notes — This is one of those little-known features that can be so useful. Evernote will generate URLs for your notes that can be e-mailed, tweeted or shared on Facebook or LinkedIn.
I think we could change the face of professional development with this feature. Many people take notes when they attend conferences. If everyone would share those notes by e-mail to colleagues or on social media, all that learning could be spread worldwide. So share your notes — typos, sentence fragments and all — so your work will travel beyond your filing cabinet.
3. Digitize your documents — Everyone gets agendas at meetings. Handouts. Other paper documents. Why not make them digital and leave those papers behind? Evernote’s mobile apps include a document camera feature. With a click of your tablet’s or phone’s shutter button, Evernote scans the document and makes it an easily-read high-contrast image.
Here’s the real magic with document photos — they’re searchable. Evernote recognizes the text in those photos. I took this image of a floor plan and Evernote found it with a simple search.
4. Searchable lesson plans — Imagine if that lesson plan book that you lug around everywhere was electronic AND you could find anything in it with a couple keystrokes. Keep your lesson plans in Evernote and they instantly become much more accessible. I haven’t tried this yet myself, but it could very easily be done — and done very well.
5. Share student work in a heartbeat — If you have an LCD projector in your classroom, this trick gets student work — writing, art, charts, anything really — in front of everyone fast. Using a phone or tablet, create a new note and attach photos of the student work to that note. Sync the note to your Evernote account and then retrieve it on the computer connected to your projector. The link to that note, of course, could be shared on a class website as well.
What are other great Evernote tricks for teachers? Share your best in a comment below!