Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Epic @Evernote Experiment #edchat @EvernoteSchools

Hello everyone! I've had plenty of requests to write about what I'm doing and I wanted to wait until I was all set before I wrote a post.

This Fall, I will be doing an Epic Evernote Experiment. I know that I have used the word Epic to describe my previous project (The Epic Romeo and Juliet Project), but this Experiment is truly Epic and I'm a sucker for alliterations.

My plan is pretty simple, use Evernote to share all of my class notes and reading with the students. All assignments will be shared through Evernote as well as any additional resources that I use in class. Seems pretty straight forward.

I have spend the past few days compiling all of the resources I have used in my class for my Honors American Literature, Traditional American Literature and Freshmen English. I have created notes, notebooks and tags for each piece. Units were cross-referenced using tags and the title of the note so students can quickly find what they are looking for on Evernote.

I created four Notebooks for each class; Assignments, Notes, Handouts and Stories. These are the four standard notebooks that will be shared with each student when they arrive to class in the Fall. They will have access to all of their textbook needs on Evernote wherever they are. All additional notes will be placed in the Notebooks as the school year progresses.

In the Notes Notebook, I have placed background information on authors and historical information centering around the various texts and stories we will be reading making sure to use the tagging feature to allows students to pull the information up quickly. I also created notes that have YouTube video read ins of some of the stories. I have created a complete digital backpack for my students. They will have everything they need for the entire year on the first day of school.

This process was a long and tedious one, but I have these notes FOREVER. I was able to upload PDFs and us the Evernote Clipper tool on Google Chrome to quickly and easily create notes and store them in the correct Notebook with the specific tags I needed. This really is a game changer for how my students will be able to access information inside AND outside of the classroom.

This would be an awesome experiment, but it's not quite epic. With that in mind, I have added another level to bring it to epic proportions. E-portfolios. I'm looking for my students to use Evernote Notebooks to store their written work and projects. With the ability to take photos and record audio I envision students being able to take pictures and store their thoughts on various work throughout the year. Long term, this could be great if an entire school district got on board and students from a young age could curate all of their work over the course of their school career. Imagine a 12 Grade student being able to review their writing from 5th grade. I can't think of a better way for an individual to measure growth. I wish I could see my work from grade school.

I'm excited to be working with some other companies who partner with Evernote and want to help with this Experiment. IPEVO is sending over a document camera that, later this summer, will allow images to be directly sent to Evernote. I'm really excited for the chance to look at this document camera. I have heard nothing but good things and I'm always pumped to offer more tools to my students. I envision many of my artistic students using the Document Camera to record their hand drawn work at home and storing it on their Evernote accounts. Their are many different possibilities.

I'm talking with other groups that are interested in being part of the Epic Evernote Experiment. If you are a company and want to join the fun, please send me an email at and I will get back to you right away. If you know of a product that would fit in well with my Experiment, please let me know and I will reach out to them. Any new products will be mentioned on my blog as they come in and I look them over.

I'm really excited about the possibilities of creating this environment for my students. Follow the journey on the special page I created. The Epic Evernote Experiment

If you want to start your Evernote journey now, follow this link to sign up!

That's it for now, stay tuned for more fun in the near future.


  1. I would love to trial Evernote as an eportfolio with my third graders. I am worried about no easy access to a scanner or document camera. Any advice?

    1. You could use your phone to take pictures to put on evernote and students can use their iPod touch.

  2. This is something I am thinking about too. Are you going to have a shared file with the students, or one public folder that they can pull information from?

  3. Sounds like a truly epic undertaking, I applaud your ingenuity and risk-taking. In particular the e-portfolio part is intriguing to me, and you've got a good partner there with IPEVO.
    I'm not sure which camera you're lined up to receive, but here's a review I did comparing the two offerings:
    Very interested to follow your experiment, but thinking that the amount of pre-populating would be intimidating for other classroom teachers to consider following. I wonder if the notebooks could be populated in a more social-media-type way, easing the load of the teacher and putting more ownership into the hands of the students?
    Congratulations again,
    Paul Yip

    1. @Paul - Thanks for the link! It was a pain to move all of my info to Evernote, but now it's there for life. A ton of hard work now will save me time in the long run. Any class work I can be quickly pushed out to other students or teachers. I could share with different teachers who could copy any notes I have so they do not have to re-create the wheel.

      I can create Notebooks that all students could add to it do it would be a socially curated Notebook.

      Lots of great ideas. Thanks for comementing! :-)

  4. @Erika - That is a tough one. One or both would be a great way for you to save and share all of their work. There are some great and inexpensive scanners (Doxie) and Document Cameras (IPEVO) that you should look into. Maybe the school, PTO or district could chip to get them. I think it is a great investment for the long term to have one of those to help students save their work for the long run.

  5. @Jennifer - I have thought about a public link, but I have decided to share them with each student. The public link is an option and I will consider it if sharing each notebook is too much work. I'll keep everyone posted!

  6. I'm certainly not there and I applaud all your hard work. It seems like almost all we do could be done from Evernote as long as we can find the time to organize years and years of paper into a digital form.

    This summer I spent numerous hours digitizing four drawers in a file cabinet. I'm still working on it and hope to someday be where you are.

  7. I'm currently working on an ebook for my students (probably 30% complete) to show them how they can personally use Evernote for school. I'd love to share it with you. If you're interested, send me an email at Keep up the good work! I love your blog.


  8. Would you be able to pull this off if most of your students did not have tech with internet access in the classroom or at home?

    I too am trying to re-invent the way my students create their own portfolios. I do have the ability to create a station for students to scan and save in Evernote, but it would require extra steps and I can't for the life of me figure out why it would be worth it. My plan is for the students to keep everything in composition notebooks. We will store the notebooks in a filing cabinet I bought ($15). The notebooks will be available for parent/teacher conferences and they will be walk out the door with the students at the end of the year.

    I do plan on having students blog weekly, creating an online presence but not at the rate they will be creating work in the notebooks.

    I just don't see where the value is for my classroom.

  9. I am very curious in seeing how your epic Evernote project works out! I assume you are using the paid version of Evernote. I use the free version and I reach my data quota pretty quickly. Will students need to purchase the app as well or will the school pay for it?

    I've also introduced my 9th grade students to Evernote & Springpad, but not utilized it as extensively as yourself. I applaud your efforts and look forward to reading about the outcomes of your epic task.

    While I like Evernote & Springpad, I have all of my resources uploaded to Edmodo. Are you using Edmodo as well?

  10. I am a great fan of Evernote although I only dabbled with it this year in my French 1-AP groups. We used our 19 iPods with the same account, different notebooks for each class. It worked fairly well, but I want to go further this year. As I don't use a text book (I make the curriculum and use my Web site for practice, vocabulary, etc), I would like to make Evernote the way to share as much as possible with them. Here are a few questions.

    1. Will students be saving their work
    a. under their own accounts, a class shared account, or both?
    b. using class devices (computer, pods, phones) or their own?
    2. I provide so many resources to my students through my Web site, but the students do not visit it unless I make it a "credit-earning" situation. What will you do to encourage the students to use this massive amount of resources that you have collected and organized?

    Here is our first (and very basic) project using Evernote: Students took pictures, wrote sentences, and narrated the slides. The theme: I know it's Spring because...

    Looking forward to working in tandem!
    Catherine Ousselin

  11. @ Will - Like all teachers, I leverage the resources that I have available and my students have available. I teach in a district with the overwhelming majority of my students have internet access and personal devices to access Evernote. My students will be using a blog for personal writing and Evernote will be used for class notes, assignments, secondary materials and as an e-portfolio. I will have document cameras and scanners for student who want to scan in their work they have done by hand. I just want to provide options to students who still might prefer to do things by hand.

    I have an idea of the value, but I really want to see what it can do, which is why I am calling it an experiment. I want everything to work out perfectly, but rarely does that happen for teachers. I will tweak lessons, learn from mistakes and hopefully grow along the way. That's why I try new things.

    - Nick

  12. @Catherine - Here are the answers to your questions.

    1. a & b - Students will be using a class set of iPads to use their personal Evernote accounts to take notes and store whatever information they feel is important to them.

    2. I have had the same problem with my class website. Kids do not go there and neither to parents. Giving them access to the materials on their Evernote account that they will be using for an e-portfolio will at least have them using the same tool for different things. They are more likely, in theory, to look at the info if they are already there.

    At the high school level, I cannot make the kids drink after I get them to the pond. I can teach them about the importance of reviewing the material and saving their notes, but it is up to them to use the tools I provide. I will tell them that the information will only be available on Evernote and it is their responsibility to find it and utilize it.

    Thanks for sharing what you are doing with Evernote. The more we all share the different ways we use the same tool, the better we will all be and our students will benefit as well.

    - Nick

  13. I started using Evernote at the start of the year, and I would recommend it to everyone. It started off with just slowly exploring it, and seeing what i can do with Evernote. Quite soon I introduced it to my senior history class as a tool to use for research assignments. I was able to share notebooks with them with websites, pdf's and any helpful materials that they could use. Now about 80% of senior students are using it and they are excited by it. Last week I signed up for the Premium membership, and did a training session for some of my colleagues. More and more people are using it now. Next is finding ways ti integrate it in my classes and to meet the curriculum requirements here in Australia. I'll be following your project closely,a s this is exactly what I want to do with my students. Thanks,Jacques

  14. Are you worried about bumping up against the free limits on Evernote? I was thinking of doing something similar in my quest to become paperless, but I am afraid they'll hit the caps pretty quick.

  15. I'm doing a very similar thing with my third grade classroom this year, especially the e-portfolio part. It probably won't be extensive, but like you said, they will be taking the first steps to learn a "lifetime" technology. We just got ipevos as well and I have a scansnap scanner to help the process along. I'll be interested in hearing how your project progresses.

  16. Nick, I really like the idea. How did you choose Evernote over say google sites combined with docs or something like this? Would love to hear about other platforms you considered, and then your eventual choice.

    Good luck, and looking forward to hearing more about it.

  17. @Ed

    I have a class set of iPads that I will be using in class in the Fall. Google does not play well on the tablets and a majority of my students have Apple based products. so Evernote made sense because it plays well on Apple AND Android devices. That was a big factor for me in making the decision.

    I also like the ability to download your notes as well. This allows the users to study or reviw information when they do not have access to the internet. This is true for students who travel for sports and other events.

    I personally love Evernote and my familiarity with the app was important. I wanted to present a tool I knew well so I would be able to address any questions the students, parents and other staff might have about the Experiment.

    Let me know if you have any other questions,

    The Nerdy Teacher

  18. My 8th grade English class used Evernote with much success this summer in preparation for our 1:1 iPad program. Setting up shared folders allowed us to go paperless which has been awesome. Good luck with your endeavors! Evernote is truly a wonderful tool.

  19. above comment is from me, Billie Napoleon :)

  20. Thanks for introducing me to Evernote! I homeschool my 3 kids and had been in the process of planning the school year when I came across your blog. After some additional stalking on twitter, I just have to say, you've been a great help! I've transferred all of my plans into Evernote and will be following your experiment closely. I love the Internet!!

  21. Hey - I cannot say enough about how much I love Evernote. It has revolutionized my organization as a teacher. I am impressed by your epic endeavor and am contemplating something similar this year with my English 10 students. A few questions for you :

    1) Do Free accounts allow students to share notebooks with you and/or their classmates? Would you be able to modify or only view?

    2) What benefits do you see with sharing class notes via Evernote versus posting to a class wiki?

    Thanks and good luck!

  22. @AHolliday - I hope this answers your questions.

    1. You can share Notebooks with Free accounts, but you need Premium accounts to edit a Notebook shared with you. If students created a shared Notebook for a project so they could all store their ideas as different notes in the notebook, they would all need the Premium accounts.

    2. Class Wikis can be nice, but Evernote works well across al platforms as an App and web browser. Students are in an app based culture. Also, with a premium account, students can download notes so they can be viewed on their devices without internet access. That's a huge bonus. For my current set up in my classroom, Evernote makes the best sense. For others, Wikis might work best.

    I hope this answers your questions. Let me know if I can help you in any other way.

    The Nerdy Teacher


  23. Nick,

    Nothing wrong with trying new things. I am by not a very organized kind of guy anyway so using tools like this isn't something I tend to do. Unfortunately I am also pretty sure that if the kids don't have an opportunity to use a tool like this with me, it won't happen in school. :(

    BTW I picked up a LiveScribe pen and it tried it out by taking notes at youth camp last week. That thing has some definite potential!

  24. Great article and I love how you are using Evernote in school. I love Evernote and use it for many things and always show my students Evernote at the beginning of the year and encourage them to use it.

    Here's my blog post about Evernote, how I use it, and resources for education about Evernote.

  25. Thanks so much for writing this post. I am about to use Evernote with our high school students. I am very excited (won an Evernote premium for my students) for this opportunity from Evernote with my students. Reading your blog and the comments has given me new insight to uses.
    So I wanted to say a big "thanks" and have a great year.


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