Monday, April 9, 2012

App Review: Evernote

Some of the best education apps out there are ones you won't find in the category of education. When you visit the education category, you might find some good ones. But you usually encounter a lot of databases or apps to develop rote skills. Which is good for some applications. But we want students to develop higher-order thinking and improved problem solving. There is no better app for blowing up Grapplings than Evernote. And it's FREE!

Evernote was probably designed for business professionals. Basically, Evernote is a web-based note organizer. But when you look at the features and use a bit of imagination, you'll see what a huge asset it can be for teachers and students. Here's some basic information about features and usage:

1. Create notes offline - full-time wireless access is important to ipad deployment, but it's not a must. What makes Evernote so powerful is that you can create notes offline. So take the ipad to your outdoor classroom, on a field trip, or anywhere around the school. Create your notes, and when you get back to a wireless location, they'll sync.

2. Create notebooks for students, groups, classes - Evernote is a powerful tool for portfolios. From your desktop, you can create any number of notebooks for any organizational structure. So you could make one notebook for each student, reading group, class, or anything else. Then store the notes in that notebook to record documents or progress over time.

3. Share - super easy to share notebooks or individual notes. When a student does something awesome, get the URL from the note and share it with parents.

4. Embed images and audio to your notes - This is where the power of the app becomes evident. Students can take pictures with their ipad and embed straight to their note. They can then add their own written notes or (and this is the coolest part) add narration to show their thinking! Think about this: a science experiment completely documented using a series of notes with images and student narration. Powerful stuff.

5. Multiple devices on one account - teachers can create an account for their classroom. Then login to the individual devices so all students have access to class documents. This deployment is perfect for elementary folks. Or secondary students can create their own accounts and share notes with the teacher.

That's just a bit for now. But if you are a teacher (or note), you are missing out if you haven't explored the possibilities of Evernote. Go to the App store now. It's FREE!

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