You know what no one tells you about starting a school? That ending a school year is WAY more work than starting a school year. Also, no one warned me that I would be licking cheap envelopes while everyone else was enjoying the freedom of summer. We have just wrapped up our second year of Anastasis Academy. I’m not sure what it is about heading into year 3, but it feels substantial and important. Odd numbers are like that I guess. This feels like the year that all of those nagging things that we wish we had time to tweak are going to happen. Like we have a great groove to work from and now anything is possible. (This could also be the optimism that comes with every summer when schedules are a little looser and there is more time to dream).
I digress… this post is about Evernote and some neat new add-on apps I’ve been playing with. At Anastasis, we use Evernote as our digital portfolio. For the most part, this works brilliantly! Students can record text, images, and audio directly into Evernote. Notes can be shared and emailed to teachers and parents alike. Evernote makes it easy to capture learning that isn’t natively digital in their eportfolio. Snap a picture or create a short audio recording directly in Evernote and the learning is captured, searchable and sharable. All of the incredible projects that our students create during inquiry can be reflected in Evernote portfolios. Another HUGE benefit to the Evernote/iPad combo: it goes with them everywhere. Recording learning on a field trip? Check. Recording learning at home? Check. Recording learning on the fly? Check. Teachers often send students a PDF instructions for an assignment or a picture to the student’s Evernote account. Parents can login to their child’s Evernote account from any computer or iDevice to see what they are working on. Not only is learning captured on the device, but it is stored in the cloud. This means that if a student iPad gets lost, damaged, etc. their work isn’t gone.
Postach.io is quickly becoming my new BFF. You see, we had this truly convoluted way of getting student work from Evernote portfolios to an edublog or an edu 2.0 blog. It worked smoothly about 1% of the time. BUT, we want kids to be able to “publish” their work for the larger community (Anastasis community and the wider education community). Postach.io is the answer to our frustrations!! Here is how it works: Create a pistachio account, click “create site”, authenticate your Evernote account, choose an Evernote notebook subdomain… finished! Postach.io creates blog posts and pages from student notes in Evernote. All the student needs to do is create a note in a Notebook they’ve specified when creating a site. Postach.io then converts those notes to published posts and pages. Add “published” or “page” to the tags in Evernote to publish it to the Postach.io blog. So, now our students can quickly edit their notes to be post worthy, add a little tag, and voila! they have a blog post. Currently Postach.io uses Disqus to add threaded comments. (This is a secondary account for your students to create.)
Voice2Note is a fantastic way for students to turn their Evernote voice notes into text. Students record their voice (just like they normally do in Evernote), Voice2Note takes that note and converts it into text. Students can even tag their notes by saying “Tag with” at the end of their note! Now students can search even their voice notes! To use Voice2Note, students need to login to the Voice2Note website to register and connect their Evernote account. Then, students just record their voice note as they normally would. The rest gets taken care of by Voice2Note. This is another app that is going to make some of our students HAPPY!! Many students have fantastic ideas but struggle with getting their ideas out in writing. Voice2Note means that they can say their ideas, have them transcribed into text directly in Evernote, and edit from there. Not only is this ideal for struggling writers, it is also helpful for emerging writers who may have a large spoken vocabulary, but their writing is limited by what they know how to spell. Voice2Note could also be really helpful as a pre-writing brainstorming activity, during the design thinking process, or during group discussions. Previously our students were copying/pasting from Dragon Dictation…not a huge problem, but those extra minutes count!
A connection with a StudyBlue account means that students can turn their Evernote notes into digital flashcards they can study from. Study Blue makes it simple for students to turn their Evernote notes into study guides, digital flashcards, and quizzes. Students can even set up study reminders. When students create an account with StudyBlue, they have the option to Sync with their Evernote account. The integration will create a new notebook in Evernote called “Study Blue.” If students wish to, they can upgrade their account to StudyBlue+ which will allow them to share their study guides and flashcards, merge with other teachers and students. StudyBlue gives students more efficiency in their school lives. They can easily maximize their time by taking notes in Evernote (or recording voice notes and using Voice2Note to make them text) and seamlessly creating study materials with StudyBlue. Students can download the StudyBlue app to their device or log on via web browser.
***Please note that while we use iPads for our Evernote eportfolios, it isn’t necessary! Any device that has a web browser will work (even that dusty old desktop in the corner of your classroom) and all of the add-on’s mentioned above will work with or without an iPad.
We use lots of other apps that enhance our Evernote portfolio experience because of their integration with Evernote. Click here for a guide I made last year with some of our favorites!