Tag Archives: Evernote

5 Great Tech Tools to Prep for the School Year

It’s the end of July and the school year is just around the corner (T-minus 19 days for me). Here are some great apps to help you organize in preparation of the school year.


Courtesy of Pixabay

Courtesy of Pixabay

Evernote (Free & Paid) – A great tool to organize your lessons, resources, notes, to do lists, and more. Evernote is a highly versatile tool for organizing your life.

Google Calendar (Free) – If you have a Google Account, you can easily create a Google Calendar. With calendar you can organize your personal and professional life, create shared calendars for collaborative projects, and keep specialized calendars for your classes.

Socrative (Free) – Build great bell ringer activities and exit tickets with this student response system. With the release of Socrative 2 has come a series of robust upgrades including Google Drive integration, Common Core tagging, individual student reports, and so much more.

ShopSavvy (Free) –  A barcode and QR code scanner, ShopSavvy allows you to scan the barcode of an item in store and will return price checks of stores in the area as well as online deals. This is a great way to hunt down back to school deals!

Genius Scan (Free & Paid) – This is my favorite camera scanner app. If you are looking to digitize your handouts or reading lists, this tool will allow you to create digital documents (PDF, JPEG, etc) using only your camera and then transfer documents via email, DropBox, Google Drive, Evernote, and more.

There are a lot more tools out there that can help you organize and prep for the school year. However, don’t forget the most vital element in gearing up for Fall – rest up and recharge!

5 Ways to Be More Productive in the New Year With Evernote

Screen Shot 2013-12-31 at 3.26.14 PMIf you’re a regular reader of my blog, then you know that I love Evernote! I’ve written about it several times:

Evernote: A Great Tool for Organizing Teachers & Students

Using Evernote to Go Paperless in the Classroom

Using Evernote for Research

Evernote is an excellent tool to help you organize your projects, ideas, notes, and more. If one of your New Year’s Resolutions is to be more organized, then check out these 5 great tips to help you become more organized and productive in the New Year with Evernote.

Getting Started with Evernote


Evernote is one of the most popular organization platforms out there. If you’re not using it, I’m sure that you’ve heard of it.

If you have been wanting to try Evernote but haven’t been able to find the time to sit down with it, check out these great tutorials from Evernote themselves:

Getting Started with Evernote for Mac

Getting Started with Evernote for Windows Desktop

Getting Started with Evernote for Windows Phone

Getting Started with Evernote for Windows 8 (Touch)

Getting Started with Evernote for iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad

Getting Started with Evernote for Android

These introductions are simple, well organized, and easy to follow. They’re great for figuring out the basic ins and outs of Evernote!

How to Use iPads for Personal Professional Development

This article is reblogged from my post on Edudemic.

This post is adapted from a talk that I gave at the iPad Summit in Atlanta. The Boston iPad Summit 2013 is now accepting proposals and offers discounts for early bird registration!

As an educator, when I am given a new tool my first thought is “how can I use this in the classroom? How will I roll this out?” However, I have learned over the years that I need to pause, step back, and think, “Okay, how is this tool going to make my life and job easier? How can I use iPad to make me a better teacher?” Before I rush ahead with how I am going to roll out this device in my classrooms, I need to effectively incorporate it into my life and figure out how to use iPads to make me a better teacher.

iPad for Consumption


It is true that iPad is a great device for consumption. You can easily use your iPad to listen to pertinent podcasts, read news and blog articles, and share what you have learned with the broader educational community. Here are some ways that I use my iPad for consumption professionally.


Podcasts are simply online radio shows. Some are broadcast by professional organizations (likeNPR or Harvard University), whereas others are created by individuals with a particular passion and/or expertise (like Mobile Reach, hosted by educators). Browsing the Apple iTunes Store or using the Podcasting App, you can easily find shows that relate to your professional interests and needs. You can listen at your leisure, pause, fast-forward, rewind, and share! I even assembled a brief list of great Podcasts for Educators to help get you started.

News Readers

News Readers (commonly called RSS feeds) allow you to keep up with your favorite news sites, blogs, and more. They’re pretty easy to navigate and allow you to browse all of your content in one place. With the recent death of Google Reader (I am still in mourning), there are a lot of services that have popped up to fill the void. They’re also free! Try out Feedly or, for a magazine-type interface, Flipboard. By using an RSS service, you don’t have to keep up with a hundred bookmarks or subscribe to numerous email lists. Instead, you have one single way to access a lot of different sources. Better yet, you can share these with your PLN (Facebook, Twitter, and other Social Media tools are built right in)! Here’s a brief list of blogs/news sources for educators to help get you started.

Social Media/PLN

In a previous article, I wrote about how to kickstart your PLN this summer. Social Media mobile apps for iPad are sleek, intuitive, and often integrated with many of your other apps (like your RSS Reader). Building and sharing with your PLN on iPad is simpler than you can imagine. Download your favorite tools (TwitterFacebook, and others) to get started. This is a great way to keep in communication with your PLN on the go.

Self Directed Learning

There is a lot of content out there to help you learn about new tools and techniques. I love to use the new YouTube app  to watch videos that I need for my professional learning. I may want to explore a new iMovie technique, learn about the new Evernote tools, or watch a great webinar. Here’s a great, short list of YouTube Channels for educators that can help you get started.

iPad for Curation

ipad free online course

The next key step is learning how to store, organize, and access content and material on your iPad. As iPad is highly portable, it is more reliant on cloud computing and sharing than other devices. There are numerous tools out there that you can use to help keep yourself organized on the go. The benefit of learning how to use these tools is that you can then turn around and implement them in the classroom – helping you to go paperless (or less paper-y), integrate digital tools, or roll out digital programs. Here are a few of my favorites:


I use Evernote to store so many things in my personal and professional life. You can literally store anything in its databases: documents, images, websites, videos, lists, and more. In fact, I wrote a brief article on using Evernote to help myself and my students stay organized. Also, Evernote works across platforms and devices, so I can access the notes on my iPad on my phone, at school, or at home!


DropBox is another great (and free) cloud computing tool. You can use DropBox to access and edit files across devices and platforms. Throw a presentation in your Dropbox folder at school, take it on your iPad to edit, and then present it on a third device (with your changes in tact). It’s highly versatile (and free). Check out some great ideas for employing DropBox in the classroom.

Google Drive

Google Drive is also a great collaborative tool, allowing you to share and edit documents with an individual or a group. You can use the Google Drive iPad App to create, edit, and share documents on your iPad. Like DropBox, items stored in your Google Drive can be access from any device and across platforms. This is great for me as I’m always on the go!

PDF Editors

PDF really is the format for iPad. With the myriad of PDF editors available for iPad (iAnnotate,PDF ExpertGood Reader, to name a few), you can take virtually any document and make notes, highlight, add voice notes, and more. By the way, all of these services also work with Evernote, DropBox, and Google Drive! You can easily access a document, write up comments, save changes, and share with others. When I first got my iPad, I tried to go as paperless as possible and would import handouts as PDFs so that I could keep and write notes on my portable device.

iPad for Creation

ipads in classrooms

iPad is not simply a consumption tool, it’s a powerful mobile creation device. Before assigning creative projects for your students, start playing with those tools yourself! Once you see how easy it is to be creative on iPad, I know you’ll be eager to adapt it in your classroom. There are many ways to flex your creative muscle on the iPad.

Make a movie

Film creation has a myriad of potential applications (documentaries, sharing experiments, observing a monologue, and more). There are numerous ways to make a movie on iPad, but my favorite tool remains iMovie. Try it out yourself – record a home video for yourself, a lesson for your students, put together a digital story, and more.

Record a podcast

Garage Band will let you record and manipulate sound more easily than you can imagine. Try recording a short podcast, something you could share with your students (such as a lesson when you’re out of town)! If you’re musically creative, write a brief song about a topic you cover in class. It’s a highly flexible and easily learned tool.

Make just about… anything

One of my favorite tools is Explain Everything. It gives you a truly “blank slate,” to createscreencasts, videos, images, sounds, and more. If you want to see some great ways that Explain Everything has been adapted in the classroom, check out Greg Kulowiec’s article, “Explain Everything x 4 Ways.” Throw together a screencast of one of your lessons, a step-by-step process for a science experiment, or anything else that is relevant for your class! You really are only limited by your imagination.

At the end of the day, I want to encourage you to explore how iPad can work for you before you rush to employ it in the classroom. Getting more familiar with hardware and software will ultimately help you to employ these tools more effectively in your classroom!

If you would like to learn more about the creative potential of the iPad, check out EdTechTeacher’s iPad As… page as well as their free webinars that cover tools, tricks, pedagogy and application! You can also take their free online course at Modern Lessons –5 Powerful But Little-Known Ways To Use Your Apple iPad.

Use Evernote to Work Smarter & Boost Productivity

5330351382_b13249418cEveryone knows that I’m a huge fan of Evernote. If you’ve wanted to use this amazing tool on a task but not sure how to get started, check out these great tips from Joshua Zerkel. After reading them, pick out a project and get started! Remember that Evernote is a free product that is cross-platform compatible!

Evernote: A Great Tool for Organizing Teachers & Students!

This has been reblogged from my post at PLPVoices 

evernote-logo-300x298If you are not familiar with Evernote, now is the time. Evernote is a free web tool and application that helps you to organize your notes, emails, images, and, well…. everything. It’s hard to describe, but this 50-second video highlights some of the key features and abilities.

Evernote can be a great application for teachers, both to keep yourself coordinated and to facilitate student learning. I want to highlight a few ways that I have employed Evernote not only to make my life a little easier as a teacher, but to help my students and my classroom stay more focused and organized.

First, if you need to familiarize yourself with a quick tutorial, try out the “Getting Started Guide For Teachers.” This will help you with the basics of setting up an account, creating notes, and syncing across platforms. Trust me, it’s very easy and you’ll be up and running in just a few minutes. If you are already a more advanced user, then make sure that you set aside some time to browse their blog and YouTube channel for more advanced tips and tricks!

Organizing myself

Teachers have tons of “stuff” on our plates. Most of it is in the form of emails, calendar events, notes, homework, and to-do lists. If you’re like me, you probably have this scattered across more places than you would care to admit. The great thing about Evernote is that you can use it as the repository for all of that “stuff.”


The key to Evernote success is that you set up some basic parameters first. Begin by coming up with some categories — don’t worry about being all inclusive, you can always add more later. I started with a notebook for each class that I taught (above). In these various class-related notebooks I stored links to articles, primary source material, books, and more. I also added notes on my lesson plans. This is a great way to organize all of that additional content that I find on the go, as I scan my personal learning network feeds. I’ve also created notebooks for my side projects (my blog, the clubs I organize, my favorite recipes, you name it).

What’s great about keeping a digital notebook of material is that it’s paperless (more green, less clutter), it’s portable (I have My notes on my cell, computer at home, and computer at work – really, anywhere I can access the internet), and it’s readily searchable! Have you ever misplaced that article you wanted to distribute in a large stack of papers? Not anymore!

Using Evernote with students

Evernote is also a great tool for students to organize all of their own content. I encourage all of my students who bring a smartphone, tablet, or laptop to my class to download the application. They can organize all of their notes and handouts in an Evernote notebook – it’s portable, searchable, indestructible (even if you they lose their phone, their data is safe in the Cloud).  In addition to systematizing notes for class, it’s a great tool to use for research activities – students can store images, PDFs, and even hand-written notes (using their device’s digital camera or a free add-on app like Penultimate). Did I mention that hand-written notes are also searchable?!

EvernoteForStudentCollaborationIf a teacher distributes PowerPoints or handouts electronically (I like to do this via PDF — I highlighted my approach in an earlier PLP Voices article about DropBox), these can also be opened and stored in Evernote notebooks. It’s a great way for students to keep all of this material at hand and in one place. When they prepare for a quiz or a test, all of that content is in one location. Likewise, as they prep for a paper or presentation, they have all of their research at their fingertips. Literally. (Evernote can also be a cool collaboration tool — check out the Nerdy Teacher webinar by clicking on the image.)

Another great feature that enhances the student-teacher relationship is that Evernote notebooks are shareable. I like to examine students’ notebooks from time to time (for a grade or just to ensure they are on task). Students with an Evernote notebook simply share it with me. This eliminates the need to collect 85 sloppy, hand-written spirals or three ring binders. Instead, you can access all of their files (whenever you choose) from your computer, tablet, or smartphone. Maximum portability.

Should you go Premium?

While the basics of Evernote are free to all users, there is a premium service that costs $45/year. In all honesty, the basic features meet most users’ needs. I was a basic user for over a year before I upgraded. I found that the more I used it, the more I needed the higher upload rates, faster customer service, and, my favorite feature, searchable PDF documents. The upgrade became worth it. My advice here: play with the service for a while and decide whether or not you need the extra features.

Concluding thoughts

What I really love about Evernote is that it is inherently flexible. I find new ways to use it almost every day. I love it that — other than my initial investment of time — I don’t have to put a lot of thought or energy into organizing the digital pieces of my teaching (or personal) life. The search features make everything so readily accessible (whether or not I remember to put it in the right binder or give it the appropriate “tag”). Best yet, it’s free!

Using Evernote to Go Paperless in Your Classroom

I often dream of going paperless in my classroom. If it is an objective of yours, Evernote is a great tool to help you get there.

If you want some great tips on how to go paperless in your own life and in the classroom, check out Jamie Todd’s (Evernote Ambassador for paperless living) Evernote Blog Feed: Going Paperless. It has some great tips, how to’s, and more! It’s a great location to get some ideas for use in your paperless classroom!