Utilizing Evernote for School: Teaching, Learning and Creating Portfolios

At the end of last month, I had the opportunity to attend one of Evernote workshops on ‘Creating Portfolio.’ It was intended for educators to record students’ works and save it to their portfolio. More than 25 attendees from the U.S, Australia and South Korea were seen at the half day long event. It constituted demonstrations and presentations from Evernote Ron Toledo and  Rob van Nood, an education expert with 15 years experience.

Ron Toledo opens the workshop

Ron Toledo opens the workshop

Participants were urged to create Evernote accounts beforehand and to bring along their devices to follow the hands-on training and activities. We witnessed sharing on how to use of Evernote in 1:1 environment by William Stites and Reshan Richards from Montclair Kimberley Academy.  Ron, the Senior Marketing Manager delivered sessions on general overview of Evernote and create, collect, collaborate with the digital repository platform for students to build their portfolios.

Rob, the second presenter, spoke about digital portfolios implementation with the students. A portfolio is a stockroom for students, teachers and even parents to store their projects, graphics, paintings, writing, performances and any other work they usually do.

Paper work is usually placed in a bin or stored in the filing cabinet for the most part. As the school year goes by, one will inevitably need extra space, and the work will get used less frequently due to the physical storage limitation. Ron showed how he migrated the entire paperwork and documents into digital form.

Realizing the fact that the mobile app was something he needed to capture and document paperwork at the most, he decided to go for Evernote. It’s free, user-friendly and available on almost every platform.

With the digital clipper service, he managed himself to show parents what and how their kids were doing in school on a real time basis. The documentation was shared regularly with parents and the feedback received could be followed-up instantly. Moreover, parents will be able to take their kids’ portfolio anywhere, even if they move to another school or have graduated from the respective schools. And it’s exciting for the students, as well, since they can carry along the previous work with them, access the works, and show it whenever necessary.

The Portland-based Trillium Charter School teacher and educational consultant has been working to develop online portfolios for various types of K-12 schools: private, traditional public and public charter. What he shared was deploying Evernote with his students and the program results, including the tips and tricks. He also actively encouraged us to change the conversation in education through the use of portfolios.

Montclair Kimberley was among the early adopters of the freemium note-taking and organization app. The educational institution shared their five-year journey to the 1:1 initiative: process involvement, rationale statements, buy-in, communication and professional development.

The K-12 private school launched the 1:1 program two years ago with the objective of providing its more than a thousand students and educators the best educational tools available in the industry. Every student grades 4 to 12 were equipped with a laptop (MacBook Pro), a back up drive and Evernote premium account while the teachers are entitled to a premium subscription.

Utilization of the second brain app was very intensive, ranging from language learning, performance scheduling, to project collaboration and studying plan, both inside and outside the school.

Rob shares his experiences in building portfolio

Rob shares his experiences in building portfolio

Janet Sankar did the live demonstration on how to utilize Livescribe Smartpens in capturing memories into our students’ portfolios. Smartpens record everything we write and hear so we will never miss a word. It also lets users replay meetings or lectures simply by tapping on the notes.

What other things does it do? Save our notes and record to our computer fast, giving easy access to what’s important. All of these can be easily searched and organized. We can easily send and share notes and audio to others through email, Google Docs, Facebook, Evernote, Microsoft OneNote, Google Sites or our iOS devices (iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch). Furthermore, it has own storage so we could install productivity, education and entertainment apps whenever necessary.

Smartpens come in different storage capacities, and come with personal online storage, Desktop software, Connect Premium, ink cartridges, smartpen cap and Starter dot paper notebook. These works only with Livescribe dot paper.

We did notice that most of attendees have already utilized the external brain app for their personal life and for teaching. However, not everyone already has a grasp of the complete picture on how to embrace it for their students’ needs. Definitely, the workshop is an eye-opener on how the program was designed and implemented, so that the app will achieve the desired results, especially for the students and parents.

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