We’re all living on an information diet and as with every other diet, we have to make it healthy. Our information diet is as individual as our nutrition, based on what is expected from us in our jobs and also personal preferences. What we all have in common though is to find a way to deal with the increasing amount of information, to digest it, read it later, curate it and find it again when we need it.
The same is true for our teaching. We need to deal with our materials, curricula, useful posts and information from colleagues, videos and podcasts. Everything we want to be informed of and consume to do our job as well as possible. And, of course, our students need to do the same in their budding academic careers.
Evernote is a handy service that helps us remember and act upon ideas, projects and experiences. The app is free, and the cool thing is that it helps you to stay organized across all the different devices you use.
You can take notes in the form of formatted text, a full website or parts of a page as well as archive photos and memos. Depending on your own organisational talent or preferences, Evernote gives you various options to structure your notes and ideas, such as putting them in different folders, adding tags, annotations, setting your own comments and more.
Personally, I haven’t encountered any information that “got lost” where I wasn’t able to find it again. I would describe the search even as powerful. Though the app gives you lots of options on how you want to organize your information, the interface is clean and makes it user-friendly. After some minutes of getting familiar with the service, anybody is able to use it without training. No comparison here with some of our “dear” LMS or Moodle.
There are two types of accounts available on Evernote, a free, ad-supported account that offers limited usage of 60 MB/month and a (very affordable) premium account of 1GB/month usage. I’m a regular Evernote user and I haven’t met the limit of my free account yet. However, I can imagine that heavy users who organize everything with Evernote will find the upgrade option to premium useful and even necessary. It depends a great deal on your personal requirements.
As mentioned above, the Evernote team put a lot of effort into giving us the best possible user experience no matter what platform you might be on. It’s available for Windows, MAC iOS and Android both phones and tablets, but the web app itself is very nice and I’ve found the so called Web Clipper (available as Chrome and Firefox extensions) very handy, too. Other nice products of Evernote are Skitch which lets you annotate your saved clips or Peek which turns the iPad into a flashcard learning device.
There is nothing in the way of getting organized anymore, and if you’re of the organized type already I’m sure you’ll still find Evernote useful as it saves you time and hassle.
If you would like to learn more about the philosophy behind this great product, I recently had the pleasure of interviewing John McGeachie, VP of group accounts at Evernote, with my co-host Christopher Dawson of ZDNet Education. We talk about how the service is being used by teachers, entire schools and students.
Everything else can be found on their website Evernote for Schools (education institutions are offered the possibility of a 50% discount) http://evernote.com/schools/
Feature image courtesy of Flickr, othree