Technology Integration for teachers

Archive for the tag “Evernote”

Technology Integration with Evernote: Rubrics

It is obvious that students today are digital natives. This doesn’t mean they understand how to use technology appropriately. Let me use one of my famous examples. When Video Cassette Players and Recorders appeared for consumers in the eighties, they were as easy to use as an audio cassette recorder. Most people knew how to press play, stop and rewind. Hardly anyone knew how to set the clock or to record from the television. That’s why they later made VCRs with automatic digital clocks and beautifully illustrated instructions with color codes to connect your television to the VCR. Most people still didn’t know how to record from the television. The same is true with our current digital natives. They don’t know what a VCR is, and they also don’t know how to properly format documents in a word processor. These are skills to be taught like any skill.
Rubrics in technology are instructions and guidelines. Rubrics assure that students produce products that comply with accepted conventions, and comply with your minimum requirements. Some of your rubrics should emphasize writing standards and specifically technical writing. For example, students should use either a sans-serif font like Arial or Verdana, or a serif font like Georgia or Times New Roman. These typefaces are both legible and readable. Standard body text should be 12 point. Heading and sub heading sizes should be either larger than the body text or bold. Titles are centered and data is organized in tables. Use numbered lists to indicate a sequence, as in a set of instructions. Un-numbered lists can be used for anything else. All lists should begin with a capital letter, Unless a list is part of a complex sentence. This sounds complicated, but these steps are important when writing any document. These are the same considerations I take into account when writing my blog.
Your rubric should also address images placed into a document. For example, an image should be in JPG, PNG or GIF format. It should be no larger than 640 by 480 pixels and no smaller than 300 by 300 pixels. This simple set of requirements requires a few skill sets from students.
Rubrics go beyond grades and become a useful tool for emphasizing standards, best practices and teaching essential technology skills. I believe that your rubric is important to assure students use and apply technology using real world application methods. Your rubric will vary with the content and assignment.
That brings me to the end of this series of articles for integrating Evernote. If you would indulge me a little, I would like to expand on Evernote integration with some additional tools that can be used in connection with Evernote to expand the options available.

Technology Integration with Evernote: Classroom Management


Classroom management is crucial with, or without technology. Evernote makes it easy to create and share notebooks with others. This can lead to some less desirable communication among students. There is nothing to prevent students from sharing notebooks with one another. This can lead to a host of problems. One problem is cheating. Another is the spreading of malicious information through gossip. One way to manage this problem is to have in place a set of guidelines and consequences. What are the expectations of students when using Evernote? What are the consequences when these expectations are broken? These expectations are just like other expectations. What do we do when lining up for lunch? What are the consequences when there is pushing and loud noise? Like traditional rules, any rules applied to technology in a classroom must be met with the same diligence. The best defense is a great offense. Engage with students constantly. Walk around and monitor their activities. Students on task are students on task. When an expectation is broken, act quickly and decisively. Have in place a process where you randomly review a student’s Evernote account. Yes, it should go without saying. You must have access to all their account log-in information. Log into their accounts and monitor their use. In essence, monitoring the use of technology is not very different from monitoring a traditional classroom. Teachers that have good traditional classroom management skills can use those same skills no matter the degree of technology integration.

This entry is short because I want to make sure teachers understand that there is no special skill set required for managing a class with technology. The tried and true works just fine.

Next week I take a look at the final component for integrating Evernote.

Technology Integration with Evernote: Setup and Overview

Evernote Integration:
A technology should be deep and extensive for integration into any classroom. By this I mean it should provide a variety of tools that allow it to be used in an extensive network. In education, this means it should provide all the necessary tools to be integrated into most, if not all, the content areas of instruction. There are a variety of tools that provide this level of integration and versatility. In order for a tool to reach this level of versatility it must exist without borders. By this I mean, it must be available in a variety of platforms and it must facilitate communication and collaboration. Above all, it must be easy and very intuitive to use.

As I said, there are a variety of tools that meet this objective. In this series of blogs I will focus on one application, Evernote. Before I begin, I should tell you that I don’t work for Evernote or get any compensation from Evernote in any way. My goal is to help educators understand how technology like Evernote can be used in classroom instruction.

Evernote is an application that does one thing and does it very well. It collects ideas and allows you to easily share those ideas with others. You can capture ideas in a variety of ways. It’s basic word processor helps to type your ideas. It uses your devices built in microphone to record your audio ideas, your device’s camera to take a picture, attach existing files from your computer, or capture web pages.

Sharing your ideas with Evernote is just as easy using traditional and social media. Email an idea to someone, post it on Facebook or Twitter. One of the options is to share a notebook with another Evernote user.

The Setup:
The first step is to look at any setup requirements. Evernote is free for the basic version. This is great because school districts are currently strapped for money. Cost is always the first roadblock that can end technology integration right in its tracks. This is why I always look at free or open source applications. Evernote works on a wide variety of platforms. This is because Evernote is an application that can be installed onto Apple, Windows and a wide variety of mobile devices. If you are a Linux district, a third party called Nevernote provides an application. Evernote doesn’t have to be installed. Evernote is a web application. Installed applications tie your device to Evernote on the web. You can log into Evernote’s web site and use it directly.

We can see right away the setup is going to be relatively easy. The application is available for all platforms. Download and install the client. Most teachers can usually do this easily enough. If you are part of a larger district you might have someone at your campus dedicated to do this job. Most districts today lock down computers so only a dedicated administrator can install or remove software. This is done for various security reasons. Our district is one such district. This could be a hurdle but it helps to coordinate with the computer administrator to get this done. Remember, he or she is just as busy and it helps to work together. If you are part of the emerging districts that have a policy of bring your own device, then installation is easily accommodated on your personal devices.

Why install? Isn’t it also web based? Yes, it is web based, and software installation is not required. Networks aren’t always reliable. With more users accessing a school’s network there are times that getting anything done can be painfully slow. Using the application gives some added benefits. The application saves a copy onto a device and syncs a copy onto the Evernote web account. With an application you and students always have access to information even without an Internet connection.

Creating an account for Evernote is quick and easy. All that is required is an email and the user to create a username and password. This account can be created within the application or on the Internet. A student can be up and running with Evernote in under a minute.

What can Evernote do?
This might have been the first question I addressed, but I saved it for this part. Evernote is a note taking application. It comes with basic word processing tools. For most integration purposes that’s all you will need. Students can insert images, audio, and attach files. Students can upload up to 60 MB each month. This might seem small, but most text notes can be measured in kilobytes.

At this point I think we need to redefine Evernote. This is important so you can understand what it can do in a classroom. Evernote is your student’s notebook. It is the notebook where students store their classroom notes, write journal entries, do their homework, and take a quiz, test or exam. This is also your teacher notebook. It is where you provide notes to students. Distribute and collect homework assignments, quizzes, tests and exams.

Now your asking yourself, how can Evernote help me do all that?

Evernote has another option that greatly extends its capabilities. Evernote has the option to create notebooks to organize all your word processing assignments. A student can have a math, science, or history notebook. Students can write their content notes within each notebook. Notebooks can be placed into stacks. Stacks are several notebooks grouped into a category. A student can have a science stack, which includes a notebook for notes, one for vocabulary lists, one for homework assignments and one for lab work.

As a teacher you can have a similar format. You can create notebooks for each of the content areas. In addition you can stack notebooks to include such things as a classroom syllabus, homework assignments, assessments, daily assignments and so on.

Thus far I’ve talked about how to organize information into notebooks and stacks. This is important because as a teacher this is how I would introduce Evernote to students in my classroom. Understanding the fundamentals is important because you will be using these basics over and over again. Once this set of fundamentals is in place you can take on the crucial process of collaboration.

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: