One of the fun responsibilities of being an Evernote Ambassador is having the opportunity to publish article about how I use Evernote in my real life, as a teacher and as a Regular Joe. I’m a little over a year-and-a-half into a love affair with this program, and I truly can’t imagine how I’d run my life without access to all my notes on my iPhone, my iPad, and my MacBook.
Therefore, when it came time for me to write about my experience with Evernote and how I use it, I knew exactly which areas to talk about. Here is a link to the article I wrote, translated into Chinese for the Evernote Taiwan Tumblr, and below is my English translation.
- Name: Chris Webb
- Location: Taipei, Taiwan
- Evernote Ambassador: Education
- Company: Taipei Adventist Preparatory Academy
- Profession: English Teacher / Technology Coordinator
- Website: http://chriswebb.info
- Twitter: @webby37
Chris Webb is the senior English teacher and Technology Coordinator at Taipei Adventist Preparatory Academy, an American high school in Taipei, Taiwan. It is the first all iPad school in Taiwan—every student and teacher has their own iPad that they use for a textbook, workbook, assignment book, and note taking device. He loves chocolate chip cookies, passport stamps, the “A-ha!” look on students’ faces when something clicks in the classroom, and free Wi-Fi. Chris uses Evernote to organize teaching resources, to share notes with his students, plan his travels, and stay on top of everyday life.
I use Evernote, Everywhere
- 3 Macs (classroom, home, and “travel” computer)
I use Evernote to share notes with my students.
I teach about 80 students in 4 classes, and I primarily use Evernote to share documents. Each student has a two-folder relationship with me:
One class notebook, shared view-only, with each class, where I deposit class notes, photograph my whiteboard with Kustomnote, and leave worksheets for students.
One homework notebook, shared to allow modifications, with each student, where they leave their homework and I grade and leave voice feedback.
Graphically, it looks like this:
It takes a little while to get the students set up in the beginning, but once it’s done, it’s a fantastic, secure way for each student to submit work at home, at school, or even traveling on the MRT. I usually have students turn in basic homework assignments, quizzes, and notes in their individual notebooks, and I’m free to grade them on Evernote on my classroom Mac, my Office Windows machine, or my personal computer at home, or even on my iPad in a taxi! Best of all, with Evernote Premium, I don’t have to carry any papers home, as every note is available to me offline!
I use Evernote to organize my teaching resources.
When I talk to other teachers about Evernote, I’m almost always asked if I like it more than Dropbox. My answer is always the same—I like Dropbox, and I use it every day, but I use Evernote and Dropbox in different ways. Dropbox is my “heavy-lifting” program—it’s like a truck where I can put a movie or a large file that I want backed up in a few locations. But for smaller files, notes, and teaching resources (like Word Docs and PDFs), I love Evernote, especially for organizing. It’s nice to be able to put documents into notebooks, to sort them by date and title, and, most of all, to organize through tagging. For example, if I have a quiz I’ve created for my British Literature class, I’ll tag it “British Literature” (for the class), “Fall 2012” (for when I created and used it), “Quiz” (for the type of assignment it is), “Shakespeare” (for the unit), and “Vocabulary” (for what the quiz is testing over).
This makes finding documents and resources very easy to access at all times. Added to this is one of Evernote’s greatest selling points—being able to search within documents like PDFs and text in pictures—and it’s easy to see the value of Evernote as a resource storehouse.
I use Evernote to plan my travels.
In my personal life, I’ve found ways to use Evernote to organize passwords, important financial documents, receipts, recipes, and restaurant menus, but my favorite personal use of Evernote has been in my travel planning. As I read interesting articles online, I clip them (using Evernote’s brilliant Clearly Chrome extension) for reference while I’m traveling. That way, when I’m on the road in another country, I already have the resources to help me get around, find restaurants, and know the fun things to do.
An added bonus is Evernote for iPhone’s ability to use my phone’s GPS when I create notes. While I’m traveling, I find myself taking notes of places I enjoy going, restaurants I want to eat at, and things I want to see. The ability to look at those notes graphically on a map makes it easy to not only access my research from before the trip began, but to find locations when I’m outside the country without a dependable internet connection.
I use Evernote to stay on top of my everyday life.
I’m an organization obsessive who’s tested a variety of organizational styles, but my favorite system I’ve ever used is adapted from The Secret Weapon, an Evernote-flavored version of David Allen’s Getting Things Done (GTD) philosophy. It’s a sophisticated system that you should look into yourself, but in short, it’s revolutionized the way that I get work done at school and at home. By looking at my lists of increasing importance, I’m always aware of what projects need to be done next and what projects can afford to be dealt with later.
Every night, my final ritual before going to bed is to look at my giant GTD to-do list and figure out what gets bumped up in priority, what stays at its current priority, and what can afford to be pushed back. That way, the next day, when I have a few free moments, I can work on whatever is at the top of my list, and when I have more time, I can work my way down the list. The system takes a bit of time to get used to at the beginning, but once you get it, it will revolutionize your life! Give it a try!