Yesterday I took part in EdcampHOME. It was a great experience being able to “hangout” and participate. Watching the home base problem-solve as things occurred was a reminder that learning is a messy/energetic/inventive/creative experience made better when shared.
First off, thanks to the organizers – Kelly Kermode @coachK, Karl Lindgren-Streicher @LS_Karl, Shawn White @swpax and David Theriault @davidtEDU – for taking the hours before hand to get things organized and to put the necessary tech together so that things were able to flow during the morning. Thanks to the moderators for their time and for putting in time before to be able to put together the different sessions.
It was great to be able to mix and mingle with other educators and take part in a discussion session. I had some technical difficulty of my own – having to switch back and forth from my ipad to MacBook because my poor old MacBook can’t keep up!
Session 1 – I wasn’t able to join the first session on ePortfolios although I did get to listen. There was great ideas and I’m looking forward to getting my hands on the chat notes as there were some great ideas posted with ideas for making things work more seamlessly when creating and using the ePortfolios.
Session 2 was on Evernote – one of my favourite tools. I use it for lesson/unit planning and organizing my life. I had a great session with a number of educators from around the US – which is different just because I live in a small rural town in Saskatchewan, Canada. At the end of the day, I did a SLAM about Evernote because, as an administrator, teacher, researcher and father of 8 children, I have looked for something that will allow me to put things in one place. With Evernote and the app Awesome Note, I have that combination! And, it helps me make sure that I don’t forget important things like my children’s birthdays, my anniversary, my parents’ birthdays or all the events that my wife has scheduled me to drive to! It also allows me to organize for classes – keep my ideas for all those books I’m going to write and the TED-Edtalks I’m going to give and for important recipes that I use like Sunday Morning Waffles!
I had a few twitter requests to talk about how I use Evernote. Now, I’m nowhere near as well versed in Evernote as someone like Nicholas Provenzano – the nerdy teacher who is an Evernote Ambassador but I think that it is such a versatile tool, it provides so many different options that it can be used for whatever you would like – file storage, planning, organizing or, with the pistach.io, it could be your blogging platform – which I will be trying over the next little while to see how it works.
My Evernote Experience
As a father of 8 children, principal, teacher, coach and official chauffeur to the 2012 – 13 only goalie for the girls’ midget hockey team, it’s important that I’m kinda organized – Sunday’s are my unorganized day – I cook breakfast and then try to not do anything related to work so I can spend time with my children. In order to manage that, I’ve tried all kinds of organizational tools – paper, todo’s, calendars… all in the name of trying to reduce the time spent on organizational tasks and other such things so I have more time for what’s important – relationships.
Because I use my ipad as my main tool, I have found an app –
Awesome Note – that allows me to access Evernote and my calendars – keep track of all my life in one place plus I have organized the Evernote notebooks that are essential so they sync with Awesome Note and allow me to be able to access information no matter where I am.
I use the calendar and folders to keep myself organized with my classes. Each notebook contains notes that relate to the classes that I teach. As you can see, I also have my todo’s for the months with weekly notes, separated into days. My calendars are linked through my ical and I add my reminders and ideas. Because I don’t want all my notebooks in Awesome Note
I have a few notebooks not linked – mostly for syncing reasons. My IFTTT and my emailed items are not synced.
In my units, I import my unit plans and then use them for planning purposes – I then use this for my week and daily planning. With the calendar function, I can plan my assessment through the semester by also looking at what else is going on in the school since our staff uses a google calendar to plan all school events and most teachers update their major assignments on the calendar. It has helped with ensuring that we don’t have a whole whack-sack of projects due at one time.
Because the calendar function works with my ical which integrates into Outlook and GCal, I can add items on my Awesome Note calendar and then they end up on the calendars in my Outlook – which I don’t really use that much anymore – and my GCal – which I use much more because of the staff integration. I’d prefer one place but that isn’t possible at this time.
I use the note type option that syncs with my reminders and ical. It takes a bit of time to get this all set up but it is well worth it. It does mean you need to have an icloud account and have your devices synced. My reminders then end up in Reminders if I need them. The same is true for the events.
I use AN and Evernote to collect all my information that I am working on and also as a place to dump ideas. This allows me to be better organized and, I would say, has reduced my missing any of the due dates that I have as an administrator since I add all the important dates when I get them and then, depending on what is needed, am able to gather the needed information into the folder.
This is especially useful because I use a few different tools for things like timetabling/staffing. In my last position, the school had 19 teachers from K – 12 which made using timetabling software impractical – there were too many variables with time differences and other oddities. So, I would use a spreadsheet system which allowed me to move things around. I also would use Notability because it allowed me to cut and move things easily.
The above shot is from my Evernote account where I have been working on teaching assignments. I then make a pdf – send it to Evernote and then I have a record of what I was doing – as I sometimes change my mind and then realize that that was a mistake!
I use two tools for meetings – one is Notability which I have begun to use for my note taking now that the ipad is my “goto” tool.
I like it because I can use a stylus or type which allows me to some great options for different places. I like the note option for meetings because I can import the agenda and then either type or write additional comments depending on the situation. Sometimes typing isn’t great for conversations but a quick note works. I also use this when meeting with parents – maybe making a note before-hand – typing to get things more in an organized manner and then writing as we meet. I have found the following stylus to be very useful as it is more “pen/pencil” like in feel and action.
The one on the left is what I started with while the one on the right – a Jot Classic by adonit is the one I currently use. This is an example of how I added my own notes for a School Improvement Day agenda that we had this year.
Now, I use Evernote for a whole host of things – with one of the vp’s we shared information via Everntoe – it’s much more manageable than email. I have a few other staff with whom I share information via Evernote files. I did not use it with students as a portfolio platform, although I can see it working tremendously well. I think that the option to blog from a notebook would make it even more so!
I also use it for my personal life – so to end this post, I’ll share with you a Waffle recipe which I use – I have been gathering a variety of recipes over time – adding them to a file. I haven’t been able to digitize all the recipes but maybe this will motivate me! Enjoy!