Evernote for the Classroom

I’m back to my favorite topic (besides dark chocolate): EVERNOTE. This “remember everything” program has helped me in a wide variety of ways, but it was only recently that I experienced first-hand how useful it could be in a classroom setting.

Last weekend, I had the privilege of attending an extended class on Catholicism and the Arts presented by the diocese of Kansas City in conjunction with the Maryvale Institute, a distance learning university in Birmingham, U.K. That was a mouthful, wasn’t it? And the classes were just as jam-packed with information – terrific visuals as we looked at examples of Christian art through the centuries, along with a variety of new information provided by our course instructors.

What better place to take Evernote for a spin?

I usually adore taking notes in class…because I like to doodle in the margins of my notebooks. I’ll tell you up front: Evernote is mostly doodle-free. But for keeping my notes organized, it’s far superior to random stacks of paper.

For this class, I created a notebook just for the course, and then each class session was an individual note inside that notebook. I used the desktop application rather than the web version of Evernote, because I wanted to make sure I’d still have my notes even if the wireless connection was interrupted. But because we did have wi-fi, I could also do a quick image search in my web browser for each of the pieces of art we were examining. It was a matter of right-clicking on the image to copy it, then pasting it directly into the note along with the rest of the information from the class. Zap! Instant record of our discussion.

I think I even could have used the audio recording capabilities of Evernote to have a transcript of the class, but I didn’t try that out. I did use a handy little extension called Skitch to copy some diagrams as part of the instructor’s presentation. I’ll tell you more about that next week, but for now – what do you think?

Would you try digital notetaking or are you more old-school? I do think that as a teacher, it would be frustrating to be talking to a room full of typing students, but that seems to be more and more the norm on many college campuses. (And for the record, we asked beforehand if the instructors would mind if we took notes via our keyboards.)

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Copyright 2012 Dorian Speed

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