We try not to play favourites here, but Evernote is fast becoming the most popular tool with several members of the PLN team. Evernote is an online note taking service that could well change the way you organise your life.
While there are a number of note taking services availble, Evernote is so popular because it is available for free across a range of platforms. You can access it on Mac or Windows computers, through any web browser and also on most smartphones and tablets. Notes made on any of these devices will be synchronised ‘in the cloud’ and will automatically be available on any other device you use. (Note: As with all cloud based storage services, you may need to consider what information you are comfortable storing. For example, we would not recommend storing any identifiable student information within free cloud based services.)
Have a look at this introductory video below.
To get started, visit the Evernote website, and create an account. You can download the software to install on your computer, but you can also access Evernote from any computer with a web browser (like Internet Explorer, Firefox or Safari) by choosing Web sign in after you’ve created your account. You can also install versions of Evernote on a range of smartphones and tablets (such as Apple, Android, Windows mobile and Blackberry).
Below is a fantastic video which shows you how to get started with Evernote and add a range of new notes. Though it shows how to use the Mac program, you will find that Evernote has a very similar interface on all platforms you use. (10 minutes)
You can make simple text notes, record audio files, take photographs or save web links within notes. The typed contents of any note can be searched, and Evernote will also scan any handwriting that appears in pictures and allow you to search these as well. Adding your own tags to notes allows you to organise each note by subject, and you can also group notes in notebooks (folders) that you can create. You might have a personal notebook, that is organised into your interests. Likewise, you could have a professional notebook that is organised by subject. The key to making Evernote as powerful as possible is to make sure you tag each note with relevant subjects, so you can easily find what you are looking for later on. However, if you do forget to tag notes, Evernote still contains a powerful search function.
Evernote may be the perfect tool for students to organise their studies. For a comprehensive list of ways students might use Evernote, read this post at Richie Lambert’s blog. There is also an Evernote for Schools site which is worth a look. It contains videos about how schools are using Evernote in the classroom.
One great feature of Evernote is that every account comes with a unique email address. You can email notes and web pages to the address and they will be automatically added to your notes. This is great for mobile users. Most major web browsers also allow you to install an Evernote Web clipper, which will install a button in your web browser that will allow you to save any web page you visit to Evernote with a couple of clicks. This video below shows you how to install and use the web clipper.
While Evernote may look overwhelming to begin with, it is one of the most powerful tools we’ve seen for organsing your life. Spend some time playing around with it, and make sure you email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a message in the comments below if you have any questions about using Evernote. We’ll be happy to record some video answers for you.