Organising Class Material with Evernote – ELT Library January Blog Challenge

I’d been thinking about writing a post on Evernote and a couple of other web tools that I’ve been using lately when I came across the ESL Library January blog challenge, which is about how teachers use bookmarking tools. So, here’s short post on how I’ve been using Evernote to organise content for some classes that I’m currently teaching. You can also see a screencast that I made using Evernote here.

Evernote allows you to create Notebooks for storing information that you find online. When you come across something interesting, you can clip it to Evernote. The easiest way to do this is by clicking the Evernote icon in your tool bar. Here’s what Evernote looks like (Click on the image to see a larger version):

What I really like about it though, is that in addition to web pages, I can also store other kinds of notes. Notes can be added as text, photos, or voice recordings and they can sit along side the web pages that have been clipped. In practical, classroom teaching terms, I can have a clipping of a news report that I want my students to watch, a clipping of a picture gallery related to the report, and next to them both, the corresponding worksheet that I will use in class (which I had previously typed up in Evernote!). I might also have a document with vocabulary that has come up in class there too which I can easily access and add to. All those things together in the same folder for easy retrieval!

Here’s one of the worksheets that I mentioned:

I can also share these via email, Twitter etc. This is handy for sharing worksheets, for example, with students.

The desktop version of Evernote means that I can see my clippings when I’m off-line, while the Android Evernote app allows me to take photos, record voice notes or type in notes on my phone and save them directly into the corresponding Evernote folder. Here’s an Evernote Snapshot of (not the neatest!) board work (to be used in planning the next class), taken via the Evernote app on my phone:

Of course, Evernote is completely searchable and searches will even recognise text in photos!

There are also some other Evernote related products that, from a teacher’s point of view, are really nice. One in particular is the Clearly extension. This changes any webpage into a text-only version, getting rid of menus, ads and other stuff that you might not want your students to look at. It also makes them easy to print out or copy and paste. Here’s a comparison of a news article from the BBC before and after the application of Clearly:

So there you go, that’s Evernote, which, so far, has been pretty useful.


6 Responses to Organising Class Material with Evernote – ELT Library January Blog Challenge

  1. Tara Benwell says:

    Wow! This is an amazing post about how to use Evernote. I haven’t tried it yet, but now I must give it a go. (As I mentioned in the #ELTchat challenge, I’m a sucker for trying all of the tools, even though I’m determined to stick to one!) In fact, I think the Android app would be really useful for me as a writer in general. I still drag my paper-based notebook everywhere. I’m going to share your link on the #ELTChat blog. Thank you!

  2. Oli says:

    Really helpful thanks. I spend hardly any time on desktops these days because I use my iPhone for any net-related chores. What would be really handy is an ‘open in/send to Evernote’ function in the iPhone’s safari browser, the BBC news app etc… But I can’t see that happening.

    I find that apps do evolve rapidly, but I find that I never remember to consistently use all the little functions available, like the ‘add to reading list’ function on the safari app. If Evernote released a app-style browser that linked to the Evernote app itself.. Now that’d be really handy.

    Thanks again

    • Mark says:

      Thanks for your comment! – So there’s no iPhone Evernote app? That surprises me. A couple of weeks after writing the post, I’m still enjoying Evernote and I continue to find new ways to use it. It’s now become my first choice for sharing photos instantly.

      In this part of the world, we’re a little behind the curve when it comes to technology – well, at least language teachers are! – not least because they are so expensive here, so using mobile devices for lesson planning and materials selection and design is quite new to me but I can certainly see how doing such chores on a laptop will become a thing of the past.

      Actually, in the last couple of days, I’ve started using the Dolphin web browser on my phone and it’s great. It’s fast, it has some really useful features like a screen capture tool, and there’s an Evernote add-on too.



  3. […] than a blog. Unfortunately I share most of my information to students via blogs.] Of course another teacher beat me to it and actually uses Evernote in a few different ways that I am consideri… /* In […]

  4. […] Organising Class Material with Evernote – ELT Library January Blog Challenge by Mark Arthur […]

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