It has taken me a long time to learn to love Evernote. In my earlier days of searching for productivity hacks, Evernote came up as one of the 10 best tools on every list, and I never saw the benefit of it. Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago, I went on a binge blogreading spree looking up all things SBG, PBL, and every other new wave educational acronym you can think of. I had poured through dozens of websites, and was forgetting where I found some great link that I looked at two days before.
I re-downloaded Evernote, and gave it another try. I setup a free account, and then downloaded the Google Chrome Evernote Widget. What happened years ago was that I tried to save one or two links, and then forgot about Evernote. In order to make Evernote effective, this what I did.
1. Download evernote for your computer, and then go in and setup a couple of folders based on what you typically look for. I created “SBG,” “Common Core,” and “Teaching Helps.”
2. Then I spent about two hours searching through all of the helpful websites that I wanted to clip, and then I clicked on the little elephant hanging out on the top right of my chrome window. This is the widget I linked above. It brought up this sidebar.
For blogs, I would make sure that “Article” is selected, and it will highlight the area that will be saved. (On the left hand side, of this image is what will be saved.) Typically, Evernote will clip just the blog post, but if you want to include the comments, just scroll down and click on the + sign, and the window will grow and capture that as well.
Also, under “File,” will be the list of your folders. Select it, and choose which folder you want to put the article in. You can also use the Tags feature, to give some more specifics about why you are saving this. For my Common Core folder, I have tags such as “Fractions,” “Number Sense” “Ratios,” in order to place specific activities that I can find later for each unit that I teach.
Click “Save” and you’re done with this site! What is great about Evernote, is that after a saving a dozen or so websites, it automatically suggested which folder to place the article. It’s not 100%, but it is learning your habits, and helps you organize.
3. The free Evernote account allows you to save 60MB of things each month. I began saving a lot of links, pdfs, activities, and I ate up my allowance within two days. So I bit the bullet, and paid for the premium at $5 a month. I figured that if I quit using Evernote, I could cancel it.
4. Now that things are saved in evernote, you can look in your folders to find what you have saved. Or if you have a vague recollection of something you want to see again but not the site you went to, just type the word and every note with that word will pop up! For a previous post, I remembered someone posting about the wall of remediation, but I couldn’t remember where, I typed it in and “whoomp, there it is!”
It took using Evernote for every web clipping for a solid couple of days, and then I realized how much it would help me. Everything I have found is saved and searchable. All of my bright ideas can be jotted down. Now comes the hard part, pulling it altogether and doing something with it!
I decided that I would share my folders, so anyone can look through and even subscribe and find something helpful. If you create a great Evernote folder, feel free to share it as well!