Enhance your field trips with Evernote


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If you have used Evernote before, you can easily see the power of this tool in the classroom.  For those of you who haven’t seen Evernote, here is a quick overview:

I am a big believer in allowing students to have as many field experiences as possible, but I think one thing many educators would admit is that often we don’t do a good enough job of tying that experience back to classroom study.  Many students miss the connection between the field trip and the course study because there isn’t enough overlap in activities.  How can Evernote help? Well, let me tell you how a few 7th grade teachers used it on a recent field trip up to Mount Helena.  This field trip supports their Science curriculum by requiring students to study the different types of indigenous plants in our area.  Using an iPod Touch loaded with the Evernote app, students have a list of different grasses, trees, and shrubs that they must take pictures of and save in their Evernote account.

Technical How-to:

One of the great benefits of using Evernote on an iPod touch with students is that Evernote will stay logged in and save information even when you are in Airplane Mode.  The key thing to remember is that you must have students login to Evernote while you are attached to a wireless network.  As soon as you login, you can switch to airplane mode and then work in your Evernote account.  When you turn airplane mode off and rejoin a wireless network, Evernote will sync the new data to the cloud and you are off and running.  This feature is obviously key when you are in an area (like a mountain) that doesn’t have wi-fi.

The first thing I like about this use is that the teachers were conducting Authentic Assessment.  The other point that I like is that by using a digital tool for data collection (in this case pictures) students now have a depository of first person research to take their learning further.  That is exactly what these teachers did next.  After their field trip to Mount Helena, the science classes went to the library and used Comic Life to create a presentation of their findings.  By using Evernote, which syncs to the cloud, the teacher needed to only tell their students to login to their Evernote account to retrieve their pictures.  Any of you who have had to deal with file management in the classroom realize this is a VERY big deal.

By having students create their own accounts in Evernote, record their own information, and present their findings, these teachers are setting the stage for 7th graders to act like scientists.  In addition, there was no divide in the learning.  The field trip became an essential piece to the learning process.

How have you used Evernote with students?  Please share your experiences in the comment section below.

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