HOW COFFEECHUG USES EVERNOTE: PART 2: VJOURNAL

Earlier last week I shared my first post in this series about how much I am loving Evernote and some ways in which I am using this wonderful tool. This post has become one of my post popular posts so I am excited to continue to share the many other ways I am using Evernote.

For this post I want to focus on an app that works with Evernote that I am finding myself using on a daily basis and is probably one of my favorite apps on my iPhone because I actually use it every single day. It has not lost its luster after a few days.

The name of the app is vJournal for Evernote. There is a free version and a $.99 version. I have the dollar version, but try out the free one first to see how you like it.

It is a very simple app. It looks like a yellow notepad where you can type in journal entries. You can add checklists and pictures if you need to. That is pretty much all. However, this is like carrying around a little notepad like I used to do all the time.

The app creates a notebook for you in your Evernote called My Journal. When you send off your journal notes it will send it off to this folder.

When you open up your folder you will see all of your notes as is typical in Evernote. The title is a timestamp of the when the journal entry was submitted.

What I like to do is at least once a week go through the notes and sort them. I take the bits and pieces and place them accordingly. Here are a few examples.
1. Book notes – transfer to Book Notes notebook – I use this app when I read. This is where I type in my ideas while reading. I used to hand write all my ideas, but now I use this app. It eliminates carrying around a notepad and now my notes are already typed. Before I would take my handwritten notes and type them all up after reading. This eliminates that step. I can capture my thoughts any time and any place. If there is a page from a book that has a great graphic or list of material I will take a picture and add it to the the notes to always have.
2. Random thought – If I don’t record ideas right away I lose them. My poor brain just keeps working all the time so if I don’t write things down then I am out of luck. Take for example yesterday flying. I had all these crazy ideas. I kept jotting them down knowing that later when I go back to revisit the ones that stand out are the ones I will most likely blog about. This process helps me sift through all my ideas and process what is worth sharing and investigating further and which ones are not. If an idea sticks after a few days, then I know I am on to something.
3. Blog/podcast ideas – I use the app much like #2, but when in pursuit of an idea I will make sure to think on it quite a bit and then type more structured thoughts into the app. 
4. Reminders/checklist – slowly getting to this idea, but just created my first one that captured my goals for 2014. I know a bit ahead, but I have big plans for next year as I keep working hard this year.
Even last night as I was discussing some ideas with people at this Lego conference I would jot down notes so I would not forget some awesome ideas that I heard. 
As I look into this app, this will be a great tool for the classroom. I want my students to have an Evernote account this year and begin the portfolio process. This app will be good for them as well to jot down key ideas and things to do. For me, I will use it capture ideas from class, meetings with teachers, and things to pursue more. I really look forward to having this app keep me more organized compared to a pocket full of scribble notes like I always have.

I am working on part 3 and 4 for more ways I use Evernote. If you have further questions, ideas, thoughts, and/or comments please let me know.

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How Coffeechug Uses Evernote: Part 1

If you have thought about using Evernote, then this post may provide you one example of the benefits to this amazing piece of software/web tool/app. I started to use Evernote as an experiment towards the end of the school year last year. Since then I have fallen completely in love with it and will never go back to the old ways.

I am far from a pro and have much to learn about the best ways to use this tool, but I want to share the many ways that I find benefits to Evernote so far.

The first way I use Evernote is as a digital portfolio for my own children. My school district currently does not have a digital portfolio system in place for students. It drives me nuts. I am hoping to create a grassroots movement by having my students create one this year and spread the word. (mischievous grin while typing!)

Without going into how to set up everything because I am sure there is a much simpler way than the way I do things I basically have a stack set up for each of my three children. Within each stack is the school grade they are part of as seen in the picture to the right.

There is not a lot in the folders as one of my summer projects is to add all the paper copies of school work from years past. I would like to organize the contents within each grade level.

Within each grade level I have added materials to the folders since I started using Evernote. This is such a great benefit. I can take pictures using the Evernote App and add to the proper folders. Below you can see a small example of my daughter. There is no reason to keep all the paper copies. It just creates clutter. So I quickly snap a picture and dispose of the work. At first my children were super bummed that I kept tossing things until they realized what I was doing. It finally made sense to them that I was keeping it all in digital form. Some things we do keep, but the day to day stuff can go. However, what this allows us to do is see their growth. I kept a little story Addy wrote at the beginning of kindergarten and compared it to the end of the year and it was amazing. This learning journey is more valuable than a data on a report card.

One of my favorite features is being able to record audio to the images and documents. Below is a story Addy wrote about our trip to Wisconsin Dells. I cannot read what she wrote, but she could read it clear as day. I recorded her reading the story. This is so powerful! I did the same months later and it was amazing to hear the growth. I will be doing this at the beginning of the upcoming school year and throughout. I think it is good for my kids to hear themselves and actually see and hear their growth. They are kids and don’t always think they are learning.

I will continue to do this for my kids. I need to improve with using tags and organizing but it is a start and one that I find to be powerful for all of us to document their journey. Being my own children I have added elements outside of school. I continue to find many uses.
I will be using Evernote this year for my TA students as we create our journey with Habitudes and learning about ourselves. This will be an interesting experiment with using Evernote with students. It will be a big learning curve for us all, but one that I think will jump start the conversation about doing this for all students in our district.
If I was still in gifted education this was going to be our ongoing project to document our students and where they ended up after we were done with them. Now that I am an instructional coach I am going bigger and thinking all students.
I hope you enjoyed this. Please let me know if you found this worthwhile. If so, then I will continue to share the many other ways I use Evernote. It plays a role in everything I do now.

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