Evernote has become a very important part of my everyday life. In the past six months, I have added almost 700 notes to the program, and that number continues to grow everyday. For my own personal use, Evernote has been a lifesaver. You can check out some of my personal uses of Evernote on my blog. For Schools, Evernote has so much promise but getting the program running with a good workflow does take some thought.
In the world of standards based assessment and learning, we are no longer able to justify student progress with a single test score (as the results from No-Child-Left-Behind and Race to the Top suggest). In recent years, it has become more common for schools to adopt standards-based assessments and protocols to demonstrate how students are progressing. In my world, as a TD, I must think outside of the box to identify new methods for creating assessments. I must think of Education Technology as an Ecosystem to support, not just a single platform. When I walked into my current position, they had been pushing standards-based assessment for two years. Looking at the Technology Ecology, I easily identified a missing niche: an E-Portfolio System.
Before I started digging into the problems of building a portfolio system from scratch – and there were many – I took a moment to look at what we were trying to accomplish as a school and what our goals were for a stand-alone E-Portfolio System. It is not enough to launch a system… you need to have materials and resources in place on day 1 in order to get buy-in and support from Teachers and Administrators. We also wanted a program that will continue to grow and develop as our school continues to grow while still allowing students to take their entire portfolio with them when they leave.
It is easy in all levels of education to do something because it is convenient or because “adults” want it to happen. Over the past few years, my position has shifted away from what is convenient and landed on what is the most engaging and beneficial for students (which unfortunately are not always the same). All of the technology initiatives I am currently working on are focused on how we can help students., rather than helping teachers. As the Vice President for Synthesis at Myriad Genetics once told me, “always think, where is the product, and everything else will snap into place.” At my current school we needed:
1. A way to track and evaluate student progress on standards across grade levels and school divisions (Elementary, Middle, High) while ensuring maintenance and upkeep remained firmly in the hands of the student.
2. A system that we could organize school material and make it easy for students to maintain and complete assignments and submit work. As a secondary objective, we want to reduce our reliance on paper and printed materials to complete our daily routines.
3. A way for all students to access, maintain, and develop their own personal portfolios that are independent of their current school or division, available when they leave the school, and use world-recognized platforms and materials.
We evaluated a number of programs and E-Learning Platforms to ensure that we could meet the goals that we had. After evaluating three or four programs, I decided to give Evernote a try, and we eventually started using an Evernote business account for all of our staff members.
My own Goals for the System
As I talked about earlier, it is remarkably important that the Technology Ecology in a school and business works well. This means taking a systemic approach to Technology and making strategic purchases and acquisitions to support the entire ecosystem. By exploring the E-Portfolio systems, we learned of several important services that we did not currently have available to our staff. In order to correct that, I outlined some very basic goals for how our system should play with Evernote:
1. Make it seamless (SSO): Students/Teachers/Administrators should not need to login to independent services to access and manipulate Portfolios and grades.
2. Make it easy: The portfolio system should be on what students and teachers want to use everyday. Often, I see portfolios that are divorced from the real world (even at the University Level). Each portfolio should also be able to integrate with a wide range of platforms and materials to ensure that students can succeed.
3. Have and publish an exemplar for student and teacher reference prior to the start of implementation!
4. Maintain instructions and update them as necessary to ensure that students/teachers at all grade levels (1-12) have access to the materials and resources that they need to maintain their notebooks.
5. Develop and maintain a set of technology skills and resources available at each grade level so that students can succeed with regards to technology.
Here comes the work! Over the next few weeks, I will be working like crazy to ensure that our E-Portfolio System is ready to roll-out for the next semester. This will include creating Teacher/Student/Admin tutorials, E-Portfolio introduction resources, and a wide range of materials to support student use of the E-Portfolio System. Since the entire purpose of this E-Portfolio system is to integrate more completely with standards, I will be referencing the NETS for Students (NETSS) in all of my materials. The links below and materials that I create are being given in a “Share-Alike” Copyright state, meaning please cite any use of them!
I have permission and have begun adapting the Materials Provided by Portfolios for Student Growth to reflect an E-Portfolio System.
Modified PSG Materials:
This section, and all of the remainder of this page will be updated as resources are created. It will take a few weeks to modify and create the documents that I need. When edits are made and documents are uploaded, I will add the upload date. Check back often for updates!
- Teacher Guide: Includes an introduction as to why we will be using portfolios and the roles of the student and advisor.
- Evernote Proposal for the Leadership Team: (Nov 25th, 2013) This proposal walks through the needs and benefits of using Evernote as an E-Portfolio System.
- Core Suite Extensions: (Nov 25th, 2013) This two page list was a set of extensions that we identified as important for school use. By Purchasing Evernote and using it in Conjunction with Google Apps, we could extend our cloud computing with all of these programs.
- Introduction to Evernote Presentation
- Evernote for Schools Presentation (Presented at KORCOS 2014)
It is very important to be able to explain to administrators and outside persons how we use Evernote as a School.
Over the past school year, we have been working to integrate Evernote into our school. Our purpose was to 1)Provide an E-Portfolio System for staff and students and 2)to allow for a customized platform that can be used for a variety of purposes. At our December All-Staff professional development, we introduced Evernote to our staff. The initial professional development was done as a “this is how you use Evernote” training. The idea was to get educators using Evernote for their own personal reasons and then harness that knowledge in the classroom. This page highlights some of our examples and resources from the past 6 months of integrating Evernote.
School Examples of Evernote
Now, here is the rub, since most school initiatives are on a rolling basis, we have some documents and resources that we can provide as exemplars, but several of our more engaging uses are for confidential purposes. For example, our Counseling Department has a shared notebook for Student Concerns where every member can provide documentation and suggestions on Case Files. The EAP/Admissions process has been highlighted below, but by streamlining the process, we cut down our administrative paper trail significantly.
In our admissions office, we use Evernote extensively. Here is the quote from our Admissions officer:
Evernote’s been revolutionary – thanks for setting it up for us! – for sharing one admissions notebook with EAP teachers, counselors, admissions officers, and administration to keep track of prospective student files. During admissions screening, we take a snapshot of the student, a voice recording, and easily drag in other data and scoring sheets that everyone can see instantaneously.Through the blogging option, Evernote’s also allowed my EAP students a more dynamic avenue for writing and reflecting. We haven’t yet tapped all of its potential of sharing with others or having a sophisticated portfolio, but so far, it has been like a digital dialogue journal and class notebook – basically a platform in which to reflect and write, minus the pressure of being penalized for errors.One other neat aspect of Evernote is the PDF/jpeg mark up option – students have the availability of annotating PDFs to help them read, take notes, and better process digital material from teachers.
|Jane J.||Science||This is a simple blog used to communicate homework to the Teacher.|
|Clara P.||Science||This example uses a different theme that is a bit easier to view when looking at student work.|
|Yuya||English Language||This student uses their blog to help express their own voice and develop their english proficiency.|
|Lisa EAP||English Language||This is another style of use from a Language Perspective.|
|6th Grade Blog||Korea||Sixth grade students explored the natural beauty of Sokcho and Soraksan National Park.|
|7th Grade Blog||Taiwan||Seventh grade students travelled to Taiwan to learn about the local culture.|
|8th Grade Blog||Cambodia||Eighth grade students travelled to Cambodia and helped to build a local school and orphanage.|
|9th Grade Blog||Vietnam||Ninth grade students travelled to Vietnam and learned about the local culture as well as giving back to the local community.|
|10th Grade Blog||Nepal||Tenth grade students travelled to Nepal and did some hiking as well as helping to build and develop a local school.|
|On Island||Jeju||Several students from grades 6-10 stayed on Jeju and learned about the local area.|
I just had a Math Teacher send me a wide range of student exemplars that I am authorized to share with you all. Those exemplars are below: