There are many reasons that I have gravitated toward this tool as a staple in my electronic toolbox. As a principal I work with immense amounts of text, media, and information. Having a place to organize this is essential. I am working to transition from the lovely piles on my desk to a virtual set of piles, files, and baskets. Evernote gives me a place to store everything. At this point, I actually get a little annoyed when I am handed paper. Eventually, I will pull everyone else along.
If you are interested in how another principal has encouraged teachers to use Evernote as a tool in the Balanced Literacy program, check out this post by Tony Sinanis (@Cantiague_Lead). I am focusing solely on administrative uses. Hopefully you will find one that makes sense to you.
- Principal's Log - I have always had trouble keeping track of my office notes. These include my call log/notes, investigation notes, and general notes on daily events. One of the difficulties that I always found with the old paper notebook method of keeping a call log was that I needed to remember the date or sift through pages of notes to find the notes for which I was looking. With Evernote I keep my notes in folders by year and each note is named using the same convention "PL-Month-Day-Year." So if I know the date, it is easy to find. However, when I don't know the date, I can simply type the name of the student in the search box in Evernote and it will bring up all notes with that name in it. This function is priceless. Additionally, the notes that I keep for disciplinary investigations are easier to search and store.
- Meeting Notes - When I go to administrative meetings I use Evernote to take and store all of my important notes. I can tag them so that they are easier to search later. If I don't get an electronic agenda and I don't want to add the paper one to my pile, I take a picture of the agenda and put it right in the note. I always leave meetings with action items, so making bulleted lists in Evernote is a lifesaver.
- PD Notes - Evernote has changed the way that I take notes at workshops and PD sessions. With my iPad, I have a true multi-media note-taking system. I add photos from presentations in real-time. If the presenter is moving through slides too quickly this can be a great help. I can also use the voice recorder if it is late in the day and typing is not high on my list.
- Idea Bank - I use Evernote as a bank of ideas for all aspects of my professional life. I have numerous folders as you can see in the screen shot to the right. When I have time I go through the folders and sift through the ideas for use at a later date. The most valuable feature in making this happen is the Web Clipper. When ever I am online on my computer, iPad, or iPhone, I can "clip" an article, a webpage, or a link and put it in an Evernote folder. This makes it easy to keep all notes on a particular topic, like "faculty meeting ideas," in one place.
- Always With Me Notebook - I think one of the best features is that it syncs across all of my devices. I have Dropbox, which does the same thing, but in Evernote, I can take the notes, whereas in Dropbox I can only store files.
As I said in the beginning, Evernote is nothing new and there are plenty of posts out there about how great it is, but this is mine and I hope that just as I stumbled across someone's post and found Evernote could work for me, you may find some uses that you did not see before.
I would love to hear some of your uses for Evernote. If you have any to share, please post in the comments.