Thursday, March 7, 2013

Paperless Mission #2: Build Evernote Notebooks

This is the second mission in the Go Paperless series! Be sure to check out Mission #1: Gather Your Tools. And if you're participating, be sure to link up at the Paperless Linky!

Mission #2: Build your Evernote notebooks

If you completed the first mission, you should already have an Evernote account. Evernote is going to be our cloud-based note-taking system. Before getting started on this mission, however, lets talk a little about the Evernote platforms as each has its pros and cons.

Mobile Device (iPad/iPhone, all types of Smartphones, etc)
+ Awesome for recording audio notes, pictures, and word processing type notes; allows photo/video attachments
- Limited options compared to other platforms; no ability to drag-and-drop to organize notes and notebooks

+ Great for organizing your work--you can drag and drop notebooks to create "stacks" (e.g., all of my student notebooks are in one stack); utilizes all of Evernote's features; allows all types of attachments
- More work involved in taking pictures depending on your set-up

Desktop Platform - you can download this to your desktop after you sign up
+ Runs faster than the web platform and has a smoother interface; allows offline access to Evernote and will sync with your account once you get back online
- Tethers you to your laptop/desktop

For this mission, I'd recommend using the Web-based or Desktop platform. (My screenshots are of the Mac desktop version).

Step 1. Create notebooks for each of your students.

You can have up to 250 notebooks in your Evernote account and an unlimited number of notes inside each notebook. At this stage of the process, even if I dedicate a notebook to each student, it's going to be a few years before I run out of notebook space and at that point, I could export my notes if I needed to back them up. I think it's important to have one notebook per student rather than just a single note because you'll be able to sort your work easier. In addition, individual notes can only store up to 25MB of information, and if you're planning to include photos and audio recordings, that could fill up quickly. Notebooks have no real limit. Notebooks will also make it easier for you to share work with parents because you could share the entire notebook -- not just individual notes. 

When creating your student notebooks, I would recommend using a standardized, easy to remember format such as school year - student last name, student first name (e.g., 2012 - Clooney, George). This will make it easier down the road when you want to start sending stuff to specific notebooks via email (a future tutorial).

Step 2. Create a notebook stack.

Stacks are simply collections of notebooks centered around a similar topic. Think of the stack of writing notebooks you lugged home at night when you collected student work in your pre-paperless era, for example. Same concept here. The stack makes it easier to keep your work organized so you don't have 26 different student notebooks cluttering up your screen. All you do is drag one notebook on top of another to create a stack. After finishing this process, here's how it looks on my computer using the desktop client (not the web-based):

Notice that the icon to the left of 2012-2013 students looks like a pile of notebooks in my shortcuts, and when I click on that shortcut, it has a white wrapper around the front rather than the plain brown cover. 

Here's how that stack looks on my iPad:

I can touch it, and it will take me to all of the notebooks inside.

Step 3: Create other notebooks

My notebook is still very much a work-in-progress, but I'm building notebooks for different subject areas/lesson planning. I also have a general notebook for homework & report card tracking where I'll keep data that I'd want to pull for the whole class at once, not individual students. I'm also building professional learning notebooks (I'll stack those eventually), a notebook for my blog ideas, and a default notebook for uncategorized notes that I can sort through later. For now, that notebook contains some of my school tech login reminders and some staff meeting notes. 

That's it for today's mission! Feel free to leave comments if you have questions -- I'll do my best to help. I'd also love to hear how you're using (or planning to use) Evernote in your classroom.

I'll be posting your next mission later this weekend, and if you're joining in the Paperless challenge and haven't linked up yet, it's not to late to join in the fun! You can find the original link up here.


  1. Thank you so much for this post! I just created a stack of notebooks for my current to add notes to them. Will that be next? Thanks!

    Mrs. Bartel’s School Family

    1. Just posted Mission #2: Email Notes to Evernote. I'll have more note suggestions in the coming days, too. Thanks for your comment!


  2. I love the look of your notebooks with the brown book icons. My evernote does not look like this :( Maybe b/c I do not have apple products.

  3. 3 Ways to Maximize Productivity With Evernote


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