Evernote Review

Image representing Evernote as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase
I have been using Evernote on and off since April 24, 2008, with varying degrees of satisfaction. In the past I could never put my finger on why Evernote just didn’t do what I wanted.

While doing the research for this blog post, I learned that back in December Evernote added stacks for their Mac version, it suddenly occurred to me what was missing: the ability have at least one more level of organization in the file folders. I am a bit anal when it comes to organizing things and when I discovered that single change, Evernote suddenly became a much more viable tool for me to use.

Product Name: Evernote

Company Name: Evernote Corporation
Type: Desktop Software & Web Application
Company Product Description:
“Evernote allows users to capture, organize, and find information across multiple platforms. Users can take notes, clip webpages, snap photos using their mobile phones, create to-dos, and record audio. All data is synchronized with the Evernote web service and made available to clients on Windows, Mac, Web, and mobile devices. Additionally, the Evernote web service performs image recognition on all incoming notes, making printed or handwritten text found within images searchable.” — http://www.crunchbase.com/company/evernote
Taken from http:/www.evernote.com/about/learn_more.png
Below is a screen shot of how Evernote’s main screen looks.
Screen shot 2011-01-27 at 1.15.26 PM.png

How much does it cost? Free basic plan with a $5.00 per month or $45.00 annual fee for premium service.

Is this the first time reviewing this product: I have discussed Evernote in previous blog posts, but never reviewed it by itself
Do my students have easy access the product? Yes and No. Students are not allowed to download new software onto their MLTI laptops (even though there are ways around that restriction). Evernote is also a web based program which students can access quickly and easily when they have Internet access. Also I will be able to “share” a folder with them individually (and their parents) that will contain their work, as other teachers in my PLN have done, which is easier than other methods that I have attempted. The Evernote Terms of Service do not as far as I could find place a certain age limitation (if I am wrong please let me know) on who can start using Evernote, so that would allow my students to use this service with parental permission.
Do I currently use Evernote in my classroom? No at this time we are using NoteShare.
Is Evernote intuitive and easy to use or is there a steep learning curve? My experience with the learning curve of Evernote is that it is very intuitive and easy to learn. The biggest thing is that it is a fairly powerful program and learning to use the more advanced features does take a little bit of digging. They are not hard to use, but Evernote is so flexible that you can do a lot with the program and some of the uses do take a little bit more to think about how you want to use them. There have been several tips/tricks published to help and the Evernote website itself is very helpful. However, I found Jerry’s Cybraryman Evernote site a great place to start my research.
How does Evernote apply to Special Education? I foresee Evernote allowing more information/feedback to be passed to students and parents. It could also become a repository for student work and an online Portfolio that would be available no matter what tool the student currently uses, unlike some other notebook software I have used. Also, I can upload PDFs of Maine Special Education Regulations or other similar documents that would make them easily searchable and have available for when I need them.

What I like: When you are creating a new note that you have a nicely laid out toolbar, that you can record voice notes (which for reading out loud by students could be very important as a baseline and how much improvement they have made), that it syncs easily between all of your devices (Mac, iPhone, Window based computer, etc.). Evernote now supports stacks (which was a real sticking point for me in the past) is the game changer that will/has caused me to make Evernote my preferred Notebook software/web app. Actually I like pretty much everything about Evernote, especially now that I have been using other notebook programs which I can compare Evernote to and find that it does more the way that I want than the other programs do.

Screen shot 2011-01-27 at 1.17.40 PM.png

What I don’t like: Now that it supports stacking as an organizational tool to support that one more level of file organization, I can’t think of very much. Oh maybe their T-shirt image of using post-t notes to create an elephant likeness (I just like the green elephant). 🙂

Something as a future idea (and knowing the people at Evernote they are already working on this) the ability to post directly to your blog from Evernote. It already does most everything that a good blog editor does, this would be the final clincher for many out there. I would definitely have rather spent $45.00 towards Evernote than for MarsEdit, it just does more.
What are the other options/programs that do the same function that I have used, how does Evernote compare to those? I have used Microsoft’s OneNote, which I loved except it was tied to the Windows universe, others couldn’t see the work unless they had the software too and didn’t really have a web application. AquaMinds NoteShare is part of the MLTI image and is used extensively in schools in Maine, but to me is not intuitive and while very powerful has a long learning curve. Evernote due to its versatility, usability with any device or operating system, plus the Google Docs like ability to share with anyone who has an email address or with the world with its own URL makes Evernote my choice to use personally.

The reality is since I discovered how to use stacks in Evernote it took on a whole new level of usefulness for me. I can foresee it becoming a tool that I use extensively in my classroom and personally. I am gradually switching over to Moodle for my Learning Management System and wonder if there is a way to integrate Evernote it into our school’s Moodle account – wow that would be really powerful and another reason to go to the pro level. I will look around to see if has been done yet.

I used Evernote to take notes during our Brain Based Strategies for Improving Students’ Memory & Learning all day session on Monday and then when another teacher asked me to share my notes, I emailed and also shared the folder with him. He was much more impressed with the sharing of the folders than the email version. He liked that he could key word search in the document to find what he was looking for. I was very impressed with how easy it was to share the folder with him. Also, I downloaded a PDF book on how to use Moodle yesterday and was able to read it on my Mac and iPhone very easily, just one more thing that I can use Evernote for.
Recommendation: Overall, Evernote is an intuitive program to use, once you have your file tree setup, you can do a lot with it. I notice that I am using it a lot more in the last week than I have any other program, except Google Docs. I have a sneaking suspicion that sometime in the next few months I will “have to” upgrade to the premium version, which will only give me a more powerful tool to use.