New Reasons to Love Evernote

Today my Twitter feed lit up with posts from Evernote’s annual conference here in SF. I’m already on record as a die-hard Evernote fan, which has helped me survive the iOS7 update to the app with a degree of patience I wouldn’t have for other apps. (Really? I have to delete and then reinstall the app for it to see all of my stored notes? Really?!)

Today’s new offering absolutely blows me away: Evernote is partnering with 3M to make Post-It notes that can interface directly with Evernote. This means that people–and especially students–can take notes by hand or using a digital device and automatically store and organize all their notes via Evernote.

Here’s a neat slideshow about this, and here’s a Wall Street Journal write-up about it as well.

I’ve been excited about the LiveScribe Pen and similar technology since I first saw it in 2009. My former boss started using the pen to record conferences he attended and faculty meetings he led–always with full permission from participants that they were being recorded. I think this product has brilliant potential for education, especially for students who can’t always capture every word of a

The challenge for me with LiveScribe/EchoPen/whatever it’s called now was always the super-special notebooks that seemed hard to get. Post-It notes are everywhere, and I get the impression that these new Evernote-compatible Post-Its will be similarly easy to find.

While this Evernote innovation won’t capture audio (…yet), I love the idea that it makes it even easier for students to keep track of their written notes. I know lots of students who can’t or won’t take notes on their iPads but who love its portability. This new tool could help them save, share, and review their notes digitally while not sacrificing the skills they’ve developed as longhand note-takers.

And thus my life as a devoted Evernote fangirl continues. Now back to your regularly scheduled programming.

And now, just to review, a little clip about the history of Post-Its: 


Eye to Eye Strike Out Stigma National Tour: Join the Kickoff Event!

This is a message from our national coordinator for Eye to Eye, Jesse Sanchez. CSH alumna Emma Fahy will be one of the folks on this road trip to “strike out stigma” across the country. Go check it out! — PMK

Eye to Eye’s LD/ADHD Strike Out Stigma National Tour is coming your way, and we want you to join them!

The Strike Out Stigma Tour consist of 5 college students and recent graduates, all labeled with learning disabilities (LDs) and/or ADHD and who are volunteers for Eye to Eye, embarking on a 12-day road trip this summer to “Strike Out the Stigma” of the LD / ADHD label.  Beginning in San Francisco onJuly 19 and ending in Providence, RI, on July 30, our volunteers will track 3,150 miles and participate in a series of empowerment and awareness events in 9 major cities across the country.  Learn more about the tour and track its progress on their Facebook page:

Come to the Strike out Stigma Tour Launch Party

TIME: 8:00am – 9:00am

DATE: Friday July 19th

LOCATION: Crissy Field, San Francisco

We hope you can make it and help spread the word to our LD/ADHD community through friends, social media, or email.  We want as many people at this event as possible to show the world what it means to be “LD and Proud to Be!”

Please email to RSVP or with any questions about the tour.

Thank you!

Jesse Sanchez
National Program Coordinator

Organizational Tool: Get Ye Done

Raz the Unimpressed is unimpressed.
Raz the Unimpressed is unimpressed.

A young woman attending my EdRev workshop on Saturday introduced me to a really neat organizational tool. It’s called Get Ye Done, and it’s a planning app that allows students to set goals and earn “experience points” for achieving goals and milestones that they set for themselves. The interface and the language is a little more geared toward a middle-school audience, but I think the idea still rings true for high school: it’s really fun to think about finishing schoolwork as a game, because really? it kind of is a game sometimes.

So if you’d like your homework time to have more of a Renaissance-festival flavor, or if it boosts your motivation to earn experience points, then have at it. I don’t want to tell anyone to pick just one organizational tool, because which tool you use is less important than having a tool that works. If this works for you, have at it!

Learn more here:

Thanks once more to Azule for the link!

iPad apps for all!

The end of summer is fast approaching, and you may be wondering about new apps to load onto your iPad for the school year ahead. Your most important resource is Ms. Sena’s CSH iPad blog here. I highly recommend that you check out this website and start finding out about the iPad program at CSH, especially if you’re an entering student in the class of 2016.

As for my recommendations on apps: I did several blog posts on this subject last summer, and I still think those apps are good recommendations for you to consider. To find those posts, you can click on the word “apps” in the tag cloud at right: it’s the first link. This will take you to a series of posts that all talk about different kinds of apps.

The big thing to keep in mind is that there is no single app that serves all purposes, and there isn’t necessarily one app that I’d recommend that everyone run out and buy. There are the ones you’re required to have for school, of course, like iAnnotate and Dropbox, but others for productivity and organization have very similar features and no one of them is necessarily the best. It’s all about checking these apps out and deciding what you like. Which layout appeals to you most? Which interface makes the most sense to you? Pick the one that you like and that best supports your learning. That’s the most important thing, and the app that you use as the tool to support your work is less important.

Info Out: Generating and Capturing Information

When I walk around campus at school, I’m rarely empty-handed. You’ll notice that I’m always carrying three things.

Thing one is my water bottle, since I am neurotic conscientious about hydration. I work out a lot and I’m a singer, so I’m doubly obsessed with drinking liter after liter of water.

Thing two is my iPhone, which allows me to retrieve my personal and work email, check my Google calendars, get up-to-date news and information (thanks to Twitter and Zite!), monitor the Facebook homework groups for the classes of 2014 and 2015, and keep in contact with students and faculty members via text. It also allows me to make updates to WordPress (this blog!), Evernote, and Bento on the fly. More on these last two apps later.

Thing three is my trusty Moleskine planner. While I use all of these digital tools on my iPhone (and my iPad and my laptop) to keep organized and to learn new information, I am committed to my paper planner. There’s something about putting pen to paper that I find soothing and secure–by putting pen to paper I make a tangible record of the things I need to do and the order in which I need to do them. It makes tasks feel more real to me if I write them down and have to shuffle them in my mind before setting them down in ink.

Staying organized is a huge part of my day: I have lots of email to send and lots of people who I want to see, and my attention span is way too short to keep track of such things off the top of my head. The phone allows me to access information that I don’t have instantly on hand in the planner: Which final exam comes first? What did Ms. Denny post on the Facebook homework page this morning? My iPhone and my interactions with people help me become aware of the things I need to do; my planner is the tool I use to create and execute my plan of attack.

In the short term, that means having a list of to-do’s that looks like the image at left: lots of active verbs, lots of stars, and (eventually) lots of check-marks. The active verbs are the most important thing: they give clear direction on what action needs to take place, and you absolutely can’t check a thing off of the list unless you’ve taken a specific action. No wishy-washy “think about finals schedule” or “look at calendar” will do: it’s all about physically emailing, connecting, choosing, and just generally doing.

While those two tools help me manage my most pressing concerns, there are three apps that I use religiously to generate, capture, and distribute information: these are Evernote, WordPress, and Bento.

Bento is probably the easiest to talk about. As you might expect, I keep descriptive learning profiles for each of the students I work with. These confidential profiles contain information about past educational evaluations, feedback from teachers on what sorts of learning strategies best help each student, my own notes, and feedback from students themselves on their learning. As a spreadsheet addict and hyper-organizer, I wanted to have a great way to store this information in a format that was customized to my needs. Bento proved to be exactly what I wanted: it let me create a database with exactly the  data fields I wanted and it let me organize them into an attractive format. I have Bento synced with my work laptop, my iPad, and my iPhone so that I can update and reference this information whenever I need it. I’ve been using this for a little over a year and I’ve found it to be a great way to help advise students and teachers on approaching learning and teaching, respectively.

WordPress is another favorite. As you might gather from the web address of this site, I blog through a service called WordPress, a free online publishing tool. The web interface is terrific on a laptop and its mobile app for iPad and iPhone are equally sleek. For example, the designers were really thoughtful about which features would be most important to have on the mobile app (the ability to update quickly and view posts at a glance) and which were less important (long menus for choosing themes and layouts). I’ll usually use the iPad app to update this blog when I’m at a conference, but when there’s no wifi available (sidebar: why is this still acceptable to anyone?), I’ll tap out my updates on my phone.

Finally, Evernote is my favorite thing in the world. Evernote is a note-taking program: you can use it to take notes, tag your notes with different topics (“Math”, “English”, or “History”, perhaps), and even record audio of lectures. The best thing about Evernote, though, is that your notes are saved directly to the cloud and can be accessed from anywhere–from your computer, from your iPad, and from your iPhone. I use Evernote for taking live notes during meetings and conferences. I love that it works without an active wifi connection and will let you upload things to the cloud later. I love that it lets me organize notes from work and from home into easily separated ways. That sorting really helps: I have some silly lists on Evernote (including a standing grocery list, clothing sizes for my husband, and a list of potential meals to cook) and I like that I can find those easily when I want to and cast them aside when I don’t.

So that’s my current universe in terms of outward information flow. As for the water bottle? That’s what helps me stay awake long enough to use all of these things at once.

Tools for Learning: Using your phone to get organized

I’ve been thrilled with all the different things that students are using to get organized this year. I’ve seen lots of students using the school-supplied planners, and I’ve also seen students buying their own planners or blank notebooks and customizing them to meet their own needs. Whatever it takes for you to get organized, go for it! There’s certainly no right or wrong way to keep track of your assignments and upcoming tests, but it’s important to develop a system that you like, that you can stick with, and that keeps you on track throughout the year.

Several students are also using electronic tools as planners, which I think is great. At the very least, you’re far less likely to lose your phone than to lose your paper planner. I’ve chatted with several freshmen and sophomores about their favorite apps for the iPhone, and they suggested these three. iHomework in and InClass got some of the best reviews; both let you list your homework assignments, upcoming tests and quizzes, and offer notification alerts to keep you on track. If you’re the kind of person who manages things best with her iPhone, I highly recommend that you check these out.



If you have other suggestions, send them my way! I’m always anxious to pass on recommendations for effective tools like these.