Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Evernote for Intermediate Portfolios

This blog attracts a lot of silent readers. Last November, one of my readers wrote to me with his story of how he was starting to use Evernote for ePortfolios in his grade 3-5 classroom. I am adding a version of the story about this school's experience into my book. Students in the intermediate classrooms (grades 3-5) in the Trillium Charter School (Portland, OR) are documenting their learning using Evernote on desktop computers, iPod Touch 4 (with the built-in camera), the teacher's iPhone and soon an iPad, with the addition of a wireless printer/scanner that can email scanned student work directly into their Evernote accounts. (They use a LexMark Pinnacle Pro 901 All-in-One that will scan paper on both sides... the biggest technical challenge was getting these printers set up, and adding all student Evernote email addresses). The Intermediate teachers have all adopted this process since the first of this calendar year, each adding one-to-three iPod Touch devices to supplement the three or four Free Geek donated Linux desktop computers in each classroom. I saw students choose the device they wanted to use to document their projects, with reflection scaffolded by a Portfolio Artifact and Reflection form that they could complete by hand and scan along with other paper or media.

The teachers assign time to work on Evernote every day, as a way for students to set goals and document their progress toward achieving their goals. On the day I visited, students were able to go to the only lab in the school, to work on their reflections. They preferred doing most of their writing with a regular keyboard, not the tiny keyboard on the iPod Touch, but they used its camera extensively to document their projects. This picture was taken with my iPhone directly into the Evernote app which uploaded to my account on the Evernote website. I was able to download the image from Evernote to my laptop to insert into this blog entry (I didn't figure out whether I could link to the image directly). What I found to be innovative about this process was the seamless way that the students could take a picture of a project with the iPod Touch, which automatically saved it to their Evernote accounts. They could add reflections and tags with either the iPod Touch or with one of the classroom  computers.

The students led parent conferences, and shared their Evernote accounts with their parents. Attached is their Conference Checklist. I also have permission to share part of a letter that was sent home to parents, to explain the use of Evernote. The students tag their work (with required tags plus their own) so that the teacher can easily review categories/collections of work; unfortunately, Evernote cannot be used to provide feedback... the teacher needs to send an email with feedback. The students are being encouraged to use Evernote over the summer if they see something cool (what I call "capturing the moment)!" The real advantage is the simplicity: students write directly into Evernote, and don't have to open a word processor on their home computers, and then copy/paste into a portfolio program. The students are developing "Working ePortfolios" to document learning anytime, anywhere. Imagine what would happen if every student had a mobile device...although having three or four in a classroom with classroom computers and occasional visits to a lab, seemed to work just fine! The students are not developing public presentation portfolios, although they could be shared with their teachers and families; they are documenting their learning and progress toward achieving their goals... and they were engaged and seemed to own the process!

1 comment:

Janet Abercrombie said...

Hmmm. I'm obviously not using Evernote to its full extent. I've just been using it for bookmarking and sharing articles.

I'm curious what the ePortfolios end up looking like. We've used Google sites instead.

Janet |