Tag Archives: Tools

Do You Use Evernote?

Now that mobile devices are an integrated part of our lives, there are some app developers that have done a great job of creating productivity tools that allow you to be creative at your desktop, on your tablet, on your mobile device, and have cloud storage so you can access your resources from any web enabled device. Evernote is a developer that has one of these tools. This article will provide you some details about how Evernote works, as well it provides some examples of how faculty can use evernote in their day to day tasks including teaching, research and other tasks.

All About Evernote

Lets begin by exploring what Evernote is meant to be. The slogan for Evernote, is “Remember Everything”. That is exactly what this tool allows you to do. You can save web clippings and make notes on resources, you can snap photos for ideas and inspiration and save them for later; you can even combine audio notes with written notes to document meetings you attend. The best part about evernote is that it is not only an app for your tablet, but it works on your desktop, your phone, and is also available in the cloud. That means that no matter what device you have, you can access your notes and resource in Evernote, provided that you have a web enabled device. And Evernote isn’t proprietary. It works with Apple devices, Mac Desktop, Windows, Android devices and more. Just check out their website to see if they have products for your devices. Most likely they do.


A better way to see what Evernote can do is to explore some of the features that this cross platform productivity suit boosts. Evernote is free to download and use, but does contain some premium features that can cost $5/month or $45/year. The premium features will be identified so that you understand which features have cost associated with them. Although, some features do require a premium membership, Evernote is very useful as a free productivity suite.

Out of the Box features

This product is great because you can start an account a number of ways. You can sign up online at evernote.com, or you can download the app to your phone or tablet from the Google Play store or from the App Store for iOS devices.

Taking Notes
First and foremost, Evernote is good at taking notes. Create notes and organize them in notebooks. Notes use a simple word editor to add features such as bold, italics, underlining, colour, font size, and even adds hyperlinks.

Audio and Video notes
Need some improvement in your note taking skills. While you are working on improving your note taking abilities, you can record the meeting you are in and take notes at the same time. That way you can review the audio and improve your notes once a meeting is done.

Short Hand
Evernote has an place in the settings in which you can create shortcuts for common phrases. For example if you wanted to if you commonly had to type, “Bioglogical Sciences 1010: Introduction to Biological Science”, you could create the shortcut ‘1010’ and every time you type 1010, it will be replaced with the longer phrase.

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words
Sometimes we come across ideas or inspiration and we wish we could capture that idea and save it for later. Now you can. Open up evernote on your phone. Create a new note and click the camera icon. The icon will allow you to take photo or short video that can be accompanied by your own notes. Once you save that note, Evernote will sync it to the cloud so you can access it when you sit down in your office.

To Do Lists
How many sticky notes and scrap pieces of paper do you have sitting at your desk with things you need to do? How many of you have multiple to-do lists? With Evernote you can create an entire notebook of to do lists that include radio buttons! You can actually check off your tasks as you complete them. When it saves it syncs, so you to-do list will be updated across all your devices.

Bookmarking Resources and Links

Undoubtedly, you have come across a link online that you think is wonderful. You believe it will be valuable to you in your teaching or in your research and you save it into a long list of other bookmarks. Maybe you are a bit more savvy and you save links using Pocket, Instapaper, or other read-it-later services. But when you read through your list of saved items you have no idea what part of the article was of interest. Although the link might still be interesting to you, you may have forgotten what you saved it for. That is where Evernotes’s web clipper extension for your desktop browser is hand. It allows you to actually capture the article in full, a snippet of the article, or the link to an article and you can add notes explaining why you have saved this resource. Also Evernote has great features such as tagging and geo-tagging. This will allow you to search for resources you save by where you were as well as a tagging system that makes sense to you.

Some Premium Features

Evernote provides a great deal of product and service to you for free. I guess they had to make money somehow, so they also offer premium services. As mentioned before these services have a minimal cost at $5/month or $45/yr

Offline Notebooks
As Evernote is a cloud based service they offer an offline service for those that do a great deal of travelling and may want to be productive as they travel. Read notes, add to them, read saved articles and more all without an internet connection.

Share notes with colleagues and be able to see version history of the document if needed.

In the free version of evernote, you can make your notes private, meaning that the public cannot see them. However, Evernote offers more levels of security in the premium version with passcode locks.

Save bigger files (up to 100mb) and increase your monthly upload capacity to 1GB

Smarter Searching
Evernote has a lot of great search features out of the box, but as you add files and other attachments such as pdfs to your notes, you will find that the content in these documents is not searchable unless you subscribe to Evernote Premium

Present Your Notes
This feature along with the collaboration features seems to make the premium version of Evernote worthwhile. Within Evernote desktop you can click the present icon. The projection will use the layout in your note to make an easy to follow and easy to read presentation on the board(projector). However, you can still utilized your laptop screen to modify they note as you present. This can make for some very interesting collaborative meetings.

30 Day Trial
If you think you might be interested in using the premium version of Evernote, you can try out the premium features using a 30 day free trial.

Other Integrated Evernote Products

If you like the functionality of Evernote, you may also want to check out their other products.

This is a snapshot tool that allows you to modify the photo, by blurring out sections, adding, captions, arrows and other visual material. Snapshots have the ability to be uploaded to Evernote.

This is a great tablet app that allows users to Doodle and take hand written notes using a stylus. Visual notes in this program can be uploaded to Evernote. Adonit is a stylus manufacturer that has worked with Evernote to create a bluetooth stylus that produces palm recognition in certain programs. The stylus was created to work with Penultimate. The Teaching Centre demoed one of these pens, and although more responsive than a typical stylus, at $79 dollars, you are better buying a cheap stylus, or upgrading to a full pressure sensitive stylus such as the Hex3 JaJa, or the Wacom Intuos Stylus.


There is also an Evernote Market Place that sells products associated with Evernote. Some of these products are scanners, backpacks and styluses, but they also have journals and sketchbooks. For those of you that really like the paper experience, these notebooks are a great way to jot down notes, and then capture them using the camera on your device. Check out the market if you are interested in any of these extras.

How could it be used?

Below are some examples that were brainstormed to share with you, on how you can use Evernote in your teaching and research. This is not an exhaustive list, but may help spur on some new ideas.

Example One
Have students share an essay thesis or idea with you. Go in add your comments by a specific time. Students can go back into the note and feedback is right there. Notes remain private between you and the student.

Example Two
Share ideas with colleagues. Research does not happen in a bubble… well maybe some kinds of scientific research use a bubble, but what I meant was that research is a collaborative process. Evernote allows you to email your ideas, tweet them, share them on Facebook, LinkedIn and more.

Example Three
Don’t forget last minute requests from students as you go out the door. Snap a photo of the student, and create a note with the todo task they are asking you about. If they don’t want a photo, you could always type the name instead.

Example Four
Gather resources for you class, then vet them and organize them in Evernote so you can copy these resources into a LMS or CMS to be used by the students.

Example Five
Share a note with students in your class. Have students share interests in the class, problems with the class, and other issues related to their learning in a note. This can be a type of ongoing after hours chat that takes place asynchronously.

Example Six
Keeping notes at conferences. The audio recording feature allows you to record a meeting using your device and make notes as you go along. Both are synced to Evernote. Also because of geographic locating and tagging within evernote, you can add photos of presenters, notes, audio recordings and more, and you will be able to find them using ever notes integrated search features. Just remember to keep tagging simple. You are tagging articles for easier reading, not creating an entire taxonomy of classification.

Some Links and Resources that may help you become a better Evernote user.

31 Ninja Tricks for Making Evernote Awesome

I’ve Been Using Evernote All Wrong. Here’s Why It’s Actually Amazing

Taking a look at Mendeley reference manager

When researching a topic and looking up articles, I have been trying to use Endnote for the Mac platform. Although, I have heard wonderful things about this program, and have seen it work efficiently, I encountered some problems saving some references and importing information about documents I had download from sites other than the University Library. Another feature I wanted, was the ability to sync article and reference access on my iPad. This caused me to search for alternative programs or servicse. This article will focus on some of the features I am finding beneficial in the Mendeley platform.

What is Mendeley?

Mendeley is a cloud based, internet service that will provide users with web, desktop, and mobile platforms for managing references for research purposes. The product allows you to import PDFs and have the meta data automatically extracted into a citation manager that is built into Mendeley. Although this is a great feature of Mendeley, and probably one of the main feature of the service, there are other products that perform this same function.

So what makes Mendeley different, and why would you want to use it instead of say Endnote or Zotero?

Mendeley integrates a social aspect into their services. All the platforms that Mendeley is available on (web, desktop, mobile) allow you to make connections with other researchers, share your articles with a targeted research community, as well as gather articles from other researchers. You can form groups and connect with other researchers and discuss articles right within Mendeley’s research platform. Mendeley even suggests articles related to the articles that you currently have added to your library.

How can you get started with Mendeley?

If you are interested in trying Mendeley, you can do so by visiting http://www.mendeley.com. Signing up for an account is absolutely free, and they also offer free of charge, downloadable software for multiple platforms such as Mac, PC and iOS. Although a Android version has not been created by the company, they have released an API that has allowed third party developers to create apps for Android devices.

Is it really free?
Yes Mendeley is free. However, they do have paid plans available. These plans essentially increase your cloud storage. They also have team plans available if that is of interest to you.