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Note-taking software/apps to support research

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Started by Karen Spencer 25 Feb 2013 11:58am () Replies (3)

I have been exploring some resources recently focused on the way students' information literacy can be supported by note-grabbing technologies. I flicked a question out on Twitter and the VLN, asking whether teachers were using Evernote or similar and how they were using it.




Specifically, I wanted to know the extent to which students are using these technologies to frame questions, tag information with those questions/keywords, and collate useful resources (as an alternative to the print-and-highlight or copy-and-paste approach).

Two great stories came through which I wanted to on-share....


Story 1: Year 5 & 6 and the use of Evernote / OneNote:

"I used Evernote like a digital exercise book, where students stored their learning logs, reflections, notes etc.  They were also able to share their Evernote with other students and collaborate and reflect or critique others work. 

I also used ONENOTE (Microsoft) and I found this could do a lot more in terms of the types of attachments and the system it used to clearly and easily organise learning items.  I used it with year 5 - 6 and began by using it just on the individual devices, with all student Onenotes sychronised to my teacher laptop through my windows live sign-in.  I quickly discovered using the online cloud version was much better, as it gave access from anywhere – so the home connection.  Students could access their work from home and complete unfinished tasks.  I set it up with just one windows live account for the class – although this meant all notebooks were shared amongst everyone. 

Obviously it raises issues of having live accounts if you want work accessed by perhaps student/parent/teacher or a select number of buddies. 

The learning: 

At the beginning students used it to record (by actually typing in) their writing/ reading/ maths tasks.  It was their digital exercise book.  Then they started reflections by voice or video, say on a piece of their writing.  Then students invited other students to view their piece and make comments and in the end it became a document which got shared with parents (obviously the ones who could access them) and it became a student management system where I would drop tasks, video, pictures, questions etc.. into each of their books prior to the learning and collect on-going dialogue between  stakeholders.   

Evernote works much like Onenote and I still have both on my P.C and Ipad.  I do however prefer onenote.  In terms of use by all it seemed to be able to do more and easier visually to organise notes…I felt." - via TeAhua Park (Blended e-Learning facilitator, Te Toi Tupu)



Story 2: Year 5 & 6 using Evernote in Maths



  • Year 5/6 and set up through a class account. They have their own notebooks within. Means they can share notes/see others...It was only in beginning stages term 4 2012. Beginning with new class in next weeks. It was helpful, am continuing this year...Will be helpful to not have to do handwritten notes elsewhere before placing into evernote - via Amanda (@heymilly)


Huge thanks to both of them for being so fast to reply and so generous with sharing their practice.

Does anyone else use these types of note-grabbing techologies to enhance the research process? And what about at secondary level?


  • Sam Hamilton (View all users posts) 06 Mar 2013 10:00am ()

    Question for @heymilly - I was thinking of using evernote and tossed up between individual accounts and a class account with different notebooks.  I saw you could create multiple notebooks within evernote.  How are kids with each others notebooks?  

    I can see lots of positive points, any negative aspect you have found with this set up?

  • Amanda (View all users posts) 07 Mar 2013 5:36pm ()

    Hi Sam,  I have found the same class evernote account with individual notebooks has worked really well.  The kids treat them no different than their books in real life.  They understand that they don't write in them/delete anything and that each book is their own.  The kids share information and ideas across notebooks and it allows them to see the work other kids are doing.  It's all about the learning conversations you have with them along the way as they use it and make mistakes with it.

    So far, I haven't found any negatives.  The hardest thing is would probably be the number of notebooks - but this isn't really a problem as they are ordered alphabetically and the kids zoom through to their name.

    It's easier to set up specific notebooks for them.   I'm only really using evernote for maths and note keeping.  This year the kids also have a 'notes notebook' where they can dump all their notes from different apps etc into their evernote as a collection zone.  They are slowly learning about tagging their notes also.

    Let me know if you'd like any help with anything, happy to answer questions!

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e-Learning: Technologies

e-Learning: Technologies

Where we explore how different technologies can support learning.