Evernote for Evidence


For a while now I’ve been trying to think of a way to capture those learning experiences that occur outside of traditional books. I felt this would be valuable as supporting evidence for APP, particularly in Maths where I needed to create an environment where learning was predominantly active, physical and hands on.

So I decided to trial using Evernote as a method of collecting evidence.

First off it is important to mention that all my class’ parents have given consent for their child to have images and video on the internet. I wouldn’t have put this data into Evernote without consent as there are a few threads on the internet and Evernote’s own site discussing security of information they store.

In terms of set up, I created a notebook in Evernote called ‘Evidence’ then made a tag for each child (first names only) and 2 other tags called ‘writing’ and ‘maths’ as that was the focus of the evidence. That way, whenever I create a ‘note’ all I had to do was tag the names of the children involved and tag either ‘writing’ or ‘maths’. Then in Evernote I could just click the tag and I would have instant access to multimedia evidence for a child and subject area.

It’s worth noting that I already had an Evernote Premium account, which allows video uploads and a larger monthly usage allowance.

I was concious that I didn’t want the evidence collecting to replace significant time where I would be teaching a group of children therefore I have so far generally collected evidence in batches and also given our class camera out for the children to take pictures of the outcomes of their learning themselves.

Which brings me nicely onto…

One side effect of this method of collecting evidence is that with video you can go beyond simply collecting evidence of outcomes, to documenting the learning process. This has proved extremely useful in documenting Talk for Writing and phase 1 and 2 in the Literacy Primary Framework.

Whilst I am still in the early stages of using this system, I can see it will provide important additional evidence supporting traditional methods. As I have parental consent, I decided to share the notebook and am considering how to develop the system to provide a digital portfolio for parents to view their child’s learning. It will be interesting to see what Ofsted make of the system as when they ask for books I plan on sending them a url with a link to the notebook. I would love to give children an individual QR code which they could scan on our class IPod Touch to be taken to the record of their own learning but unfortunately Evernote currently does not support shared notebooks on mobile devices.

As a final note, my workflow in using the system could be, take a picture or audio recording on the class’ IPod Touch (video not currently supported on Evernote app), then tag it. However, I have found the simplest method for me is to use the class’ Kodak Playsport (an awesome Flip – Video killing video and camera combination), whip out the memory card, put it into my laptop, then transfer to Evernote Desktop.