KORCOS Conference 2012- Videoconferencing and Evernote

Thanks to Google Hangout, on Thursday I’ll be co-presenting a workshop at the KORCOS 2012 International Education Conference in Incheon, South Korea. Our session is called “Videoconferencing and Evernote in the Classroom.” My friend (Kevin) teaches at an international school in Korea and uses videoconferencing often in his classroom to “bring in” guest speakers and experts. He’ll be in Korea demonstrating how he uses videoconferencing in his classroom; I’ll be sitting at my desk in the United States demonstrating how I use Evernote in my classroom.

Isn’t that nuts?! Man, we live in the future.

When videoconferencing, the true value is the interaction between the audience and the guest– so I have 8 minutes. 8 minutes. 480 seconds. That’s it. How do I boil down everything into 8 minutes?

After some considerable thought, I’m going to demonstrate how using Evernote helped answer these three questions:

  • What is the best way to assist, tutor, and teach students when they are working outside of my classroom?
  • What is the best way to document, show, and share individual student growth?
  • What is the best way to assess the individual needs of my students while still using the state writing rubric?

If you had 480 seconds to share what you love about Evernote, what would you say? Comment below. (No, seriously– comment below. Think about how cool it would be if everyone who reads this post actually posts a comment. There would be SO many new ideas spread instantly. Often when I have an idea, I just assume everyone else has that same idea– but that’s rarely the case. What might seem obvious to you, may seem genius to someone else. So if the urge hits you, share your genius below.)

Creating Student Portfolios

When this school year ends, my goal is for my students to have a writing portfolio with all of their work– including all drafts. As an English teacher, I’d like for my students to leave with two achievements:

I want my students to enjoy writing, and

I want my student to see how they’ve grown as a writer.

The first is out of my control; the second is not.

To create digital student portfolios for my students using Evernote:

1. I created a new Evernote account (to keep my personal Evernote account separate). As a premium member, I am able to switch back and forth between accounts pretty effortlessly. It also cuts down on the number of notebooks in my personal account (which is really the main reason I went this route).

2. I created a notebook for each student and shared it with the student and his/her parents. Currently my students do not have editing rights to the notebook– I’m still on the fence about how to handle that. I want them to have some control over it, but I also want to be certain their assignments are never deleted (purposefully or accidentally).

3. I scan each major assignment. After each writing assignment and test, I use my Fujitsu ScanSnap s1500 scanner to scan each paper into a separate PDF. The documents are saved to a folder on my desktop.

4. I send the files to Evernote using the Import Folders feature. The files are automatically sent to a designated Evernote notebook (mine is titled “Student Assignments”). Even though my scanner is capable of sending assignments directly to Evernote, using the Import Folders feature gives me the ability to send the files to a designated notebook and I have the option of either automatically saving or deleting the files from my desktop. (I delete mine.)

5. I move each file to the appropriate student’s notebook. Students (and their parents) are then able to view their previous assignments and tests any time.

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For our next writing assignment, I will be able to “customize” the rubric and add a separate grading criteria for each student. For example, if one student needs to improve on organization and another needs to improve pronoun usage and voice, I can find the previous assignment for each student on Evernote and determine the “improvement focus” for this particular assignment. Each student will be “graded” according to his or her own ability rather than against a standard, class-wide rubric.

I am new at the Evernote portfolio idea and figuring it out as I go. To get more information from someone who’s been doing it for a while, check out the Evernote as Portfolio blog by new Evernote Education Ambassador Rob van Nood.

Posting Video Tutorials in Shared Notebook

I did it again! It’s been several weeks since my last post. Why is it so difficult to keep up with a blog?! I’m tempted to use “I haven’t had time because I’ve been trying to learn new things to use in my classroom” as an excuse, but that’s not logical. In fact, because I’ve been experimenting with my iPad and Fujitsu ScanSnap scanner is the precise reason I should have written some new posts.

Sorry.

The first grading period just ended and our shared Evernote class notebook is filling up nicely with notes, assignments, resources, practice tests, and other miscellaneous classroom things. I teach a grammar-focused 8th grade English class, so we have been diagramming sentences lately. (Remember that? It’s a definitely a lost art.)

Typically, students take notes in class and go over practice sentences, but many would get home and feel lost. I posted “extra” samples to our Evernote notebook, and that seemed to help a little, but many of my students had a hard time “following me” to see how I got the right answer. They saw only the final product.

I stumbled across a great app called ShowMe which allows me to post a tutorial video link walking students through different homework questions. Students typically have 8-10 sentences to diagram, so I post 3-4 ShowMe examples for them to follow.

Click below to watch one of the most recent tutorial videos I’ve posted. It may not be the greatest quality, but I’m still learning. (And believe it or not, it’s way better than my first few videos! Wow, they were horrible!)

Yes, I am giving answers to some of the homework, but more importantly I am giving direction and showing  how to do the work. As a result, students seem to “get” how to do the other problems, which is the ultimate goal.

Because I’ve created a shared Evernote class notebook, I am able to post the ShowMe links indefinitely along with copies of the assignment and additional class notes. If a student misses a day, needs a quick review, or feels lost, there’s a designated place to go for help any time of day. My students’ parents seem to like it, too. Most of them remember having to diagram sentences but don’t remember the first thing about it. Several of them have mentioned “getting to relive the 8th grade again”… but I’m still trying to figure out if that’s good or bad.

Do you use ShowMe or a similar app in your classroom? If so, share below. I’d love to hear about all the other great classroom apps available.