Evernote Use #27- Say goodbye to your flash drive #50EduEvernote

I have several Word and Excel files that I update regularly. I used to save the files in multiple locations– usually on my hard drive, on my school network drive, and undoubtedly on a flash drive. Because I would access one of the files from multiple locations, sometimes I wouldn’t update the most recently-changed document, so in essence, I had three or four versions of the same document floating around.

Using a flash drive helped me with this problem– as long as I didn’t lose my flash drive. But keeping up with a flash drive isn’t something I’m good at.

Maybe you can relate.

Today I don’t use flash drives, hard drives, or even my school’s network drive; now, I just use Evernote.

I save my Excel, PowerPoint, and Word files in a note, and when I need to update one of the documents, I open it the file, work on it, and when I save it, it saves it back to my Evernote note.

No more lost flash drives. No more having to drive to school at the night to search for something on my network drive. No more having a file saved on my laptop that I can’t access from school. It’s all on the cloud. Everything. Lesson plans, assignments, tests, projects, presentations, our budget– everything.

And not only that, but as a premium member, all of those files are searchable.

There are many great cloud-storage services out there. If you’re using one (even if it’s not Evernote), I’m sure you’re loving it. If you still save things on a flash drive or your hard drive, you may want to consider using Evernote.

If we don’t tell our story, someone else will.

Tell Our Story

Our school has a story that goes way beyond our history. We have a story with pages written every single day, and depending on who’s telling the story, the story could be a good one or could be one we don’t want shared. Despite the accuracies or inaccuracies in the details, a story of our school is told every day by our students, their parents, our employees, our alumni, and anyone else who’s ever even heard of us.

It’s imperative that we tell our story (and tell it often) if you we want the story to be accurate. It’s one reason posting often on Twitter and Facebook has been a focus of ours this year. We want to tell our story and share all of the great things that are happening at our school. This past week has been great and I’ve tried to share those great things on Twitter. At the end of each week, I’ve been using Storify to share the Mustang Mountain Tweets of the Week (see last week’s here).

But telling our story goes way beyond social media and our web page. We are the greatest ambassadors of our school and in many of our interactions outside of school we tell a little of the our story. Here are four things to keep in mind to help us tell a great story.

1. Always be positive. Everything isn’t perfect at our school, but that doesn’t mean we should broadcast the negative stuff! It’s important for us watch our words, being certain that what we’re saying always paints our students, our faculty, our administration, and our school as a whole in a positive light. People are listening.

2. Share our students’ accomplishments. When students do great things, we need to brag on them. We have so many ways to share those successes- Twitter, our webpage, Facebook, etc. Be on the lookout for outstanding work and share it.

3. Look for awesome because you’ll find what you are looking for. (I probably just lost some of you because now you’re humming U2’s “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.”) If you’re looking for things to complain about it, you’ll find plenty. However, if you look for the awesome things about our school, you’ll find plenty of those as well. Look for awesome.

4. When in doubt, over-communicate. Let parents know what’s going on at school. If students are working on projects in class, they may not have many grades posted online. Share that with parents so they will be in the loop and will tell a story of all the great things going in the classroom. If not, the story will be, “They don’t do much in class because there aren’t many grades.”

If you want some more insight into the importance of sharing your school’s story, check out Ben Gilpin’s latest blog post that he shared with his faculty. I promise he didn’t copy from me nor did I copy from him!
What’s the story you want people to tell about your school? Be sure that’s the story you’re telling often.

Evernote Use #26- Going Paperless #50EduEvernote

Two years ago, I got rid of my teacher desk, and last year when I moved into my office, the first thing I did was ask for the giant desk and filing cabinets to be removed. I knew myself. If I had places to put things (like in desk drawers or filing cabinets), things would pile up and my work space would be cluttered.

In any given day, I have several papers that come my way:

leave request forms

absentee reports

discipline notices

field trip requests

transportation itineraries

sub paperwork

meeting agendas

professional development documentation

Without an organization system in place, it would be really easy to be disorganized and my office would certainly be a disaster. However, my office looks the same today as it did the first day of school, and I love walking into it every day.

My paperless office system is pretty simple and all it takes is a scanner and an Evernote account:

1. If I get a paper that I need to keep, I scan it with my Fujitsu ScanSnap scanner and save it as a PDF.

2. When I scan the note, it is saved directly to Evernote.

3. I put the note in a specific notebook (depending on the document) and tag it accordingly.

4. I then add reminders if needed. For instance, for leave request forms, I set a reminder for two days prior to the absence to make sure we have a substitute assigned to cover the class.

That’s it!

Having a paperless office is very liberating for me and I feel more creative when I’m organized. Whenever I walk in, my office is neat and clean, and I’m not instantly defeated by piles of things I need to do.

If your office or classroom isn’t as neat and organized as you’d like, consider reducing your piles of paper with Evernote. It works for me!