Shared Notebooks & Project-Based Learning

On Monday, I participated in a Project-Based Learning (PBL) workshop led by Clif Mims. During one of our sessions, we were asked to role-play PBL with this assignment:

1. Collaborate with partners to research the debate of the H1N1 flu vaccine. Review trustworthy resources taking notes and keeping citations as you learn. (Driving Question/Scenario)

2. Develop a list of some arguments for or against the vaccine. (Data Collection)

3. Share as a class. (Data Analysis)

4. Create a persuasive presentation advocating your decision.(Communicate Findings)

My group of 5 other teachers began scouring the internet to find credible sources to support and defend our argument. In order to keep everything centrally located, I suggested we use a shared Evernote notebook. However, none of my other group members had Evernote accounts (and some are a little leery of the tech).

Here was my solution:

Using my iPad, I created a shared notebook and made a public link which I emailed to each group member. As they found good articles, they replied with the link and quotes/stats/information. I then forwarded the email to my Evernote account using my Evernote email address. Two teachers preferred handwriting their key facts and information, so when we were finished, I snapped a picture of those and added a note to our notebook.

Our final product consisted of a shared notebook with 4 articles and some other handwritten key facts. Our sources were documented (with links) and stored where we all had access– rather than printed and kept in a paper folder that one group member would be in charge of (and inevitably lose).


Although this was a role-playing exercise, it was great sitting in a student’s seat for a change. Despite being the only group member with an Evernote account, creating a shared notebook definitely helped. Imagine if every student in a class had an Evernote account. Any time students would need to work in groups to gather information, they could create a shared notebook each group member would have access to anytime, anywhere.

As it is with teachers, using technology at school is still relatively new for many students. It’s our job to teach them how their devices will help them at school rather than assume they can figure it out.

For more ideas about how students can use Evernote at school, download a free copy of 19 Practical Evernote Ideas for Students.

5 thoughts on “Shared Notebooks & Project-Based Learning

  1. I was glad to see your group giving this a try, Jordan. Experiences like this are a great way for teachers to have their ideas about what’s possible in the classroom “pushed.” I’m especially glad the group was able to see that notes hand-written on paper can still be added into the notebook. Evernote has become a necessity for me. It is so integrated into my workflow that I pay for the pro version each year.

    Did you demonstrate that Evernote will search the text within images?

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