Evernote Use #17- Save and Share Your Reading Annotations #50EduEvernote

Over the next few weeks, I will be posting 50 different ways school administrators and educators can use Evernote to be more organized and more effective. I’ll be using #50EduEvernote on Twitter to further this discussion and share ideas. If you’d like, click here to follow me on Twitter.

Evernote Use #17- Save and Share Your Reading Annotations

As an active reader, I highlight, write notes, and copy key ideas every time I read– whether it is my own physical book, a borrowed book, or an ebook.

When I finish a book, I save my reading notes to Evernote so that I have them everywhere I go. I often find myself thinking back to something I’ve read, and I love being able to access those notes from anywhere.

I typically save my reading notes one of three ways:

1. Import my notes and highlights directly from my Kindle account. (To learn the process I use, click here.)

Kindle Highlights and Notes (transferred directly from Amazon)

Kindle Highlights and Notes (transferred directly from Amazon)


2. Scan my handwritten notes.

Handwritten Book Notes (scanned)

Handwritten Book Notes (scanned)


3. Manually type my notes into an Evernote note.

Manually Typed Book Notes (Evernote for Mac)

Manually Typed Book Notes (Evernote for Mac)

After reading Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazi, I began sending my reading notes to colleagues and people I’ve just met and would like to help. Because I save my notes in Evernote, I simply email the Evernote note with my reading annotations.

Emailed Annotations

Emailed Annotations

Sharing annotations is a great way to foster a culture of collaboration and growth– perfect for teachers and administrators.



The Secret to Encouraging Reluctant Teachers to Use EdTech

The beauty of educational technology (EdTech) is also it’s biggest hurdle:  there is always something newer and better.

For some teachers, finding out about the latest and greatest EdTech is invigorating, challenging, and rewarding. They can’t wait to try something new and see if it will help their students.

For some teachers, finding out about the latest and greatest EdTech is paralyzing, intimidating, and draining. They don’t know where to start, so they refuse to learn and feel defeated. They say things like “There’s just so much. I don’t know even know where to start” or “I’m not like you. I’m so far behind that I’ll never catch up.”

I don’t buy it. My response is always the same for teachers who fear integrating technology into the classroom: “Start with what you know.”

This artwork hangs in my office as a daily reminder for me and my colleagues to avoid the analysis of paralysis:

A reminder hanging in my office (courtesy of Hugh MacLeod)

“If in doubt” by Hugh MacLeod

That’s what I would tell students. Why not tell teachers the same thing?

Start with what you know.

Let me tell you a story to illustrate this:

A friend of mine teaches Geometry and coaches football. Last week his kids were fighting off the flu and it’s still hanging around. As a result, he missed a few days last week and he’ll be out all of this week. That’s not good for him, his kids, or his Geometry students.

I suggested he create some video lessons for the sub to play so he and his students wouldn’t fall too far behind. I told him about apps like ShowMe and Educreations, but without an iPad to use, he was stuck. He went home, did a little research, and found something that might work for him… but sadly after trying to figure it out, it just didn’t work.

He texted me pretty bummed and said he’d just find another worksheet for his students to do while he was gone. I suggested he record a video with his iPhone (which he knows how to do). He could angle the camera on a piece of paper and teach his lesson with pen and paper. When he finished, he could send the video for the sub to play.

He loved the idea and then said rather than emailing the video, he’d post it on HUDL— a program he knows well from watching, editing, and sharing game films with other coaches and players.

The next morning he emailed a link to the HUDL video, and when his students came to class, they were able to have a “normal” class day even though their teacher was absent.

The reason this worked is simple:  Instead of being paralyzed about learning something new, my friend started with what he already knew (recording iPhone videos and uploading videos to HUDL) and created a learning opportunity for his students.

That’s how EdTech is supposed to work. It’s supposed to help us in the classroom and give us options that didn’t exist in years past. It should be liberating– not intimidating.

The next time you hear colleagues saying they’re too old to start using technology in class, call them out on it. Tell them to start with what they know. They often know more than they’re letting on. Heck, they probably have more Facebook friends than you do.




Dare to Create Culture

I absolutely love Hugh MacLeod‘s work, so much so that a few months ago I emailed him and asked him if he’d consider doing a piece for my classroom. I sent him two book excerpts that were really resonating with me at the time:

“I am convinced that if we lose kids to the culture of drugs and materialism, of violence and war, it’s because we don’t dare them, not because we don’t entertain them.” (from The Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne)

“We have no great war, no epic struggle to embrace, no cause to call out the best in us. So what do we do instead? We play. Did you know the average age of a gamer is thirty-two? Now, I don’t see anything inherently wrong with diversion and games, but that is certainly telling about our culture, isn’t it? Instead of raising families or creating culture, we are sitting in our living rooms with our eyes glued to the television, simulating life. We are escapists, cowards, and thieves.” (from Wrecked by Jeff Goins)

When the two ideas are combined, the message is this: Dare to Create Culture.

When I emailed Hugh and his CEO Jason Korman about the commissioned piece, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Hugh put together three pieces for me, and I picked my favorite which Hugh absolutely nailed! The team at Gaping Void printed it up and shipped it to me just in time for the new school year.

The irony of the story is that when we discussed the print, the plan was to hang it in my classroom as a reminder to both me and my students of the task at hand. However, late in the summer I was asked to serve as assistant principal at my high school with the duty of leading our school as we work to integrate technology into our classrooms and push students to become 21st century learners– students who are prosumers (both producers and consumers of content).

In a sense, I’ve been asked to help create a new school culture. And that takes guts. Because things won’t work right the first time (or the second– or the third for that matter). Because (hopefully) I’ll fail often. Because what seems like a great idea isn’t. Because I’m inexperienced. Because I’m young (although that’s debatable). Because for some the old way was working, so why do we need to change? Because, because, because… the list goes forever.

If as a leader I’m unwilling to take risks, I can’t expect anyone else to either. And if failure isn’t an option, then it’s not really a risk, is it? So my job is to take risks, be vulnerable, discover things that work, discover things that don’t, and press on.

Creating culture certainly isn’t easy, but I’m having a blast!

So here’s my new office with my custom art thanks to Hugh and his team at Gaping Void.


If you’re looking for a great book to read on creativity, check out Hugh’s first book Ignore Everybody. If you’re looking for some artwork for your office or classroom, you can start browsing here. If nothing else, you might want to subscribe to Hugh’s newsletter.