Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Evernote for course content . . .

In the junior level theology class that I teach, I have converted all of my class lecture notes, handouts, outlines, and links to "notes" in Evernote.  I then shared the folder of notes with the students in the class.

If you haven't used Evernote, the basic account is free, web-based, and links between phone, iPad, laptop, etc. I have my whole life in Evernote.  Love it.

In our BYOD environment, students are viewing the notes during my class from their device.  I do generally make a few hard-copies for the students that still prefer to write on, mark up, or highlight as I teach.

Doing this has solved two main problems:
  1. Course content is always available on their devices for those times when they miss class or misplace something.
  2. They theoretically have access to the course content for the rest of their lives.  For instance, if after they graduate from high school they end up in a conversation about the historical reliability of the Bible, they may think to themselves, "I'm pretty sure I learned that...," a quick login and search could bring those notes roaring back into their lives.
The hurdle in doing this is that I have preserved the integrity of the original notes by allowing them to only view and not edit.  Therefore, students who are not writing, filling in, or adding to the notes may not have the same rate of retention if they have been geared to "if I write it, I remember it."  I am continuing to tweak and adjust assessment to reflect more than just the memorization of facts that may benefit from "writing everything down themselves."  Maybe more on that later . . . til then, see what you can learn. 

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