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Evernote: a tool for your PLE

February 9, 2010 1 comment

I’m kicking off my series of blog posts focusing on tools you might want to consider having in your PLE with a look at Evernote. If you follow educationalists and teachers on Twitter one of the tools you’ll often see them tweeting about is Evernote and you’ll notice they are giving it a positive press.  Evernote is a free app (though there is also a paid version available), which works a bit like Microsoft’s One Note. It allows you to take clippings of websites, files, images, photographs, videos and audio recordings and tag them for easy retrieval and organise them into notebooks.  Also everything you clip and store is easily searchable, including handwritten notes and text in images. You can also share your clippings so if you’re working on a group project it’s easy to share the resources that you find.

The real beauty of Evernote is that you can use it as a web service on any web browser, but you can also install the application on your own personal Windows or Mac desktop, your iPod Touch/iPhone.  It also works on Android phones, the Blackberry,  Palm Pre and Windows mobile. You can synchronise your Evernote account with your desktop or mobile device and access your notes offline. This ability to access your notes without an internet connection is what I really find helpful, particularly on a hand held device like the iPod Touch, I have all my notes and helpful resources at my fingertips even when I can’t get a wireless connection.

There’s a helpful overview of how you can use Evernote as a tool in your personal learning environment that’s been put together by a US medical student Ryan McDonald.  Ryan calls Evernote his ‘medical peripheral brain’, unfortunately I can’t embed his video here but you take a look at it on his screencast page and see how he uses it to support his medical studies.

The Evernote website has a series of videos which give an overview of its features and how people are using it.  There are several videos which include students talking about why they use Evernote.  You can use Evernote for all sorts of things, I use it to support my ongoing life long learning but the more I use it the more uses I find for it.

If you want to find out more about how people are using Evernote here are some additional links you might want to take a look at.

Evernote: Redefining my organisational thinking – Academic Life in Emergency Medicine Blog

14 Practical Ways to Use Evernote – Guy Kawasaki

Ron’s Evernote Tips

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Personal learning environments

February 7, 2010 2 comments

In my last post I mentioned the concept of the personal learning environment (PLE), which is essentially an individualised learning space that makes use of a variety of tools and resources.  A PLE can help you gather and organise resources and information, support reflection and learning, as well as facilitating connections with others.  A PLE can include both formal and informal learning opportunities, so the institutional VLE might be part of your PLE as well as other tools which are available via the web.

With the growing number of Web 2.0 tools that are free, accessible (and easy to use for those of us who aren’t computer geeks) developing your own PLE doesn’t need to be a daunting experience.  Most individuals will have some sort of a PLE but perhaps aren’t aware of the range of tools that can now be used to support their learning or their teaching.  Here on Dundee e-MedEd I’m going to start a series of blog posts looking at some of the tools that you might want to take a look at, which could support your learning and become part of your learning environment.

To find out a bit more about PLE’s take a look at this presentation by Stephen Downes.