In a previous blog entry, I outlined my investigation into, and some of the steps to using, Evernote for a specific oral task with my DP2 English A1 students. After investigating the pieces of Evernote that I needed to make this process a reality, I directed students to the places where they could begin setting up Evernote. I sent out the following email:
Please go to the class Moodle site. Near the top of the page you will find a video and some information about the Evernote app. This is something that you need to set up on your mobile (preferably) or a laptop that you could bring to school (at a date in the not so distant future). This will be key to an upcoming summative assessment. (WHAT?! Did I really just say “summative”? Yes, I did!)
See what you can accomplish with the Evernote setup and we will talk further about this tomorrow in class.
The first response was this:
I don’t know how to say this, but is it normal to fall in love with an application on your laptop? I don’t know how I ever lived without Evernote… THANK YOU SO MUCH!
WoW! I felt so validated by this response. Gradually I began receiving emails like the one below, providing a link to a shared Evernote notebook within the body of an email:
The link led to Evernote where my I could easily view my growing list of “Linked Notebooks”
The day of the scheduled IOC practice arrived. I was nervous about the various pieces that could prevent this from being a successful BYOD lesson. I had verified that Evernote could be used without internet access since my school is not yet a wireless environment. I had offered students endless opportunities to speak to me about not having a portable device (Smartphone, laptop, etc.). I had offered to help with the set-up process. What could I have overlooked to prevent success?!
Students arrived in class and everyone had their device! A significant obstacle totally averted! (YESSS!) However, some students had not completed the prep work required of them. This meant that Evernote was not loaded onto their devices. (I wasn’t totally surprised by this. After all, these are teenagers I am working with.) In most cases it was students with Smartphones powered by internet data plans. Loading the app onto their phones was quick and easy.
We joined another class in the outdoor canteen area for the actual recording. (I forgot to mention that I totally drug a new teacher along on this experimental ride.) The canteen allowed students an open area to put distance between themselves and their classmates during the recording process that a classroom space would not have allowed. Students began recording their oral commentaries using the audio option within an Evernote notebook. I was able to circulate to offer assistance and answer questions. One student was unable to use his phone to record, so I loaned him my iPhone for the activity. A simple tap on the “Audio” icon initiated the recording.
Once students were done recording and their audio notes were saved, a slight panic ensued when their notebooks weren’t immediately showing up in my list of Evernote Linked Notebooks. I assured them that when they had an internet connection and they synced their Evernote account, I would have access to their recordings. Luckily my guess was correct!
I breathed a sigh of relief when this class period was over. The next step would be listening to and scoring the oral commentaries and asking students to reflect on the process. Their initial reactions immediately following the recording were all positive. I’ll cover student feedback and reflection in a future blog entry.