Digital Citation Generators

Why Citation Generators?

Citation generators offer numerous advantages over the traditional system of using note cards for research. Citation generators automatically develop and keep sources for the researcher with the click of a button. There is no fear of losing sources, and you will save time; having the generator automatically format your sources for you into a bibliography of any standard style from APA, to MLA and beyond.

Citation Generator Tools

A free tool that creates bibliographies for students. It allows students to look up the books or articles they would like to use in or enter manually, and then captures the important information for a bibliography for the student.

One of the first citation generators, easybib is free and allows students to enter the information from books manually and does the formatting according to style for them. Students put information in, and easybib does all the style and formatting for the student, leaving them with a finished bibliography.

Refworks using Write n cite
Refworks is a very helpful, intensive research tool provided by many universities to its students. Refworks automatically collects source information from electronic files in e-libraries and keeps track of them. Students writing papers can click a write n cite button in their browser to immediately capture the source information and save it in a file convenient to the subject of their research. When it comes time to call on the research collected for a paper, the student can open their folder of research and check boxes to select the sources they used, and refworks automatically creates the bibliography in the style of the user’s choosing. Refworks is a great tool, but requires a subscription.

Citation Machine
Use the Citation Machine to create the proper format for an MLA or APA citation then include the result into your bibliography or footnotes. Currently uses MLA 7th, APA 8th, Chicago, and Turabian.

Copyright Resources

Here are related copyright resources:

  • Copyright & Fair Use - The Stanford Universities Libraries Copyright & Fair Use Center provides articles, FAQs, primary materials, and various other helpful resources.
  • Crash Course in Copyright - The University of Texas offers a crash course on copyright. Its "syllabus" includes an explanation of basic and applied fair use and copyright.
  • The Chicago Manual of Style Online - The editorial guidelines presented in the 16th edition of The Chicago Manual of Style. The Manual and these other components of the site are fully searchable.
  • A Visit to Copyright Bay - A fun tutorial that lets you navigate "Fair Use Harbor", visit "Murky Waters", and crash on "Infringement Reef". Includes information about AV Materials, Multimedia, and more.
  • Jo Cool or Jo Fool: An Online Game about Savvy Surfing - An interactive online module that takes students through a CyberTour of twelve mock Web sites to test their savvy surfing skills. Jo Cool or Jo Fool is also accompanied by an extensive Teacher's Guide, that contains background information for teachers, and questions and classroom activities for students, about online issues such as marketing, privacy, safety, responsible Internet use and authenticating information.

See also our Creative Commons section as well as our Note-taking and Archiving section for more information.

Video Tutorials on Citation Generators

Here are two video tutorials to help you use a citation generator

A Brief Introduction to EasyBib


Understanding Copy Right & Creative Commons Licenses

Why Creative Commons?

The Internet makes millions of images, videos, and audio clips available for students to use in their projects, providing rich examples and evidence. Many of the resources available on the Internet, however, have some form of copyright protection. Under certain circumstances, students and educators can use these resources under the protection of the Fair Use provisions of the 1976 Copyright Law; however, students and educators do not have carte blanche to use these resources in any way they choose (below, we discuss some basic principles of this conceptually complex field.)

One strategy as an educator for dealing with the complexities of copyright is to devote time to teaching it and to helping students understand their rights under fair use and the rights of copyright holders. Another strategy is to direct students to photos, music, video and other resources that have been posted online by people who want their work to be reused, remixed, and reinvigorated.

Creative Commons is an organization with a mission to "develop, support, and steward legal and technical infrastructure that maximizes digital creativity, sharing, and innovation." Their core contribution to society is the development of a series of Creative Commons Licenses. These licenses allow copyright holders to share their work with "some rights reserved" in constrast to the "all rights reserved" position taken by most copyright holders.

On this page we first discuss Creative Commons licenses and their search portal. For those who want to research more about educators rights under fair use, we also include a section on copyright law and fair use.

Creative Commons Licenses

Creative commons licenses can be understood as helping copyright holders answer three basic questions:

  1. Do you want others to be allowed to modify your work?
  2. Do you want others to be allowed to make commercial uses of your work?
  3. If you allow others to modify your work, do you want them to share alike (to make their derivative work allowed to be modified)?

Creative Commons offers a series of sixlicenses based on their answers to these questions. These license all have a legal code, a human-readable summary, and machine readable code so search engines can index Creative Commons licenced materials. The least restrictive license is known as CC BY: anyone can use the material in anyway as long as the original work is credited. The most restrictive is CC BY NC ND, which allows other users to download and share the work, but not to modify or sell the work in anyway. A summary of the six licenses can be found here:

One of the best ways for students to learn about Creative Commons licenses is to license their own work which they share on the Internet. One of the easiest ways for students to choose a license is through the License Chooser, which will automatically generate a license for students.

Creative Commons Search

Creative Commons also hosts a search engine that searches for Creative Commons licensed materials: The page provides access to seven differen search tools: Google's Web search for general materials, Google Images and flickr for images, for video, jamendo for music, and SpinXpress and Wikimedia Commons for multiple media forms.

The Creative Commons search engine is particularly useful for finding "decorative" elements for multimedia presentations. If students need clip art, generic images, or background music for a presentation, the Creative Commons search engine is a great place to find materials that content creators *want* to have used and remixed.

Key Definitions for Copyright

Copyright is a form of protection given to published and unpublished work that gives the copyright holder mostly exclusive rights to reproduce, distribute, display, andprepare derivations of a work. ( Copyright law is derived from Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution, where Congress is instructed to " To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries; " The primary law governing copyright in the U.S. is the 1976 Copyright Act.

Some works, especially resources either created before the existence of copyright, or whose copyright has expired, become part of the Public Domain. The Library of Congress and National Archives have created thousands of digital copies of Public Domain materials and made them available for public use. Any resource that exists in the Public Domain can be integrated into a project without fear of copyright infringement.

Educators frequently use copyrighted work under the concept of Fair Use. “Fair use permits a second user to copy part or all of a copyrighted work under certain circumstances, even when the copyright holder has not given permission or even objects to that use of the work.” (source: Teaching Copyright Glossary) Fair use is a very difficult concept. The 1976 Copyright law makes clear that educational purposes potentially fall under fair use, but it does not provide strict guidelines for interpreting fair use, but rather four factors that must be considered:

  • The purpose and character of your use
  • The nature of the copyrighted work
  • The amount and substantiality of the portion taken, and
  • The effect of the use upon the potential market.

The only true way to determine whether a use falls under these four factors is to have a case of infringement adjudicated by the court system. Since this has happened very few times within the K-12 system (and certainly very, very few times since the advent of the Internet), the rights of educational users of copyright materials are not well demarcated.

For the past 35 years, consortia of copyright holders have advocated a very narrow reading of these four factors and encouraged educators to believe that they have very limited rights under fair use. In the past five years, educators and allies have made a determined effort to push back against this line of thinking, and carve out a broad interpretation for the rights of educators and students under fair use. After all the Constitution provisions copyright law in order to "promote science and the useful arts" not to "protect corporate market share."

Resources for Understanding and Teaching Copyright

Copyright is a complex and often misunderstood concept. Fortunately, there are many resources available for learning about and teaching these concepts.

The very best resources have been created by Renne Hobbes, a professor of media literacy at Temple University. We consider her to be the leading expert on educators rights under fair use, and we greatly value her efforts to argue pursuasively for the rights of educational uses of copyrighted materials.

Online Research

Why Online Research?

Primary sources -- the heart of the research process -- are increasingly available on the Web and will become predominantly digitally based in the future. Furthermore, as conventional, print-based text gives way to screen-based "multimodal" communication, the researcher of the 21st century will be as likely to encounter multimedia primary sources as print-based ones. As such, historians, educators, and students must improve their skills of accessing, evaluating, and collaborating with digital primary sources in networked environments.

This section can help students search the Web more effectively via using Google Advanced Search, historical databases, and more. Students (and their teachers) should learn the characteristics and proper uses of an academic search engine (ex. Refseek), a computational search engine (ex. Wolfram Alpha), a student-centric search engine (ex. Sweet Search), and a micro search engine (ex. Yolink). Students and teachers could also benefit from collaborative online bookmarking and annotation strategies with Diigo, or a similar service. In this section you can examine research-based lesson plans and teaching activities with Web 2.0 technologies and learn a set frameworks, lessons and techniques for developing student research literacy.

Online Research Resources

There are plenty of excellent online research resources, guides, and tutorials on the Web, and in print. Here are a select few:

Best Ideas for Teaching with Technology: A Practical Guide for Teachers by Teachers by Justin Reich and Tom Daccord
Chapter 4 - Guided Inquiry and Chapter 5 - Open Research discuss online research frameworks, tools, and strategies in much detail.

Noodle Tools is a suite of interactive tools designed to aid students and professionals with online research. Among its free tools are "NoodleQuest," designed to develop the optimum Web-based search strategy for your research topic. Fill in the short form and NoodleTools will suggest a research direction. Furthermore, "Choose the Best Search" provides helpful search strategies based on an analysis of your topic. In table format, it provides concise but detailed information literacy search strategies. Other free tools include "NoodleBib Starter," a free and simplified MLA version for students grades 1-5, ESL, and "NoodleLinks," a way to browse bibliographies written by researchers around the world on hundreds of topics.

Refseek is an academic search engine that makes academic information on the Internet easier to access than with typical search engines. Refseek cuts down on the overload of non-academic search results by eliminating sponsored links and most commercial web sites.

Wolfram Alpha
WolframAlpha is a unique, computational search engine. The Search results are data driven, which makes it especially uses for searching socioeconomic data, geographic and demographic data, economic data, and other topics.

SweetSearch is a search engine for students. It searches far fewer web sites than Google, but only lists websites that have been reviewed by its team of educators. It also provides social media tools that enable you to send your results to others.

Internet Archive: Wayback Machine
The Wayback Machine provides free access to researchers, historians, scholars, and the general public to billions of web pages stored in the Internet Archive's web archive. Great tool for seeing what web pages contained months, or years ago. Collections include Web, Moving Images, Texts, Audio, and Software.

Google Reader (RSS)
RSS is commonly known as “Really Simple Syndication,” and through RSS feeds you can receive a steady stream of information without directly searching for it. An RSS feed is a source of information that is regularly updated, such as a blog or news site. By subscribing to RSS feeds, you can get that stream of information delivered to you. Google Reader is a simple and easy way to collect and read RSS feeds. Google Reader enables you to make your own personalized page tailored to your interests. From within Google Reader, you can choose from millions of live Internet content feeds—including articles, blogs, images, and audio. Requires a Google account.

Center for History and New Media
The Center for History and New Media resources are designed to benefit professional historians, high school teachers, and students of history. The CHNM >Research + Tools section features Zotero a free Firefox extension for collecting, managing, and citing your research sources.

Making Sense of Evidence provides strategies for analyzing online primary materials, with interactive exercises and a guide to traditional and online sources. Visit the Reference Desk for information on annotated links to resources on standards, citing and evaluating Web sites, and understanding copyright and fair use.

Live Binders4Teachers
LiveBinders is an interactive resource for teachers to quickly research websites related to topics they are teaching that otherwise would take them much longer using Google or other search engines. A LiveBinder is a compilation tool made up of several websites related to one specific topic of the LiveBinder. For example, under the category of History LiveBinders, there is one based on the Battle of Guadalcanal. Within the binder, there are roughly ten websites relating to and describing the battle from different perspectives. Although it is much faster than navigating a topic on a search engine, LiveBinder still retains many of the drawbacks of searching for a topic online. While many websites go through a filter before they are added, the reliance of some of the websites can waver depending on who posts them. As long as this recognition is understood, LiveBinder is a generally good resource for teachers to use in their lesson plans and assignments.

TrackStar is a starting point for online lessons and activities for multiple disciplines. Simply collect websites, enter them into TrackStar, add annotations for your students, and you have an interactive, online lesson called a “Track.” Create your own Track or use one of the hundreds of thousands already made by other educators. Search the database by subject, grade, or theme and standard for a quick and easy activity.

Kathy Schrock’s Guide for Educators: Critical Evaluation Surveys
Kathy Schrock is the Administrator for Technology for the Nauset Public Schools in Massachusetts, but is better known as the creator of Kathy Schrock's Guide for Educators. She is a highly acclaimed educational technology guru and her articles, web sites, and books have helped countless teachers, students, and educators. She has put online a helpful series of web site evaluation guides for students that we and many other educators have made great use of.

Jog the Web
Jog the Web is a web-based tool that allows anyone to create a synchronous guide to a series of web sites. Its a step-by-step approach of taking viewers through web sites allowing the author to annotate and ask guiding questions for each page is unique.

Public Domain Images
To help you avoid infringing on copyright protection, EdTechTeacher has prepared an extensive list of Internet sources for public domain images, with an eye towards the humanities. Please check individual images you find at these sites to determine if there are any restrictions on usage.

Primary Source Collections and Activities

Here are select online primary source collections and activities for the classroom:

Library of Congress
An outstanding and invaluable site for American history and general studies. Contains primary and secondary documents, exhibits, map collections, prints and photographs, sound recordings, and motion pictures. The LOC's American Memory Historical Collections, a must-see, contain the bulk of digitalized materials, but the Exhibitions Gallery is enticing and informative as well.

The Library of Congress: Teachers
The new Library of Congress Teachers page provides tools and resources for using Library of Congress primary source documents in the classroom and include excellent lesson plans, document analysis tools, online and offline activities, timelines, presentations and professional development resources.

The Library of Congress American Memory
This collection in particular is an outstanding resource for American history and general studies. Included are multimedia collections of photographs, recorded sound, moving pictures, and digitized text. Use the Teachers section to explore primary set collections and themed resources. Teachers can get updates on new tools, professional development opportunities, and Library programs, events and services.

National Archives and Records Administration
The NARA offers federal archives, exhibits, classroom resources, census records, Hot Topics, and more. In addition to its paper holdings (which would circle the Earth 57 times) it has more than 3.5 billion electronic records. Users can research people, places, events and other popular topics of interest, as well as ancestry and military records. There are also features exhibits drawing from many of the NARA's popular sources. Among the most requested holdings are the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, WWII photos, and the Bill of Rights.

The National Archives: Teachers' Resources
The National Archives Lesson Plans section contains incorporates U.S. primary documents and its excellent teaching activities correlate to the National History Standards and National Standards for Civics and Government. Lessons are organized by chronological era, from 1754 to the present.

Digital Vaults
The National Archives Experience: Digital Vaults is an interactive exploration of history that examines thousands of documents, photographs, and pieces of history that have been integrated in a digital format. Upon entering the homepage, the user is given eight random archives to choose from. Clicking on one will give a description and a brief history of that archive, as well as displays a large variety of similar archives. The user has the ability to shuffle, rearrange, collect, and explore archives, as well as search for specific points in history using a keyword search. Although a lack of initial organization or index might seem overwhelming, Digital Vaults is a wonderfully imaginative resource for exploring history in a digitally compiled way.

Teach Docs
With DocsTeach, educators can create interactive history activities that incorporate more than 3,000 primary-source materials in a variety of media from the National Archives. Tools on the site are designed to teach critical thinking skills and integrate interactive elements such as puzzles, maps, and charts.

Our Documents
Offers 100 milestone documents, compiled by the National Archives and Records Administration, and drawn primarily from its nationwide holdings, that chronicle United States history from 1776 to 1965. Features a teacher's toolbox and competitions for students and teachers.

Center for History and New Media
The Center for History and New Media produces historical works in new media and tests their effectiveness in the classroom. Its resources are designed to benefit professional historians, high school teachers, and students of history. This link takes you to their History Matters: U.S. History on the Web site that provides an annotated guide to a 1000+ websites for U.S. history and social studies. The Many Pasts section contains primary documents in text, image, and audio about ordinary Americans throughout U.S. history. See also related World History Teaching Sources.

The Internet History Sourcebooks
The Internet History Sourcebooks are wonderful collections of public domain and copy-permitted historical texts for educational use by Paul Halsall. The Sourcebooks include an Ancient History Sourcebook, a Medieval Sourcebook, and a Modern History Sourcebook, as well as assorted other Sourcebooks on topics such as African History, Women's history, Islamic history, and East Asian history. Maintenance of the Sourcebooks is uneven, so expect some broken links.

EuroDocs: History of the United Kingdom - Primary Documents
These links connect to Western European (mainly primary) historical documents and shed light on key historical happenings. The sources on the United Kingdom cover various chronological periods, such as 1689 to 1815 and 1816 to 1918.

Project Gutenberg
Project Gutenberg is a major source of free historical electronic texts that can be searched by author or title. Content is free in the United States because its copyright has expired. You can download 30,000+ free ebooks to read on your PC, iPad, Kindle, Sony Reader, iPhone, Android or other portable device.

Video Tutorials on Online Research

You'll have better success with many Google searches if you use Google Advanced Search. It helps refine a search along several categories, helps eliminate unwanted sites, and reduces search time. Watch the video below to learn more:

Google Advanced Search

The most important criterion in web site evaluation is credibility. If the authorship is credible, then the content is more likely to be credible. Watch the video below to learn more:

Evaluating Web Pages

Diigo is a great web-based platform for saving, annotating, and sharing bookmarks. Students, teachers, departments, and even institutions can collect, share, and publish their online resources.

Social Bookmarking for Teachers with Diigo

How to Integrate Online Research

Unfortunately, many students simply do not have the information literacy skills needed to navigate the Web effectively in an open-ended research activity. Teachers often need to direct students to great material and set some boundaries around their exploration of well-chosen sites. At the same time we need to remember that using the Internet as a huge encyclopedia is not a particularly effective means of incorporating technology into the classroom. While the acquisition of facts and information is a critical first step in the development of a technology-guided project, our broader goal should be to develop our students' critical thinking skills.

Here are some resources for the integration of guided research activities:

  • The WebQuest model provides a simple structure for student inquiry on the Web, guiding them towards important questions and the most useful Web sites. Once you have guided students through one WebQuest, they'll be ready to tackle future ones almost on their own. Learn more on our WebQuest page.
  • With Teach Docs, educators can create interactive history activities that incorporate more than 3,000 primary-source materials in a variety of media from the National Archives. Tools on the site are designed to teach critical thinking skills and integrate interactive elements such as puzzles, maps, and charts.
  • Making Sense of Evidence from The Center for History and New Media provides strategies for analyzing online primary materials, with interactive exercises and a guide to traditional and online sources.
  • Primary Source World
    Primary Source resources for the Global Classroom features teacher-created, classroom-ready activities designed around key primary sources, including written documents, artifacts, audio clips, visual evidence and much more. Each cluster of sources includes key questions, objectives, and a background essay.

Organizing with Mindmaps

Why Mindmaps?

Mindmaps, also called graphic organizers, allow students to manipulate information in a visual, graphical way. Whether students are planning an essay or working to understand a complex topic, mindmaps allow them to work with information in a more flexible and visual manner. Many web-based mindmap tools also provide the ability to collaborate on a single map from any networked computer.

Mindmaps Tools

There are many online platforms that allow students to create and collaborate on mindmaps. While there are slight differences in each, the basic concept is that students can create an mindmap of text, identify topics and subtopics, make links between details, and (in some cases) add images. Most mindmap platforms allow work to be printed if desired and save the map as an image for embedding. Some allow an interactive embedding feature, allowing the map to be utilized on a classroom site or wiki. Teachers should check each platform thoroughly before using it with their students, as many platforms are commercial in nature and may involve a fee. Many sites also have social networking capabilities, with tagging, contacts, online communities, and messaging. All platforms require authors to create an account with an active email to login. Teachers may choose to create a group login for collaboration, and some platforms have class subscriptions for educators with secure sites.

From the makers of Inspiration, the granddaddy of mindmapping software, Webspiration allows users to view their mindmaps in graphical or outline form, incorporate text, links, images and stock clip art (including history clip art), and edit shapes, colors, lines, and font. When sharing with others,partners can chat as they work together on a mindmap and leave comments if the collaboration is asynchronous. All changes are tracked. An online help center provides assistance if needed. Documents can be saved as Websiration documents, converted to Word, or transferred to Google docs.
A beginners mindmapping site, it allows users to insert text, change the size and colors of topics, make links between different entries, and navigate around the mindmap or “sheet”. Users can share sheets with their contacts for collaboration, and thewir work can be printed or saved as an image (.jpg or .png).

A very powerful mindmapping platform, it allows users to enter text and organize ideas into subtopics. MindMeister also allows for images and URLs to be embedded in the mindmaps. The platform allows users to import other mindmaps with an .mm extension, embed mindmaps on another site, and export or print the mindmap. When the mindmaps are shared, collaboraters can include icons or enter their information in different colors to track the sharing of ideas. The platform comes with a four minute video tutorial, online help, and a default mindmap for first time users. The platform can be integrated with social networking sites for sharing and publishing.

A free account provides pre-made, web based “Thinking Guides.” Use the categorized templates to organize ideas. All templates can be customized or an original template can be created. Projects can be shared and edited by other users.
Mindomo Maps can be public or private and password protected. Number of features include: multimedia (image, audio, youtube video), formatting & topic relationships editing & unique mindmap URL.

Inspiration Software

Inspiration is terrific software. Both teachers and students can use it creatively and efficiently to organize ideas, illustrate themes, explore relationships between all sorts of objects both imaginary and tangible - and many other things, as well. Students can learn the basics quickly, then take time to poke around in the menus and really take it out for a ride, step on the gas. The ensuing journey might be a little bit bumpy, but it will also be thrilling: who doesn't enjoy creating gorgeous graphics the help illuminate sharp ideas?

Much like the web based tools, Inspiration allows students to create visual maps, outlines, and presentations. A great tool for students to use to brainstorm, take notes, and organize information, it can be purchased for individual computers or in volume. For younger students, the same company also produces Kidspiration.

To get started, let the students create something simple such as a family tree. With this concrete example, they can begin to explore tools such as how to use Rapidfire, the uses of the shapes in the menu at the bottom of the page, the Symbol Palette, and formatting. In addition to creating tree-like structures, the software is excellent for presenting a time line.

Dozens of tutorials and help files exist for getting started with Inspiration. The list below is just the beginning.

How to Integrate Mindmaps

Maps can be a great way for students to collaborate as they work to make connections about a particular topic. For example, students can share web links, images, and information as they prepare a project or research paper.

Rick Byrne wrote a great post on his blog ( about integrating MindMeister that includes a sample map. You can also find ideas for in the classroom at

Online Note Taking & Archiving

Why Online Note Taking & Archiving?

When students are gathering information from a variety of websites, they need to have some way to keep track of this information, and be able both to organize it and write notes to themselves about it. There are a variety of online tools that provide options not only for keeping track of URLs of favorite websites (like social bookmarking tools), but also that provide a visual image of the site. Many of these tools let students “clip” screen shots of videos, photos, and textual information. They can write notes about the website, or simply open a blank page just for notes to themselves. Many tools also archive audio clips as well. By tagging the archived information – with as many tags as they would like – students can organize this information into “folders”, “collections”, or “notebooks”. Students can then search by keyword, title, or tag for each bit of information. A comprehensive tool like Evernote even indexes the hand-written words found on photos or other images. Because all of the information is stored in the “cloud”, it is possible to access the account, and all the information in the notes, from any computer or hand-held device. Some tools allow students to share folders and information for free, a terrific collaborative tool; for others you need to purchase an upgrade in order to share.

Online Note Taking & Archiving Tools

The first step is to choose an online tool that has the features that will be important to you and your students. See some of the suggested possibilities below. As already stated, if it is important that students be able to share their information for group work, be sure to use a tool that provides that service for free. Demonstrate for your students first how to write a note on a blank page, then how to “clip” a website for archiving and give the note tags. Also show them how to set up folders or collections, and how to keep their information organized for future reference. They should also discover how easy it is to make notes on the archived sites, or to create a new note for their own thoughts and ideas.

Here are some sites to try:

  • Springpad – “Save. Organize. Act.” “Notes. Really, really smart notes.”
  • Zoho Notebook – “Create. Aggregate. Collaborate.” Create pages. Add content like audio, visual, notes, etc. Share your notes and pages.
  • Google Notebook Collect notes and information from the web. Download the Google Notebook Extension in order to collect images. Access from any device; share with others.
  • Zotero – “Collect, organize, cite and share.” Sync to all your devices. Includes drag-and-drop features.

Online Note Taking & Archiving Tutorials

One of the most popular sites for note-taking and archiving in education is Evernote. Evernote is a way for you to capture everything, access anywhere, and find things fast! Here is a tutorial that describes many of Evernote’s capabilities.

Introduction to Evernote

EdTechTeacher Evernote Tutorial

Evernote for Windows

Evernote for Mac

Zoho Notebook video tutorial

Google Notebook tutorial

Introduction to Zotero

You can also view a Zotero tutorial on their homepage.


Evernote is an online note-taking and archiving tool that helps you keep track of all of your information in an easily-accessible way. Evernote exampleWhen you use Evernote you can write notes to yourself, clip Web site URLs, copy and paste sections of Web sites, post screen shots, and keep track of all sorts of videos, photos, images, audio clips, and textual information. Each piece of information can be tagged and kept in Notebooks (like folders in a word processing program). You can search by keyword, title and tag. Evernote even indexes the hand-written words found on photos or other images. And because all of the information is stored in the “cloud”, you can access your account, and all your information, from any computer or hand-held device. Evernote says that you can “capture everything”, “organize it” (or let them do it), and “find anything fast”.

When students use Evernote, they can create different Notebooks for different courses and projects, tag items in their Notebooks, comment and take notes on things that they are learning, and get themselves organized without worrying about losing lots of papers. If some students have difficulty taking notes (either because of a broken arm, or due to difficulty processing information quickly enough in class), they can take photos of the notes from the whiteboard, tag them, and keep them organized for later study. Evernote has great potential uses for differentiating instruction for students who need it.

See the Evernote homepage to set up an account:

How to Integrate Online Note Taking & Archiving

Students will need to have their own accounts in the chosen tool. Evernote can be accessed either directly on the web, or through a downloaded application. If your computer (or other device) has the application, there is an icon in the toolbar that makes sending notes to Evernote very quick and simple. Once students have set up their accounts, try using it in some of these ways:

  • Students can use the combination of “notebooks”, titles, and tagging to organize classroom notes, as well as research for projects. They can also set up separate notebooks for personal information, and begin to transfer good habits from schoolwork to their lives outside of school. This is how teachers can help students become life-long learners.
  • Teachers can take a photo of notes on a board and post the photo to a shared “notebook”. The Evernote search feature can read hand-written notes and provide great search results! This is also a useful feature for when students are absent, or when students have a disability that, for some reason, prevents them from writing, like a broken arm.
  • Teachers can turn typed classnotes into a pdf and post to a shared notebook, or just copy and paste classnotes into a blank note.
  • Students and teachers can share weblinks with each other, and learn from their comments on those links.
  • Teachers can share pdf files of primary source documents with students.
  • Students can save pdf documents that they find for their research in library databases.
  • Groups of students can work within a shared notebook, each of them contributing information for a particular project.
  • Students can develop a to-do list to help them stay organized.
  • Students and teachers can record and share audio files.
  • In Evernote, it is possible to have notes emailed directly to your notebooks, or to create an RSS feed to your notebooks.
  • If students and teachers are working with Twitter, it is also possible to have Tweets sent to your notebooks.