As more and more of our notes, lessons, handouts, and presentations become digital, there sparks a growing need to organize our files in a way that makes sense, is easily accessible, and is cost effective (free sounds good, right?). All of this is possible using a multi-platform application that is available for Mac, PC, iOS, and Adroid devices.

The idea behind this challenge is to get you setup and acclimated with an Evernote account and understand some ways in which you can use it to organize yourself and/or use it with your students. I will share with you the method to get signed up with Evernote in the instructions below, then I will provide some resources for you to get some additional PD on what Evernote truly is and how it can be used effectively.

As always, if you have questions along the way feel free to ask! Twitter: @InstTechTalk


The Challenge:

Setup an account on Evernote (and learn some ways to use it).


How to complete the challenge:

1. Start by creating an account.

ITT TIP: You are able to immediately start using the web version of Evernote, but I would highly recommend using the downloadable software as it has many more features and is much easier to integrate into your daily workflow. Mac Download, PC Download, iOS App, Android App

Depending on what software version you download, you will find a somewhat different visual experience. The essence of the app will be the same, but buttons and options may be located in different places.

2. What doesn’t change is the terminology used among the different apps.

Understanding the terminology will help you get a better grasp on what is possible with Evernote.

There are 5 main sections of the Evernote environment:



Notes: This section contains all of your notes. Evernote organizes all of your content into notes. Typically, an individual note contains the information for one event (whether that be one meeting, one class, one assignment, etc). The Notes section is a conglomerate of all the notes in your account and is searchable – you can search any text (typed or handwritten) that are in your notes.

Notebooks: Evernote allows users to create multiple notebooks to help organize your notes. It is my philosophy to minimize the amount of notebooks I have. Instead, I use tags (which are addressed in the next section). I do keep a Work and Personal notebook to keep some of my information separate and so when I know I’m looking for a work note I’m not getting false positives with personal notes (you can search specific notebooks and notes from other notebooks will not return as results).

Tags: Tags are one of the most powerful tools in Evernote. They are the ultimate way to easily organize your notes without losing your mind. When I was in the classroom, I would tag notes with the grade level, class name, unit name, and whether it was an assignment, test, or handout. You can view all notes with a common tag, which allows you to filter down your notes in a meaningful way. As an administrator that is responsible for our budget, I use Evernote tags to keep track of all our vendors and orders – a new tag for each vendor. Having access to all your notes anywhere you are (via mobile apps or web access) is incredibly powerful and something that I reference multiple times a day.

Atlas: Something that is more accessible in the newer version of Evernote is the Atlas section. This section categorizes your notes based on the location in which it was created. There are some interesting possibilities for this function in education. For business travelers this feature makes a ton of sense. In the classroom, you have to use your imagination a little – but students could use this to do a presentation about various sights in their city – a different note for each. Teachers can easily organize the notes they create at school and notes they create at home (short of using a different notebook). What ways do you see this working in education?

Trunk: The Trunk is an awesome place to find apps, programs, websites, and accessories to complement your Evernote account. There are great ways to incorporate other technologies (such as Livescribe Pens) or apps (such as Penultimate) to make your note taking to the next level. This area is definitely worth checking out.

3. Create your first note.

  • All the versions of the software will look a little different. That said, creating a new note is always signified by the + sign. Find the + and click it – doing so will either open a new window or display a blank space for you to add content. Add a descriptive title, a couple tags to help organize the note, and then your content. That’s it! You’ve just created your first note. 
  • You can also create a note by importing a file into Evernote. I import all my files as PDFs as they are viewable in Evernote extremely easily (and Evernote makes them searchable). Simply drag them into Evernote from your File Explorer window.

4. Learn More

There is TONS of great information about Evernote out there. I have included some videos and links to my favorite resources below. Definitely use them as you work towards better organizing yourself on Evernote. As always, feel free to contact me with any questions!

Instructional Tech Talk Podcast – Evernote in the Classroom

Evernote’s Guide to Evernote for Windows

Evernote’s Guide to Evernote for Mac

Evernote’s Guide to Evernote for iOS

Evernote’s Guide to Evernote for Android


A wealth of Evernote videos and tutorials:

Jordan Collier’s blog about Evernote in the classroom:


Complete the challenge? Tweet out your success using the button below!