Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Thing 8...Update on Evernote vs. OneNote

"Our next next task is to become proficient with our chosen tools. Use them consistently and with great skill and share the knowledge with others."--from Thing 8, 2011

When last I posted on organizing tools, I was torn between Evernote and Microsoft OneNote, each with distinctive advantages and drawbacks (outlined in my previous post). I've been using both throughout the year, and I can tell you truthfully that it is driving me to distraction. I hate having two different places storing all my notes!

Over the course of the last year, a couple of improvements have been made in both applications, alleviating their biggest challenges.  OneNote now has an android app; Evernote now syncs across the school district firewall.

So which did I choose? I am now committed to Evernote. It goes back to my quote above--needing to use one app consistently, learn it well, and share it with others. While my school district is tied to Microsoft, almost no one uses or has invested training in using the OneNote application. At this time, sharing notebooks is not a huge priority and while OneNote holds a distinct advantage in sharing, it's lack of being freely available to multiple users offsets that advantage quite a bit. Okay, the app is free, but to use the computer software, MS Office 2010, with the app, it must be purchased. I think that I'd rather become proficient with Evernote and share that with others, without worrying whether or not they have access to Microsoft software on their computer.

I do like the look/feel of the the OneNote "notebooks" and the organizational ability of MS OneNote is tops, however, Evernote does work well and I find nothing wrong with orgainzing within Evernote (though it isn't as colorful.)  PS:  The new Evernote app is cool too!

I like the "Clip to Evernote" plugin for Chrome, though I haven't used the OneNote plugin for Chrome, the one in IE works well. I rarely use IE though, so that was definitely not a factor.

But the clincher? The reason for the total switch? LiveScribe! Up until a couple of weeks ago, I was still waffling. I really like both pieces of software. I have no major drawbacks with either, though I tend towards the Evernote app because it is not tied to Microsoft. However, at a recent conference, Leslie Fisher demonstrated the LiveScribe pen and it's new ability to sync with Evernote. I was sold, lock, stock and barrel.  Now, I just need to get me one of those pens!

Coke vs. Pepsi, Kindle vs. Nook, PC vs. Mac, IE vs. Chrome, Evernote vs. OneNote...in the end, I think it will always boil down to a sometimes indefinable personal preference. What's your choice?

Monday, June 11, 2012

Thing 7-Revisited

(You can find the first part of this post here.)

It's been and exciting and busy year, and yes, I was able to meet my real life networking goals by becoming involved as a building rep for PAGE and yes, I managed to join GLMA.  Yay!

One of the most exciting things I tried to do was to encourage others in my district to join or increase their own involvement with professional organizations as well.  At our fall meeting I issued a challenge to: Explore, Join, Participate and Share.  And guess what?  Many did!

Unfortunately, I was not able to stay at the end of year district meeting due to a conflict in my schedule, so my goal next year will be to host a meetup or two to compare notes, share experiences, and generally support each other as kind of our own real life network.  Oh! Well I do sort of have that with my awesome and amazing cluster group of media specialists, but I'd like to see it reach across grade levels and schools as well.

On another note, I was asked if I would volunteer with the GAETC conference! It was quite serendipitous, but I'm glad to lend a hand and hope to have more information soon on the details.

I joined CASIE as part of our continuing goal of becoming an IB World School and, while not active, I've gotten some great ideas for supporting language learners in our school library.

Now I've about reached my saturation point for professional organizations!  Next year will be a year to coordinate and balance my participation and involvement while encouraging others to share their experiences and information with each other.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Gadgets & Web 2.0--Highlights from BPI

The first three days of the week have been filled with sessions from the MCSD Best Practices Institute. I'm a first year attendee, though these have been going on for quite awhile. My gut reaction after attending has been, "Wow!" What a wealth of information delivered in fun and creative ways! The best part? It was all FREE!

I chose 6 sessions to attend, including the ones on tech held today. Leslie Fisher presented on Gadgets (love this) in the morning and Web 2.0 (Beyond the Basics) this afternoon....and my brain is on complete and utter overload...but I'm so excited about the wealth of information and can't wait to spend the rest of the summer exploring.

My new faves from the day included:

  • LiveScribe Pens (and notebooks)  
    • I liked that I could carry around a pen and notebook instead of lugging around my netbook or laptop and then...sync my notes to Evernote! I had seen a demo of these about a year ago, and while cool, didn't grab me until I heard about the sync today.  Oh, there are a wealth of educational uses for them too, and I can't wait to score a few for the library.
  • Class Dojo 
    • This website could be a 21st century answer to the age old problem of managing behaviors and communicating with parents.  Could definitely replace those weekly behavior sheets being sent home.
  • Socrative App for iOS
    • Turn our iPod lab into student response systems...need I say more?
  • Lino-Sticky and Photo Sharing
    • I see using this as a central place to collect resources for a training, a presentation on a topic, student reports...and I'm sure I will think of more.  It is visually appealing, has a cool factor, and is simple to start using.
I have more notes from this day that I will need to review...and I may discover a new favorite to add to the list.
Someone asked me one time if I ever slept, well, because I seem to know a lot about tech and other topics in my library world.  My answer...no, I sleep, but I keep up with the people that do keep up with the tech. Thank you to all those that genorously share the time, talent, and knowledge to help us all sound like we know what's going on with the ever-evolving tech world.

Interested in following some yourself?  Check out Bobbi Newman and Tony Vincent.  You can also tune into various hash tags over on Twitter: #edchat and #edtech

You can share your thoughts about your favorite tech tools in the comments or with me (@bookatarian) on Twitter.