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Posts tagged ‘evernote’

KustomNote a.k.a Awesome

You might be thinking that my spelling has gone to pot while I’ve been on vacation, right? Custom is spelled with a ‘c’ not a ‘k’! You may have noticed that many of the Web2.0 tools have “unique” spellings and KustomNote is no different. So what does this have to do with school psychology or education? Well, following several days of training at the end of the school year about the 7 Habits of Effective People and The Leader In Me I’ve been focusing on some “big rocks” in my life and while sharing tech resources is very important to me it hasn’t been my highest priority. Although as I’ve been learning and practicing the 7 Habits in my own life I’ve found a great tool which not only helps me with my “big rocks” but also will be helpful at the beginning of the school year!

As I shared before, I LOVE Evernote but I’ve often wished it had note templates, especially for meetings that have similar formats such as problem-solving/IST/student study team meetings and while you can set up a notebook of “template” notes, you then have to copy the note and such. It just isn’t as easy as I’d like it to be until I found KustomNote. I’ve been using Kustomnote to complete my weekly compass and I see lots of potential for uses during my school psych work day also. For example, one of my building uses a student profile form with strengths, weakness, current interventions and recommendations to guide our team meetings. Previously I had to type those headings out in Evernote every time we had a team meeting . Now, I have a student profile template and can fill in the fields as we go through the meeting. When I’m finished taking notes, my KustomNote is automatically saved into my Evernote notebook for easy future references.

Here is what my Student Profile note looks like while being created through the KustomNote app

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So here are some of the strengths and weaknesses of Kustomnote
Strengths:

  • Great integration with Evernote
  • Easy interface to create your own templates
  • Database of templates shared by other for you to use and modify for your own needs (working smarter not harder)
  • Colors and note backgrounds are a welcome change for Evernote’s standard theme

Weakness:

  • Have to create the note either in the KustomNote app or through their website OR modify one of the other notes you’ve already created with KustomNote but that’s the same thing as having a “template” notebook in Evernote. A welcome change would be to be able to create a new note within Evernote just pulling in your KustomNote template
  • Limited formatting of the layout of your custom note. You’re only able to have one column in your note so you’re unable to have for example, a 4 quadrant note and have things side by side.
  • When editing an already created KustomNote that is now in Evernote, sometimes the formatting gets messed up and doesn’t follow the style of formatting of the original note. I often edit a note more than once so I need it to easily keep the same formatting and not get all jumbled up when I edit it multiple times.

All in all, while KustomNote has some weaknesses, it has enough benefits to me to keep using it for the foreseeable future or at least until I learn about a better solution.  

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Envious of my Evernote?

If you could see my evernote setup, I’m sure you would be! Evernote is awesome and while I think I use quite a few of its features I know there are many more that I have yet to discover. There is no way I could cover all of the features in Evernote because there are just too many so this is an introduction and I’ll go into more depth in future posts.

If you haven’t yet heard about Evernote or you’ve heard about but you’re not sure what it is, I’ll tell you or you can watch this video (its more entertaining).

Evernote is a service which allows you to take notes and organize those in to notebooks. Because it is a service you have to sign-up but its free so no worries there. Once you’re signed up and you’ve started creating notes then whenever you log-in to evernote.com or use an Evernote app all of your notes will be synched wirelessly! Previously before I started using my iPad every day I had a multisubject spiral bound notebook with each “subject” set aside for each of my buildings and now Evernote is the equivalent to my spiral bound notebook AND my resource binder.

Pros:

Evernote is an extension of my brain and it can be an extension of yours too. I keep notes from meetings, observations, consultation sessions, meetings, etc., all in one place. Since I have 4 buildings I have an Evernote “notebook” for each building and I have notes from conversation within the appropriate notebook. The notebooks are fully searchable and tags can be created to help organize your notes. An example may be to tag a note with “intervention plan” if you consulted with a teacher regarding a student’s intervention plan. Then all the times you meet with any teacher in any building regarding an intervention plan you can tag the note with “intervention plan” for increased searchability. More on tags in a future post. Another great feature of the app is the ability to take snapshots or voice memos and attach them to a note. I use this feature during classroom observations to take a picture of the work the student completed during the observation session or an audio memo while I’m doing a running record. The other great part of using it for a running record is that you can then take a picture and have the audio and visual all in one place! I recently utilized the photo attachment capabilities during a file review. Instead of writing down previous attendance, standardized test scores and other information that I summarize in my report, I took snapshots of the information and then I looked back at the note when I wrote my report. Did I mention that Evernote has text recognition for the photographs? So if you jot a note on a sticky note after talking to a teacher about behaviors Billy has been struggling with, when you search “Billy” your handwritten note will come up (as long as your handwriting is pretty legible)

I also use Evernote to organize resources I collect for a variety of job facets such as PBIS resources, RtI resources, academic intervention resources, assistive tech resources, etc. You can create as many notebooks as you want and as many notes as you want. On a day when you may have forgotten your mobile device you don’t have to worry about not being able to see a past note because everything is automatically synchronized to your Evernote web account, accessible from any computer with internet access (and of course your log-in information). Evernote synching has saved me on more than one occasion!

Cons:

An archive feature would be helpful when a student has moved away so you can archive past notes and not have them always readily available. To work around this I recently created a notebook titled “BuildingXArchive” and moved “archived” notes to that folder. I’ve also exported notes out of Evernote that I no longer of critical importance and saved them to my flash drive. Encryption of text is available on the desktop program so if you take a note you want to encrypt you have to log in to the website and then encrypt the portion of the note that needs to be encrypted. For a while the app could be password protect but currently you have to pay for their ” Premium” service to password project you Evernote App. I’m going to continue pestering encouraging them to turn that feature back on without the premium account.

As with everything else, use strong passwords and be thoughtful about how you use Evernote. Are there any Evernote features you’re wondering about or features you use that you want me to talk about? In future posts I’ll touch on how to create notes via email, tags for enhanced searchability and other great features!

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