Thursday, June 7, 2012


     The thing I like most about Evernote is that it is my omnipresent super organizer. All my notes, web links, bits of thoughts, etc. goes there. When I get home, I can access everything.  In fact, I can access everything wherever I go, such as at a friends' house across the street, or across the world. I may forget about what I put in Evernote after a while, but Evernote remembers.  It is so much better than relying on pieces of paper that I might lose or get eaten by a dog. When I am listening to a lecture, audio recording can be a lifesaver, as that is how I learn best. I also like that I can search from all my notes, and that I don’t have to look at or try to decipher my messy writing.
      I found that Evernote handles audio recording poorly. Several times I couldn't save the audio to file after the recording ended. I pressed the save button yet nothing was saved at all.  That was disappointing as I would really liked to have used the audio notes. Audio notes are important to me not only because they save me time on typing but also I learn very well through audio.  I also have found that the sound quality of Evernote recordings more muffled sounding than those made by, for instance, QuickVoice, on iOS. The Evernote iPad app had crashed several times when trying to open large PDF image files. I also vehemently disliked the fact that there is no "undo" button in Evernote iPad.
      I think Evernote could help us better form Evernote study groups. Maybe this is already a feature, but my friends and I shared a notebook once but that was all. We could have been asking each other questions  in the shared notebook , right within Evernote. I have heard about Piazza and it seems to help asking questions, even anonymously. There are so many tools nowadays. I wish there were a tool to cover all my needs from note-taking, question asking, discussion to blogging. I also think that a time-line overview of all my notes would help a lot!  For instance, I would like to see how active I have been tracking a subject over time.


         The benefits that came along with having a class set of iPads were plentiful. I felt that having the iPads in our classroom gave us the opportunity to have knowledge at our fingertips. With knowledge at our fingertips, our class had an easier and faster time understanding the unknown. Projects and notes could be accomplished by the iPads, saving our class from the hassle of heading down to the library as well as cramped hands and wrists. Also saved were the students from responsibility. I am a hardworking student, albeit forgetful. With the iPads, if I forget a pen and paper, I could still be part of the class discussion and learn. No valuable time would be wasted rustling around and bothering other students- or worse, the teacher- for materials. Also, I could rely on the PDFs on the iPads and leave my books for class at home, lightening up my backpack load. I was extremely appreciative of this as I have scoliosis, and the lighter my backpack, the better my back feels. I have the same appreciation for the lack of notes (and therefore lighter backpack load) I had to carry back and forth, all because I used the nifty apps available on the iPads. 
          The students being saved from responsibility and getting to learn faster is not only a benefit. Responsibility is a good trait to instill in students for their success in the future. Also, it may make the students more impatient, for everything is only a few taps away. Impatience is not a good trait to instill in students, for if they don't get exactly what they want, they will give up. Speaking of taps, although handwriting notes can cause cramps in students' hands and wrists, tapping to type on the iPad produces much the same effect. Also, I found myself falling behind sometimes when taking notes in class because of the difficulties typing on the iPads, , also because of auto-correct. Sometimes not only would I fall behind in note-taking, but I would lose the note altogether. I usually had no idea what caused the iPad to delete my note, and would become frustrated because there is no way to recover any lost information. The iPad is lacking of a "back button" or "control-z"  function, a critical thing for those crucial and accidental mistakes. The iPad is only a piece of technology, which is not always the most reliable. I would sometimes be disconnected from the internet and lose time trying to reconnect the iPad to the wi-fi. I would also find other people still signed into their accounts in frequently used apps; jeopardizing not only their privacy, but work as well. I also believe that the iPads served as a distraction if students weren't interested in the lesson.
          The school district should not move to a 1:1 environment, and if more iPad carts were added, only add them to select classes. I highly doubt that high school students are ready for the responsibility for a school-issue iPad full time. There have been many instances in class where iPads are close to destruction, and that's when every student is most conscious of their behavior. It technically isn't theirs- it's the school's property. Even if they had to pay for it if lost or damaged, they probably wouldn't care. However, it would cut down on the materials needed for class, therefore cutting down on raw materials and waste, although it would still consume electricity. The iPad is not yet ready for all types of learning. There are just some classes where iPad use would not be beneficial. The district shouldn't waste money on excess iPads; instead, they should use it for something more important.