How to be an organized teacher? Use Evernote!

Organization is one of the most important characteristic that a teacher must have. With all the different students and lesson plans, teachers can easily get confused or forget things. Last week, I discovered an interesting tool which will drastically improve my organization. This technological tool is called Evernote and was created in 2008 by Stepan Pachikov. With this software, users can create, organize and store various type of documents such as written texts, photos, videos and audio files. There are many advantages of using this technological tool for teaching purposes. First, as mentionned by Michael Cruz, an university teacher focusing on technology and productivity, Evernote is great for educators because «its usefulness can range from planning a course to delivering a lesson plan to capturing feedback after class». Using this software is quite simple and clear when creating a lesson plan. For instance, as an ESL teacher, I usually create a ‘main’ note which will be titled accordingly to the unit I am covering with the students, for example, Murders and Mysteries. Then, when I click on this note, I can attach other tags to it. In this case, I usually create a new note for every activity involve in this unit for example, « Who killed Mr. Jameson ? ». Then, to this note you can add whatever you want, the documents for the activity, evaluation grids, the competencies involved, feedback sections, videos, pictures, e.t.c. As you can notice, Evernot is not complicated at all and offers one of the most useful tool to get organized. In 2013, Jeff Dunn wrote an article about the ten most popular teachers tools that were used in 2013. He put Evernote at the fifth place and reported that «It’s crazy useful, saves time, and keeps your life organized». Another advantage of using Evernote is its free cost. You can download it and use it for free as long as you want but you may also buy the premium version of Evernote which gives you acess to more options. However, from my point of view, for teaching a second language, the free version of Evernote is more than enough. I would only recommend you to get other versions only if you have a business or something like that. Another great advantage with Evernote is its availaibility. You can download it with Microsoft, Apple, with mobile phones and tablets. One of the greatest advantage of using Evernote is problably because it is a cloud storage. It means that your notes are stored in your Evernote’s account and not on the techonological device that you are using. When you download Evernote, you have to create an account with your email adress and then you can log in wherever you are. For instance, if I am creating lessons templates and stuff like that at my place with my computer, and when I am at school I use another computer, I have access to all my work and notes through my account. There is also more than that with Evernote. You can also share your notes with other users. In teaching, this is amazing ! If you are absent, you can share your lesseon template with the substitute teacher ! Educational Technology and Mobile Learning has recently published an interesting article about the use of Evernote by teachers. The group of dedicated teachers whom wrote this article implied that teachers should use this application in education for many reasons. One of them was that there is a special section for education called Evernote for Education where you can learn about how teachers can use it for their classroom. SRA. CARRO, who writes for FlapJack, an educational website, suggested in an article to create a note for each student. In these notes, you could make notes about student progress and behaviour. Finally, Evernote is one of the best tools that every teacher should use. Not only it substantially helps to get organized but it is also a great workplace. Moreover, the logo is awesome !

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ClassCraft! Gaming while learning?

Hey guys ! I have something really nice for you this week. Last week I attended to the SPEAQ on campus and I learned about an awesome game called « ClassCraft ». It is an online role playing game that teachers can use while teaching to their students. As Alison Anderson reported last year, « This game didn’t focus on a specific subject matter, like physics, but instead helped enhance the general dynamics of the classroom. »It was created by Shawn Young, a physics teacher in high school in 2013. In this game, students are in teams and each of them chooses a character between a mage, a warrior or a healer. They can also choose the sex of their own character. This type of teaching is way more motivating for students and it creates a positive atmosphere toward the learning.. Each characters has their own advantages and disavantages. They all have health points, which can be decrease when the student misbehave, energy points, which can be spend to use powers, and experience points which serve to level up. It may seem confusing by now but don’t panic, I will gladly explain everything to you. First of all, every character has their unique powers. For example, a student can spend energy points to bring food in the class or bring note during an exam. When the life total of a student becomes zero, the team gets a consequence such as coming at school during a pedagogical day. Healers can help their teammates by giving them health. Warriors can protect their allies by taking up damage in their health points to save a student and mage can give energy points to their teammates. This method of teaching is interesting because it is not about academic performance but more about the behavior and efforts of the students. Also, this game is free and available to download for everybody. The popularity of this game is now worldwide. As Geneviève Proulx mentioned in an article about this roleplay, this video game is now used in 65 countries, has more than 100 000 users and is translated in eight languages. But the most important question : Is it improving learning or not ? Well, Dan Crawley wrote in an article that most of the teachers using Classcraft said that their class average have gone up 20 to 25 percent. This stastistic demonstrates how amazing is ClassCraft for students and teachers. As a future teacher, I will use this game to teach to my students without any hesitation.