How I stumbled upon this handy dandy tool, I cannot recall---probably through Twitter--but I am completely in enamored. Evernote is my new favorite or at least until something new comes along--I'm so fickle! :)
Once you install the "web page clipper" (which takes about five seconds) you can "clip" any pictures, websites, articles that you want to save and organize off of the Internet. (Yes, even from Facebook and Twitter for those of you who believe these are not part of the Internet.) But wait, it gets better. I was also able to install the application on my smart phone, my Kindle Fire, and on all of my laptops, so no matter what device I am using, I can clip to my account--even a photo from my smart phone. Then I have the option of organizing my clips into "Notebooks" that I create. For example, I am currently teaching argumentative writing and as I find pieces I can use as mentor texts in class, I clip them and save them to my "Argumentative" folder. I also have notebooks for lesson plans by date and I can move my articles of choice into that folder for the day to show on my SmartBoard.
Wait, it still gets even better. Using my classroom document camera (because honestly, it is kind of crappy), I can take pictures of student work, text from books, or articles I have saved and clip them to Evernote account too. I like doing this as I can make these documents larger for the students who sit in the back of my classroom to view through because (just a reminder)--my document camera is crap. At any time, I can create a "new note" in which I keep detailed lesson notes to myself. It is also a place for me to store writings I have done in class with the students. Please don't tell our district technology peeps, but I find it much less tedious, more user friendly, and easier to organize than using the SmartBoard Notebook software.
Another advantage--I can share any of these items with colleagues or students through Facebook, Twitter, e-mail, etc. and ever link to my contacts from my Google account. However, I am not going to lie, this particular task hasn't worked too smoothly for me yet.
Evernote offers a "Noteworthy Blog" with updates about new features as well as "Tips and Tricks" on how to use the program. The Evernote Trunk includes lists of other useful applications, hardware and notebooks that you can combine "to enhance your Evernote experience." (Personally, I am enjoying my Evernote experience at the moment and feel no need to enhance it at this particular time.) Although I am still a novice, I will continue to investigate and evaluate the use of these additional options in the very near future.
I have started using Evernote as an online lesson planner. It's free, but I am seriously considering paying the $45 a year upgrade fee as I have found myself using it on a daily basis. I can also use it for personal organizing, not just for education. (I'm thinking home improvement/decorating ideas, grocery lists, wine lists, wine lists...)
My district should be thankful as this gem has saved it quite a bit of money on copy paper in recent months. (Merit pay?) I don't have to print a copy of every article I find and put it in a safe place (blue binder or my "to be dealt with later" pile), forget which safe place (pile or binder?) I originally placed it, and then print it out again because I don't have the time to search for it. (As it turns out, I have 7 blue binders.) All in all, it's a great organizational tool for me and that I LOVE!
I am anxious to hear from you if you decide to try it!