I’ve been meaning to write this post for awhile but it was brief Twitter discussion with Carrie (@HeckAwesome) that was my spur to actually get this done. Summer is great but between preparing to teach a new college course, spending time with my family, and generally recharging I have had little time to think much less write.
Thanks Carrie… (Sincerely…)
A few months ago my wife told me about a notebook that can be erased by putting it in the microwave. I was intrigued but thinking it may have been a joke did a quick Google search which led to the Rocketbook website. The erasable/reusable concept for a notebook was interesting but the more intriguing part was that the notebook pages could be saved digitally. The basic premise is that the user takes notes by hand, uploads them somewhere, and then erases the notebook to use it again. If you are like me you are probably thinking that’s cool but I can already take photos of my notes if I wanted to and a regular notebook is 50 cents at Wal-Mart. My disrict also gives students Dell Latitudes which can be used as a tavlet with a stylus. Why should I spend $30 bucks and buy special pens?
Tge microwavable version of the Rocketbook sounded pretty cool. It was also an interesting alternative to the expensive 12.9″ iPad Pros that I’ve seen some people wandering around with but at $30 instead of $1000! As I dug a little deeper though it turns out the microwaveable Rocketbook can only be reused up to 5 times. The company, however, has since developed the Everlast!
This is the notebook that I got for my birthday.
The Everlast feels very similar to paper and once the ink dries it doesn’t smudge. It can be erased with a couple of drops of water and, unlike tge microwavable version, can be perpetually reused. My favorite part is that the pages can be uploaded to an amazing array of cloud supported locations, emails, etc. All of this has given me some really interesting ideas for using the Everlast in my classroom.
My AVID based school requires students use Cornell style and focused notes. To facilitate this our students are required to carry a 3″ Three Ring Binder which holds all of their notes and assorted paperwork. Over the last few years AVID has attempted to update this system both with digital options and with the focused note taking options. The Everlast provides an interesting opportunity for digitally uploading the required handwritten notes and reducing the number of papers in that 3″ binder. Digital options already exist but there are downsides. It is difficult to complete sketchnotes and other visual techniques in the word processor based options available. There is a tendency for (in my experience) students to,cut and paste in digital notes and there also seems to be some evidence that handwriting allows for more retention than digital. When thinking of using the Sell Latitude tablets as sketchnote or notetakimg devices I have frankly never liked most digital drawing tools as there is a bit of a lag with the stylus and the writing as it appears on the screen. I am sure in some schools cost is also a concern.
Another concern with these requiref notes is that they need to be checked periodically by both AVID and Content teachers. Again, the Everlast can help with this process which is a major reason I am interested in using these tools.
The first stage in this process would be to obtain enough Everlast notebooks to have a class set. They are a bit pricy so my goal is to have a pilot class that would use the Everlast for all of their classes. This would allow,the school to see how the notebooks would scale up.
The selected students would take their notes using the Cornell Style (or whatever Focused style the teacher would like) and then upload them to an appropriate location. Since there are multiple classes throughout the week (most students at my school have 6-8 classes per week) they will need to be able to quickly upload their pages to different folders. The Everlast has a really clever trick to accomplish this.
The first is the QR code at the bottom of the page. By downloading the Rocketbook app the student can scan the page and it will upload the text as either a .jpg or a .pdf. The app also allows the user to scan multiple pages into a bundle. This means that a single or multiple pages can be uploaded to the cloud as a single file. The app allows users to automatically customize the file names as well. All of our students at ECHS have Google Drive accounts which means the scanned documents can be sent there. This brings me to the second trick.
At the bottom of each page are 7 different icons. When the user puts a mark in one of the icons it signals to the Rocketbook App that the notebook page(s) should be sent to a particular pre-programmed location. If I check the diamond it might send the page to my Google Drive US History Folder but if I check the apple it will send the page(s) to my email address and the clover could send it to a drop box location. This holds an interesting solution to the notebook check problem. Students can create a shared folder with the teacher, upload their notes to the shared folder and the teacher will be able to automatically see their work. Additionally, this could be solution to submitting reflections and exit slips.
Many of my colleagues also use Google Classroom which I am sure will have some applications here.
One final cool trick is the ##_## hamdwriting recognition tool. If the user puts a double hashtag on either side of a word or phrase that text will be used as a title or searchable term for that file. So if I were to write ##Civil War Notes## the Rocketbook app would title the notes Civil War Notes in the program. Another interesting organizational tool.
I am still discovering the full applications of this tool but I am anxious to explore! If you are interested in supporting my Donor’s Choose proposal a link can be found at https://www.donorschoose.org/project/high-tech-handwriting-digitized-handwri/4251000/?utm_source=dc&utm_medium=directlink&utm_campaign=teacherhub&utm_term=teacher_6326719&rf=directlink-dc-2019-07-teacherhub-teacher_6326719&challengeid=21424707.