5 Reasons You Should Use Evernote for Language Learning

 

I’m a very disorganized person. More often than not my desk looks like it was hit by a charging rhino and the orderliness of my office isn’t especially far from that of my college dorm rooms.

In order to keep my language learning projects organized and the clutter on my desk and in my head to a minimum I use the mobile and desktop app Evernote to keep on top of things.

I highly recommend this app to all language learners – especially those with organizational issues.

Here’s why:

  

#1 Lists

The entire point of Evernote is to create notes, lists, reminders, and jot down your thoughts whether you’re on the go, sitting at home or in the office.

Use this very basic feature to create a study plan. Employ Evernote to take any and all notes that you need during your project, your classes or even while watching a foreign film or studying from a text.

Take note of the words you struggle with the most or simply make a list of all the new words you learned during a session.

While you could always just write it down on paper, and if that’s your style go for it, but keeping your notes all bundled up in one convenient electronic space that you’re carrying around in your pocket anyway is really going to help you with your organization and cuts down on the stuff you have to bring with you – be it to class, to work or just around the house.

I find it less tedious and faster than writing by hand as well. My handwriting is atrocious and I type far faster than I can scribble.

#2 Ink notes

In addition to basic lists Evernote also allows you to create something called an “ink note”. As the name suggests it’s a simple blank page on which you can draw or scribble anything you like using your finger, a stylus or a mouse cursor.

This tool would be fantastic for you if you happen to be studying a language that uses a writing system you’re not totally familiar with. It’s a great way to practice your brush strokes if you’re learning a language like Mandarin or Cantonese, or if you’re tackling the three writing systems of Japanese.

You can easily keep separate notes for each system, and watch your progress as you go; looking back to older work.

#3 Photo, audio and video notes

Using your mobile device’s cameras microphones or your computer’s webcams you can capture audio and video clips of yourself, of native speakers or if you’re a student taking language courses (or any courses for that matter) simply record the entirety of a lesson and study it later.

This is a great way to practice your pronunciation while following a native speaker or by recording your own speaking.

Snap photos of passages of text that you want to remember later, document your travels, your language exchange sessions or even snippets of foreign films you’re watching.

Really, the possibilities are endless.

#4 Cross compatibility

Okay, okay. I know, you’re probably thinking by now that you can already do all of these things with your smartphone, your tablet or your computer.

And you can. You can easily write notes on the built in note-writers your phone came with, you can use Microsoft Word or whatever devilry Macs come with.

You can use your devices to record video, audio or snap photos and store them on your phone. Heck there are even apps that let you draw to your heart’s content.

But one of the things that really makes Evernote worth your time is not only that it can do all of these things at once, within a single app, but it can also sync across all of your devices.

Evernote gives you your own little cloud storage that automatically syncs as frequently or infrequently as you prefer. I like to keep my phone by my bed at night. If I spontaneously come up with an idea for a blog article I’ll plug it in and have it waiting for me on my computer the next day.

It’s compatible with all systems; Android, iOS, PC, Mac and even Kindle Fire. I use it on my iPhone, my Android tablet and my computers and can access any of my notes from any of my devices at any time. It’s extremely convenient being able to access your notes, reminders and other study tools from anywhere.

#5 Sharing is caring

Even better than cross compatibility is Evernote’s ability to be shared with others. Evernote can sync up with your Google contacts! You can send other learners, students or teachers your notes, trade audio clips for revisions and receive their responses – storing everything neatly in your little cloud.The possibilities that this offers when it comes to arranging study groups or conversation groups – either as a learner or teacher – or simply working one on one in a language exchange or personal tutoring arrangement are endless. The ability to trade files not only between devices but also between individuals offers an unprecedented functionality that you aren’t going to find from most other single apps.

 Conclusion

You don’t even need to own a mobile device to take advantage of Evernote. If you’re reading this article you already have everything you need to check it out. It’s true; nothing Evernote does is truly unique and can easily be replicated using other applications. But Evernote can do in a single app what you would need 5 or 6 other apps or programs to accomplish without. You can even change the language the app uses to the one you’re studying. It offers a fairly large selection of languages and due to its simplicity can be great study material in and of itself.

And since it’s free why wouldn’t you grab it? Evernote does offer a premium package that comes with even more functions including the ability to draw up reports, create graphs and charts and prepare presentations. Most of these features are more business related but could come in handy for language teachers or tutors creating lesson plans or searching for a new method of organizing learners’ work. The premium feature costs $5 per month – so it isn’t exactly breaking the bank if you do decide to go that route.You can check out Evernote on the Google Play store, the Apple Store and on your computer.

So are you going to check out Evernote and see how it can enhance your language learning project?

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  • Thank you for all this information!

    I tried Evernote a couple of years ago and didn’t like it so much.

    Evernote is good to have everything in one place, but I prefer to organice everything by myself in files and folders (I use Dropbox for synchronisation). This means more work, but since I’m playing around with studying material, it means I got to see everything more often and have more opportunities to memorice things.

    If I’m around my laptop, I type, but I prefer writing by hand than typing in a mobile device. I sometimes use the 7 notes handwriting app in my iPad but I write on paper very often; then I have to type the same things in my laptop again, but again, it’s more review I wouldn’t do if I had just sync from somewhere. And I often feel foreign words stick better when I write them by hand.

    Anyway, I’m going to give a try to Evernote again for my work notes.

    And the idea of using those Ink notes for kanji is really interesting.

    ¡Gracias!

  • Hi Jorge,

    To be honest I wasn’t sold on Evernote at first either. I didn’t download it with languages in mind. I thought it might make a nice personal organizing tool so I could attempt to make to-do lists and just arrange my rather hectic schedule in a more streamlined fashion.

    It didn’t work out so well and I wasn’t impressed.

    The only thing I used it for over the course of a few months was jotting down blog post ideas, which I could have done anywhere really I just wanted to feel like the apps on my phone get used.

    While idly messing around with it it dawned on me just how useful the other features it offered would be to my language learning stuff, and lo and behold everything sort of fell into place.

    I hope it works out for you this time!

    Thanks for your comment!

  • Justin

    Thank you. I have Ever note but never really tried to figure it out. Now I will.

  • You’re welcome. It took me a while to actually spend any time trying to figure it out. I’m glad I did, it really is great for language learners!

    Thanks for reading.