Evernote makes it really easy to upload information in a variety of ways into your notebooks. You can use linked apps, cameras, photo rolls, email, webclipper and a variety of scanners.
In my classroom students have used the Lexmark Pinnacle Pro 901 with Smart Solutions for its easy touchscreen and its general ease of use for adding work to portfolios. Unfortunately it has four major drawbacks. #1. It isn’t easy to scan a double sided document. Rather than putting things through the document feeder you need to scan things by hand. This can take a long time and it often creates a backup of students needing to use the scanner. #2. You can’t assign the documents you scan to specific notebooks or give them titles. You need to take a second step by opening up your account and doing that step. This again takes time for students. #3. You have to set the option for JPEG or PDF at the Smart Solution website ahead of time. Essentially you are having to pick one or the other because the time it takes to make those changes before hand is too complicated and time consuming. #4. It allows for 75 student “Evernote Widgets” but it ties student accounts to just one scanner. This is a big problem in the long run when a whole school is using Evernote as well as the Lexmark. If students are in a variety of classrooms, but tied to one scanner, this makes the work of documentation that much more complicated. If you are in a self contained classroom it is fine, but for students who move around to a lot of different classes and want to add work to their portfolios, this becomes a real issue.
Don’t get me wrong, I still really value my Lexmark as a portfolio workhorse (as well as a printer and photocopy machine!), but I am always on the lookout for something that does it all.
This summer I began to work with the ScanSnap s1300 to see how it might work in the classroom. My first impressions? I love it. It is small, compact and lightweight, which means I can take it with me almost anywhere. Along with having a power cord that plugs into an outlet, it also can plug into my USB port which means I can scan things just about anywhere. While the ScanSnap is not nearly as hefty and durable as the Lexmark, it makes up for that in tackling the four problems I have with the Pinnacle Pro.
#1. It is simple and quick to scan double sided documents. It also straightens the document images after they scan in case the paper went in a bit crooked. The imaging is bright and clear.
#2/3. Once you have scanned your image (with one easy button) the ScanSnap manager appears on your screen and asks you what you want to do with it. You have a variety of choices. When it comes to the Evernote options you can choose PDF or JPEG. Once you have made your selection it automatically opens up your desktop Evernote and allows you to pick where you want to place it and what you want to title it. Needless to say you need to have your scanner connected to your desktop or laptop as opposed to the wireless scanning that the Lexmark allows.
#4. Because the ScanSnap manager opens up your Evernote account directly on your computer you need to log out ahead of time (if multiple people will be using it). This can be a bit of a problem on the Mac version that I have because the log in and log out doesn’t work very well.
#5. Of course the ScanSnap doesn’t have the ability to make photocopies or act as a printer. Having that option along with the scanning is very nice in the classroom.
Overall I would give the ScanSnap a very high rating. It is a bit more expensive than the Lexmark. The ScanSnap is about $260 on Amazon new while the Lexmark is anywhere from $99 used to $235 new. My students haven’t used it yet this year but I use it all the time to upload any kind of paper documents I want to put into Evernote. It think it is a great addition to any classroom.
For more information visit the ScanSnap website.