Years ago I got excited at the prospect of going paperless. At the time I knew it was a challenge to do, and it still is on a lot of levels. Despite our best intentions, we often find that it’s easier or more convenient to print some sheets off here or there. Even more likely, we find that once we have a piece of paper, it’s VERY unlikely to get digitized. Who has time to go to a scanner and put everything into your digital portfolio?
The irony, of course, is that every paper was produced digitally, yet we rarely ask the person to send us the original file. If we do, it often ends up somewhere to be forgotten.
Scannable can help.
Scannable is a great app from the people at Evernote. It’s a single purpose app, and it serves that purpose well. It scans any piece of paper you put in front of it, creates a great, crisp, PDF, and saves it off to Evernote or it can be pushed to any other app that you use.
When you save to Evernote, you’ll also find that it automatically runs OCR (optical character recognition) on the document. That means that you can search for keywords in the document later. Can’t remember when that document was made, but you KNOW it talked about Chromebooks? Just type in “chromebook” into Evernote and it will help you find it.
Isn’t this basically just taking a picture?
Yes and no. A lot of well-meaning teachers take pictures of documents, but then they go into the camera roll amongst pictures of classroom activities, family trips, and Saturday morning cups of coffee. Whenever I’ve done this the documents get lost in the pile only to be rediscovered a year later when I can’t remember what it was. Scannable actually recognizes the document and “scans” it. You don’t have to take a picture at a perfect angle, it will straighten things out for you, and – as mentioned above – it will make the text searchable. Push it into a service that you actually use to keep track of things, and you’ll find that the scanned document becomes a functional sheet that you can work with.
Scannable for meetings
I find that one of the greatest paper wasters tends not to be my class, but teacher meetings. We get a lot of papers and agendas, many of which tend to disappear or get lost in the shuffle. Scannable lets you scan the documents and if you’ve granted the app access to your calendar, you can share out the documents you scan with whoever is in the same meeting as you at the time.
Scannable and Evernote
My first question when I opened Scannable was “Doesn’t the Evernote App already do this?” The answer is yes. What I didn’t realize at first is that that’s not the point. Scannable is meant to work on the fly and much more quickly than opening up Evernote and digging around for the camera function. Evernote has a TON of great functions, but sometimes we get bogged down with them all.
Scannable lets you scan what you want, and move on.
Scannable and Dropbox or other Apps
There’s a little competition going on between Evernote and Dropbox. Both serve their purposes, but you might choose to use one over another. If you aren’t an Evernote user, there are pretty much endless sharing options you can go with.
At first glance, I thought that Dropbox wasn’t available with Scannable, but it was just slightly tucked away.
If you want to save to Dropbox, follow these steps:
1) Tap the document you want to send, then tap on “More…”
2) Tap on “Open in…”
3) Slide to find Dropbox, then tap on Dropbox
4) Rename file if necessary, then choose the folder you want it to save to.
Scannable and your students
As always, the app is only limited to the ways you choose to use it. While I personally may find it more useful for keeping track of meetings, you may want to use it to scan your students’ papers that they hand in. That way you can quickly make sure you have a digital copy of everything and if you’re so inclined, you can export them to a PDF markup program like Evernote’s own Skitch or PDF Pen.
Scannable and LinkedIn
If you’re a regular conference presenter, you may find yourself with a slew of business cards and no drive to enter them all into your address book. Scannable can also scan business cards and automatically find the owner on LinkedIn. Keep in contact with everyone you meet and build your professional network at the same time.