Sunday, November 16, 2014

Google Keep with Google Classroom

Since Google Classroom has been released my classroom has been much more streamline. Everything that my students might need is conveniently organized in one location. Students can track  assignments, obtain their feedback much easier, and resubmit work much quicker than before. The way that I run my classroom is a pseudo-flipped environment. Not every student has equal access to technology at home, our school does not provide a 1:1 program, and the attitude to try and adopt a program is very obtuse. I also do not use a traditional text book with students, for various reason which will end up in another blog post, I also have my students doing a lot of science rather than me telling them about science.

With all that said, I often ask students to research a concept and take notes on about the important pieces before we apply what they know and learned. The research is always partnered with teaching students how to validate resources, effectively search Google based on reading level,  obtain quick accurate information, and how to appropriately cite information collected. To do all this I ask students to take notes. And, why not? Notes are a good way to help trick your brain into remembering things you may not be all that interested in learning.

Previously, I had students keeping notes in a notebook where they would hand write their notes. Which is an important skill that is still needed, however, it is sometimes easier to keep digital notes. Not only are they more legible, but they won't get lost in a backpack, locker, or the dogs mouth. I have since shifted to have students take notes with Google Docs. Only because Evernote was another place for students to have to remember where to go,  and Springseed only worked for those running Linux. All  of my students have a Google account and know how to access it easily. I discovered that Docs works well for some students, who heed suggestions about keeping one large document complete with a table of contents and headers.  But then, I ran into a virtual "dog" in Google Docs. What started to happen was that, students were not keeping one document, but making a separate one for each note taking event. Which could still work, however they were not organizing their files and folders in Google Drive and were not naming their documents. A students drive would be flooded with documents called "untitled." As much as you can try and keep a student organized, there are some who have selective hearing and are masters at ignoring teacher suggestions.

So, I needed another solution. One that would force students to include a header on notes, be able to access quickly, and be able to easily see  what was written.  I ended up turning to Google Keep. I know this tool was more designed to keep short "sticky notes" as reminders, but it also works really well for students to take notes on short concepts and keep them all organized on one screen  For now, it works, and the virtual "dog" has yet to have a satisfying meal.

(screenshot of a students Google Keep notes)

1 comment:

  1. Hi Mike,
    How's it going? Thanks for posting this. I hadn't heard of it, but it looks similar to Padlet or iBrainstorm, but I like that it is part of the Google suite.