Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Google Keep and G Suite

Keepin' it real

Being a longtime fan of Google Keep, the recent news of Google including it as part of their GSuite products is exciting news! I've utilized Google Keep for a variety of purposes and Google continues to add to the awesomeness. It is simple, easy to use, and very versatile...finally available for all students to use. I have posted about Google Keep in the past but felt it was necessary to revisit it due to recent news.

What does Google Keep have to offer?

Post-Its

In a nutshell, Google keep is digital post-it notes. Just like the real post-its, you can select from a variety of colors, make quick lists, organize them however you want, and then throw them away when you are finished (or archive if you think you might need it later.) Create checklists, take notes, and share with your peers. It works across the platform as users can access by visiting keep.google.com or downloading the Android or iOS app.

Collaboration

Need to make a shared list? Add collaborators to your lists for projects or notes for meetings. Collaborators can add text, images, and drawings to the notes just as if it were their own. Drawings and annotated images are not live while the illustration takes place, but it will update after a user returns the image to the note. What a great idea for collaboration in class. Have a shared note and each student could add a drawing/annotated image related to the learning experience. Instantly, all participants can see a collection of ideas. 

OCR

OCR stands for Optical Character Recognition. Users can take a picture or find an image online and it will take the text from the image and convert it to typed text into the note. It works as well with drawings but is not as accurate as it has to overcome different handwriting styles. 

Copy to Doc

OCR is very valuable due to the fact that you can take the text captured in the image and instantly transfer it over to a Google Doc. This is also and awesome option for teachers taking notes using Google Keep. It causes me to recall the days that I used transparencies. Now teachers can take their written notes (using a touchscreen Chromebook or Android device) and share them with students via a doc shared through Google Classroom. 

Organize Thoughts

Users can organize thoughts several different ways:
  1. Color coding
  2. Drag and drop
  3. Labels
These are post-it notes. Old-school notes allowed you to write separate thoughts in any color you like. Users can move these items around on their desk in order to organize and adjust planning and thinking. The advantage of the digital version is that you can label these notes. As soon as you click on the desired label, all notes associated with the label of choice will appear. Almost like the user can separate the workspace. Users can also pin important notes so that they constantly appear at the top of their feed. 

Reminders

Reminders can be created in two ways for Google Keep notes. One way is by time. Set a specific time and the note will pop up with an alert on all devices associated with the Google account. The other option is to use location reminders. I use this frequently as I create notes when I need to visit a store or arrive at my school. It instantly appears on my phone when I arrive on location.

An Overview


Google Keep Extension

Google keep is also a great tool for research. Students and teachers can use the Google Keep Chrome Extension to quickly take notes. When I am on a site and highlight text, I can instantly place the text into a note. As I continue my research, I can highlight new pieces of information and include them in the same note. With notes accessible in an unobtrusive manner, Google Keep makes for a great research resource. When I'm all finished, I can revisit Google Keep and see my notes along with a link directly the site from which it came. Easy access when I need to continue my path of learning.

New Feature in Google Docs!

Now Google keep notes are available with the Keep Notepad in the tools drop-down within Google Docs. Upon clicking on the Keep Notepad, the notes and resources that have been gathered can be accessed and pulled into your document. This is a really cool idea for teachers that utilize hyperdocs. Students could gather resources or create sketchnotes and have access to them in one collaborative document! This is perfect if you are a Google Classroom user as you can quickly set up a shared document with all students having edit access!  

Google Keep for Research

The video I put together on how to use Google Keep for research focuses on the use of the Google Keep Extension in conjunction with the new Googke Keep Notepad available within Google Docs. Using these tools together allows for a smooth workflow and amazing research experience for both students and teachers.