Monday, April 24, 2017

Google Keep and the Research Paper

Google Keep Ideas by Alex McDonnell Sometimes I discover something by myself through exploration and giving things a full test run only to discover later that Matt Miller at Ditch That Textbook has already written a blog post about it. I won't offer any tips that he doesn't offer, but I can share student and teacher responses to some of these features in Google Keep.

Last week, the 8th grade social studies teacher at my school invited me and our learning specialist into his classroom to remind students on how to keep and organize notes for a research project. Our learning specialist showed students the tried and true note-card method. Her presentation was meticulous and she emphasized the type of thinking research requires.

My history teaching colleague had asked me almost as an afterthought to come in as well asking for tech tools to support the research process. Most of these students were somewhat aware of Noodletools. I had taught these kids when they were in 5th grade and Noodletools was something we used several times. The kids also used Noodletools for a 7th grade assignment. I didn't want to show them Noodletools again.

Since the learning specialist was showing them the notecard method, I offered the suggestion to use google slides for note-taking, but I was most excited to share Google Keep. Keep lets kids organize their notes and then in Google Docs, by clicking Tools and then Keep notepad, they get the following ability to drag and drop notes from keep right into the document as you can see in the image below Notice how Keep opens within Docs. (Image courtesy of The Keyword blog from Google

The classroom teacher was so enthusiastic to see this tool. He shared that he wished he knew about it last year as he was writing his Master's thesis. The kids too shared an overwhelmingly positive response. Coupled with the Explore tool, docs is becoming the best document creator to write a paper. I like that these tools remove some of the tedium involved in writing a good paper. Traditionalists of the "I used to walk uphill to school both ways" might bemoan that we are making this task easier. But to my way of thinking, these menial tasks always got in the way of my thinking, my flow. I am not good with detail and so correctly footnoting work and organizing my notecards were always tedious tasks for me as well as for many learners. These students last week weren't excited by the news they had another research project to write, but they were really excited to see some of these tools. 
Keep works as both an app and in the chrome browser. The Keep Chrome extension adds another level of functionality. 
 Take a look at Matt Miller's post about keep- I like his idea of housing standard comments in Keep and I was blown away by his 10th tip.

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