Cool Tools, Thing 26: Note-Taking Tools


I heard about Google Keep awhile ago and loved the idea of virtual post-it notes instead of physical ones I could lose or misplace. I loved that it synced across all my devices so that I always had the notes no matter where I was. I try to keep it open in a window on the circulation desk computer and my office computer so I can jot down quick notes for myself whenever I need them. However, after over a year of semi-frequent use, I had no idea that I’d barely been scratching the surface of what this tool can do!

While working on the Bitmoji lesson I came across a tutorial on how to save my Bitmojis in Google Keep so I can use them to make comments on student work in Docs. As part of the demonstration, the woman added a label to her note and I was like, “Wait, what?!?! I can do that?!?!”. I couldn’t wait to find out what else I had been missing out on in Google Keep and as it turns out, it was quite a lot!

What I’d Been Missing:

  • Reminders-Do you know you can set reminders for your Keep notes? I sure didn’t. And not just standard pop-up reminders. You can set GPS based reminders-are you letting that sink in? YOU CAN HAVE REMINDERS POP UP AS SOON AS YOU GET TO A TARGET DESTINATION! Maybe it’s my hour-long commute (it does give me plenty of time to forget about things), but I feel like I’m constantly forgetting to do the things I said I needed to do when I got to my destination. Thanks to Google Keep, that might soon be a thing of the past!
  • Not Just for Typing-While I knew I could take pictures and add them as notes to Keep, I had no idea you could draw a note!
  • Stop, Collaborate & Listen-I had no idea you can share notes with others and collaborate with them. This will be especially helpful now that I have a clerk one day a week! Instead of leaving me actual post-it notes (no more losing them or forgetting them at work), I can show her how to use Keep to share them with me. And I can keep her updated on things by sharing notes I take while I’m at the circulation desk by sharing notes with her! So much happens on the days she’s at our other buildings and so much happens on that one day I have her with me I feel like I’m constantly forgetting to tell her things she needs to know but maybe this will help with that and make our time together more efficient.
  • Put a Pin in It-While I’m familiar with pinning tabs I hadn’t realized that I could Pin Keep notes to keep them from getting pushed to the bottom of the screen and lost. Very handy for organization.
  • Better Bookmarking-I also hadn’t realized that I could save websites and articles from the web as Keep notes. I love this one! My bookmarks are a complete disaster and desperately need to be cleaned up and weeded. Part of the problem is that sometimes, while I need to remember something for later, it’s a temporary need. When the project is complete, the bookmarked content isn’t important anymore. But, I never remember to go in and remove the bookmark. I just keep adding to them and like I said, it’s kind of a mess in there. But, for things I know I only need for certain projects and probably won’t care to revisit them once the project is done, I can save them as Keep notes instead of regular bookmarks.
  • Using with Docs-I had never noticed that when you are in Docs there was an option to open Google Keep (I always just ignored that Google Keep pop-up that appeared when I opened a new Doc or Slide-bad librarian). I also had no idea I can send my notes to a Doc when they start to get too long.


Student Use:

While we aren’t a 1:1 school we do have a class set of Chromebooks in the library and our upper elementary teachers are supposed to be getting about 6 for each of their classes so I think Keep will be very useful to teach my students and teachers. I think that Google Keep’s ability to seamlessly connect with Docs and Slides could be a game changer for teaching students how to take notes and incorporate their notes into their final work. Instead of taking notes on index cards like we did “back in the day”, students could use Keep for note taking. They could use labels to record the source of the note and even color coding to keep track of the types of sources they have used in their research. Then, when they switch over to Docs, they can pull up their notes right on the same screen. The drag and drop aspect will make including their notes and direct quotes so much more efficient as well. Not to mention no more worries about forgetting or losing their graphic organizers! 

I can’t believe I had been missing out on all these great features (although now that I think about it, I also can’t believe I thought Google would make something that was literally just a digital post-it and nothing more). I’m so excited to step up my organization game and start (finally!) using this tool to it’s fullest.


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