Tech Tool of the Month: Google Keep Part 1

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Google Keep is a device-agnostic tool for note-taking, organizing, collaborating, curating resources, and sharing text, images, websites, lists, voice recordings (on mobile devices, not available on desktop), and more. Google Keep requires you to have a Google account but is free. Notes can be color-coded, and labels can be added. These reminder notes appear like “sticky notes.” You can access your notes on any device, add collaborators, and receive reminders to keep your workflow manageable. There are many other amazing things you can do with Google Keep. Record your own voice memos on mobile devices. Keep will transcribe text from pictures for you. Try to sketch images using the pen features to draw and change colors and shades. You can drag and drop notes from Keep directly into a Google Doc. 


Applying the Triple E Framework

The Triple E Framework, created by Dr. Liz Kolb, is built on the belief that “effective technology integration begins with good instructional strategies and not fancy tools.” Dr. Kolb wrote a book on the topic: Learning First, Technology Second. Technology can be used to Engage in learning goals, Enhance learning goals, or Extend learning goals. We can use this framework to decipher why we are using specific tools in the classroom. Here is a rubric we can use to evaluate Google Keep (and any others) using the Triple E Framework. Use the rubric as you decide if a tool is a good fit with your learning goals and why you should (or shouldn’t) use the technology tool in the lesson. 

  • Engage in learning goals: Google Keep motivates students to begin the learning process because they are organized and know the tasks that need to be done (plus checking off tasks as they go, keeps them motivated). The students are more focused on the task because Google Keep is allowing them to organize the tasks, which helps students to better focus on the content learning goals because they can see the steps and the end goal. The students are more focused on the task because they are working at their own pace. There are no games, badges, or extras to distract from the process of learning. Google Keep also enables students to become more active learners, as they are making the lists, sharing the lists, and crossing off tasks/steps as they are completed.
  • Enhance learning goals: One of the best ways that Google Keep enhances learning goals is by helping students to scaffold their learning by using lists (shared and individual to-do tasks). By using Google Keep, students are able to share concepts, questions, and information. The collaboration that this tool offers allows the students to use technology to make connections to understand concepts and ideas. Students are using higher-order thinking skills to organize their thoughts and tasks into the curated lists. Creativity is also included as they have the option to add background colors, text, videos, weblinks, and more.  
  • Extend learning goals: Dr. Kolb describes extended learning as an opportunity for students to learn outside of their typical school day, connect and collaborate outside of the regular school day, and as a bridge between the school day and real-life experiences. Students could work collaboratively in class as they create their Keep lists, and the learning could continue at home as students work on the collaborative lists. They can also add comments to the Keep for the team (or partner) to view. In the classroom, small groups would be a very purposeful choice, as fewer devices would be required, and students could help each other through the steps of the assignment. We are preparing our students for a world that doesn’t exist yet; however, most jobs do require independent motivation and knowledge of technology. Many careers also require students to create task lists and work on a team to complete the project, and Google Keep prepares students for this kind of work! Google Keep requires students to organize their thoughts and to create a purposeful list related to the task and/or content. In future classes (and jobs), students are also likely going to need to be able to organize their thoughts and steps required to complete projects. This tool creates a bridge between school and everyday life experiences as students learn to organize tasks into easily digestible chunks of information.  


SAMR Connection

The SAMR Model, by Dr. Ruben Puentedura, suggests that technology implementation has four levels. We can use this model as a guideline to analyze how we are incorporating technology tools in the classroom. Google Keep could be at the level of Substitution, Augmentation, or Modification – depending on how you are using the tool.  

  • Substitution: At the level of substitution, the technology acts as a direct substitute. Google Keep could be used at this level if students are just making a list and crossing items off as they finish. 
  • Augmentation: Augmentation also acts as a direct substitute, but with functional improvement. Google Keep could be taken to the level of augmentation when used as a tool for curating resources, adding voice narration, and including images or drawings. 
  • Modification: The level of modification allows us to make the activity something more integrated with technology, meaning the activity could not even be done without technology. Google Keep may seem like a simple list maker, but it also allows you to collaborate with others. You can also curate and share lists of web tools, images, text, and much more. You even have the option to add your own voice to the lists. 


Don’t miss Part 2 of the Tech Tool of the Month: Google Keep. We will discuss how to use the tool and provide classroom use ideas. In the meantime, let us know in the comment section below how you have used Google Keep in your education setting. 

About the author: Melissa Henning

Melissa Henning is the Educational Content Manager for Source for Learning, the non-profit parent company of TeachersFirst. She has over 16 years of experience in education. Melissa is a frequent presenter at national and regional conferences.

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