Speaker 1: OTAN, Outreach and Technical Assistance Network.
Anthony Burik: Hello, everyone. My name is Anthony Burik. I'm a project specialist at OTAN. Welcome to today's OTAN Tech Talk. I would like to introduce our presenter today, Michelle Jensen, ABE instructor at El Monte Rosemead Adult Education.
Michelle's topic is using Google Keep in the classroom. Let's get started. Take it away, Michelle.
Michelle Jensen: Hello and welcome. I have been teaching in adult education for over 15 years now. And though I have taught every subject as part of the HSD and HSE programs, I am now teaching adult basic education math and English.
All through this time, I have used, learned, and expanded my use of technology in the classroom. And I have found one app in particular to be extremely useful. Most of you have worked with Google. And you probably are using Google apps in your classroom and everyday lives-- apps like YouTube, Maps, Calendar, Gmail, Drive, Docs, and Slides. The list goes on and on.
But you may not be as familiar with Google Keep. I'm here to show you some of the things you can do on Google Keep, as well as a few things you can teach your students to make their work easier too. As a teacher, you can become more organized, keep better track of brainstorms, and speed up certain activities. As a student, Google Keep can facilitate organization and collaboration.
I find that once my students become familiar with Google Keep, there is less stress with the more difficult assignments and more focus on the learning side of lessons rather than on how to get the task done. But more than anything, Google Keep can help teachers and students with their work.
The first thing you need to know, though, is that there's a difference between the computer or desktop version of Google Keep and the mobile app. By using both the desktop version and the mobile app, you and your students can sync across devices making the ability to work much easier. Be familiar with how Keep looks on both kinds of devices.
Today we will be focusing on the computer side of Google Keep. To get started, you need to log in to Gmail. I recommend logging into Gmail simply because it allows you to access the other apps offered by Google at the same time. From there, go to the waffle, which is the grouping of dots at the top right side of your screen, and click on it.
Once the drop down menu appears and is open, click the Google Keep icon. If it is not visible, just scroll down until you see the yellow square with what looks like a light bulb on it or click on the yellow square with the light bulb in the menu at the right hand side of your screen. This opens a sidebar to access Google Keep. But if you want to open the actual app from here, you can click the open icon in the top corner of the slide sidebar.
Now let me ask you, have you ever written something on the whiteboard and what you said or maybe the way you said it was so perfect that you didn't want to lose it? OK, so maybe it was something someone else wrote on the board, like an administrator or a presenter in an OTAN workshop. When this happens, I frequently snap a picture of it. Then I end up with pictures of great information and nothing to do with them. I don't have time to type them up and put the information somewhere useful.
What's worse is I frequently forget I even took the pictures. So what was the point? In other situations, I have written notes for my students. Then I have to come up with the same notes in a new semester simply because I wrote the notes on the whiteboard and at the end of the day just erased them. In both cases, I have lost great information that would be really useful in a different format.
The solution I found was Google Keep. Remember all those pictures I took and then did nothing with? If I load them onto Google Keep, I can create usable information. I can load the pictures in a couple ways. First, if the picture is on the computer, just find the desired folder-- excuse me, file. Then drag and drop the file into the take note window.
Once you have loaded the image, click Close at the bottom right hand corner of the image if you aren't ready to work with it or click the image icon to the right in the take note window. This will open a menu where you can select the image you want to load and open it in Google Keep. Then you can close the image just like you did before.
Once you're ready to get started working with an image, hover over the image you wish to edit and a menu will appear. This bar will be at the bottom of the image even if you open it. In this menu bar, you will see a bell with a plus sign, a person with a plus sign, a painter's palette, an image, a box with an arrow pointing down, and the vertical ellipse, or a skinny snowman.
The other three icons-- the Undo, Redo, and Close button-- are on the menu only when you open the file. Now click the skinny snowman in the menu bar of the image you want to work on and click Grab Image Text from the menu that appears. This gives you a text copy of whatever was on the image you loaded. It turns a long typing task into a 2-second click.
The one drawback is that if you have writing that is hard to read, like math notes with examples of problems or writing that isn't in a straight line, maybe it's in columns as with an agenda. Google Keep may not be able to decipher what is written. And you can come up with confused or even symbol gibberish. Basically, there's always a need to make sure what has been converted reads correctly. More on that later.
After getting the text, you have several options. This is the point I usually open the file to work on it. If I want to add a title to help with the searchability of the note, simply go to the top of the menu-- excuse me, the top of the note just below the image and add a title. You can also color code the note for organization or prioritizing by using the little painter's palette icon or you can add a label or a drawing to a note.
You can turn the note into a list. If you want to add checkboxes to your text to make your text a to-do list, click the skinny snowman and click the Show Checkboxes. The really cool thing about this feature is that when you're finished-- when you finish a task and click the checkbox to say it's done, the task automatically moves to the bottom of the list.
If you want to move things around on the list, hover the cursor over the item you want to move. Click and hold the six dots that appear on the left, and move the item wherever you want. You can even indent doing the same thing just by moving the cursor right as you drag it. You can add a remind to your notes that can then cross over to your calendar by clicking the little bell icon at the bottom and choosing from the options that appear.
One other thing you might want or even need to do is share things that you have written. To do this, click the person icon, again, at the bottom of the image. This functions pretty much the same way sharing works across Google apps. Once you click the icon, add the email of the person you want to share with and click Save.
But the main thing I do is go to the last option in the skinny snowman. In this list is Copy to Google Docs. This makes a copy of the image with the newly converted text and sends it to my Google Drive as a doc. At this point, you can do whatever you want with it. I usually download it, edit it, and move it where I need it.
One more thing-- one more note about Google Keep. When adding an image, it must be an image. GIF, JPEG, PNG, and WebP are all usable. You cannot, however, use PDF or DOCs or anything of the like.
As a teacher of basic education, I am the one who is not only reintroducing students to school and what it means to be a student, but I am also trying to show students ways to make the transition back into school or maybe even the brand new experience of school easier. One of the most difficult things for students is the idea of taking notes and then reviewing those notes. I always see students taking pictures of what I'm writing on the board. But what do they do with these pictures?
Many take them home and copy them onto paper when they have more time while others forget about them, just like me. Instead, I introduce my students to Google Keep. I show them how to move the image into Google Keep, do a text grab, and then move it to Google Docs. I also always show them how to double check the text conversion the same way I do.
In this way, they not only make sure they have the notes, but they also revisit the information. Then I have them share the notes with me as part of an assignment. I have them ask me questions through the document on anything in their notes that doesn't make sense. And because we are linked, I can answer back through the shared document.
Another assignment that is made easier by using the text grab feature of Google Keep is writing an essay. Students who have just come back to school often don't know how to type. And some who can type don't type very fast, making the assignment not only difficult but stressful too. I'm sorry to say that typing is not the focus of my class. I want them to learn more about computers, yeah. But I'm more worried about their writing skills.
So I teach them that if they write the essay clearly, I still don't want to see it. But they can take a picture of it and have Google Keep type it for them. I find that this lesson is actually a major stress reliever for my students. Their focus returns to the writing and not the typing of the assignment.
Here's a final example of how another teacher uses Google Keep in her class. First, she made a large poster with the information about getting started in the class and posted it on the wall. Then she shows students how to find the waffle for the apps in Gmail and open Google Drive. She points out the New button on the top left and the features that are there, most particularly, Google Docs. Students will be using this app in their assignments.
Next, she has the students download Google Keep on their phones and open the app. Now they use their phones to take a picture of the instructions poster on the wall. Here's where the magic takes place for the students. Keep extracts the text from the image with the text grab feature. Then with Keep, students save the notes as a Google Doc.
So now the students have the information from the poster in their Google Drive. They can add to it, edit it or even share it with the teacher or another student. By the end of that first day, students know how to get started in class and how to quickly take digital notes. They learn to take images from posters on the wall, images on their screens, and even from their textbooks and add them to documents.
The last step for this teacher is to have her students share their notes with her, verifying that they have completed the assignment. Keep made a boring task of note taking into a swift image grab that turns into a Word document they can use. The students can use these skills everywhere at any time.
Thank you for listening. I hope you have found this workshop useful and can see the use of Google Keep not only in the classroom, but in your work as a teacher or in your own life. Try out the app and decide how it works best for you. Because this is an app that almost completely online, there are dozens of ways you can use Google Keep. You can even use it to plan a project-based assignment.
Anthony Burik: Thank you, Michelle, for all of that great information. OTAN would also like to thank all of its viewers. And if you have an EdTech tool or tip that you'd like to share with the adult education field, email your OTAN Tech Talk idea to us at email@example.com. Please also subscribe to the OTAN YouTube channel, where you can watch a number of videos on a variety of technology related topics, including previous OTAN tech talks.
We'd also like to remind you that OTAN is a leadership project for adult education in California. And if you are at a WIOA funded agency, you can contact OTAN for additional services, including online hands-on professional development. Visit the OTAN website at www.otan.us, or contact us by phone or email. Thank you again for watching today's OTAN Tech Talk.