22 September 2013

Information Overload: Google Keep - Helping Learners get Organised

Our school is 1:1 but in its infancy. It is a new initiative that will revolutionise our learner's experience of education. However, teaching learners to manage themselves in a paperless way is posing somewhat of a challenge.

Homework in particular is a problem; the recording of homework specifically, is an issue. I use Edmodo to post homework. I use Google Calendar, which is embedded in their page on my Learning Site, and shared with them to add to their own calendars. I also use the school site, which is the party line. Homework is therefore recorded for them in three places, so they have many ways to find it.

Are they doing it? No, not always.

Part of the problem might be the lack of transference. We know that the physical act of writing helps learning. If they are passively receiving homework instructions, perhaps they are not actively engaging with it.

Ever-searching for solutions to help my learners organise themselves digitally, I recently found out about Google Keep - which seems to be a well-kept secret. Developed to challenge Evernote (which I have used for years), Google Keep could offer a solution - particularly as we employ Google Apps for Education.

It is like 'Sticky Notes', which I used before I found Evernote BUT it is in the Cloud. Rumours abound that it will also become integrated with Drive (some geeks have delved into the code: read here).

It is available on Apple and Android. I simply typed in Google Keep. In 30 seconds I had created this:
Example Google Keep

Each subject could be a different colour
Notes can be viewed in list or grid view in a similar way to Drive.

To help as a homework organisation tool, they can be colour-coded to easily identify different subjects.

Recognisable Google icons
Images can be inserted, completed work archived and mistakes deleted with the click of a button - all using icons used in Drive, which our learners will recognise.

Set a reminder
What is also very helpful, is that reminders can be set up for particular dates and times. The times are pre-determined for morning, afternoon or evening OR you can pick a time of your own.

A pop up then appears on the screen that has to be clicked to be removed (obviously, they can forget again once they have clicked it but hey, we can only do so much!).

This week, I think I might trial this with a few classes to see how they feel about it.

I hope Google Keep will offer a solution to some learners at least.  The more options we provide in helping them become information literate and manage their workload the better. I think Google Keep is simple and easy to use. It is similar to Drive, which they are now familiar with and I believe it could be effective in helping them record and manage their homework.

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