Google Keep is Google’s note-taking service and part of you and your student’s G Suite. It has been around since 2013. Google continues to add new features to this commonly overlooked app. Now is the time to give it another look and help students to integrate it into their digital toolbox.
To find Google Keep go to keep.google.com or click on the ‘Waffle’ from your Gmail or Google Drive (here you may need to click on ‘More’ if you haven’t already reorganised the apps).
1. Use it as a ‘to do list’ or homework organiser
Notes can easily be added by typing into the ‘Take a note…’ box. Notes can be colour coded, they can be single items or lists, and they can be pinned for easy access. Reminders (time and/or locations) can also be added. Labels can be used to help organise the notes. Students could use labels to represent different projects, different subjects, or something more time/priority orientated.
2. Use Google Keep’s collaborative ‘to do lists’ for project planning and preparation
It is possible to ‘share’ a Google Keep list with another person. That person does not see all of your Google Keep notes - just the one you have shared with them. You can both add and complete items on a shared list. Students could use this feature to manage the requirements for a group project - what needs to be done, who is doing it and ticking off when it has been completed. Personally, I use collaborative Google Keeps lists as an informal standing agenda for regular meetings I have with colleagues.
3. Make use of the Google Keep Chrome extension
Chrome extensions are small software programs that customise your experience of using Google Chrome. They enable users to tailor Chrome’s functionality and behaviour to individual needs or preferences of a person. Once installed (you do not need to be an admin on your device to do this) they usually add an icon to the right of the omnibox in Chrome.
With the Google Keep Chrome Extension students (and you) can easily save text, images and links to Google Keep and have them synced across all the platforms that you use. You can save page links, text and images, take notes on saved content and add labels to notes. All of this automatically saves to Google Keep.
4. Use Google Keep to capture text, images and links during online research
Imagine a student is doing an online research task. They find part of an article that would be useful. They highlight it, press the Google Keep icon in the toolbar of Google Chrome to activate the extension. The highlighted text along with a link back to its source are added to Google Keep. If a label has been set up by the student for that task all the research can easily be collated in one place.
Google Keep can then be used as a source of notes, ideas and clippings. In Google Docs and Google Slides > Tools > Keep notepad adds a sidebar from which content can be easily added to the project being developed.
If a user wants to add an image to their Google Keep all they need to do is right click on an image > ‘Save image to Keep’.
5. Have Google Keep open in a tab when Google Chrome is opened
It is easy to set up Google Chrome so that every time you launch Chrome it opens up with certain tabs. If Google Keep was to be a core of a student‘s note taking and organizational process, Chrome launching with Keep would be a positive start. To do this in Google Chrome go to Settings > scroll down > On start-up > Open a specific page > Add a new page > paste in the link to Google Keep: https://keep.google.com
6. Install the smartphone app
There is a Google Keep app for iOS (iPhone and iPad) as well as for Android phones (obviously as Android is Google‘s mobile operating system). You could encourage or even require students to install the Google Keep app. The mobile phone app allows you to record voice notes to your Google Keep account. After recording a voice memo Google will transcribe it for you and will offer the ability to playback the audio clip.