Tech Tip Tuesday: Using Google Keep to Take Notes or Formulate a Paper

Google Keep is one of my FAVORITE apps. You can access it from the Google “Rubik’s Cube / Waffle Icon” or go to Keep.Google.com. The web version lets you create sticky notes, that are automatically saved to your Google Keep account and accessible anywhere. These notes are good for reminders, homework, to-do lists, etc. But students can use this as a place to take notes when conducting research or formulating an essay / paper. Take it a step further and Google Keep is also an extension. You (and your students) can install the Keep extension which adds the ability to take notes ANYWHERE on the web. The notes are then saved automatically… back to your Google Keep account on the web. Plus, any note you take, anywhere on the web, also saves the link/web address (great for those works cited pages / annotated bibliographies). Just simply click on the extension wherever you are on the web, and a Google Keep popup will open, allowing you to type a note or information.

If you go back to your keep.google.com account every note you took will show there. Students and yourselves can color-code them or even label them (my personal favorite). Have your students create labels for “primary” and “secondary” resources then filter/tag each note they took with these labels. It’s like recreating the old “index card” essay sorting we used to do years ago.

One last piece… and this is the cherry on top. Google Keep is ALSO accessible from WITHIN a Google Doc. Open a Google Doc, and on the right-hand side you’ll see a little side pane with the Google Keep icon. Click that and all of your Keep notes will appear. You can then simply click and drag them onto the Google Doc. Perfect for students when writing essays/research papers.

And for your struggling learners or just because… Check out the Google Keep mobile app. When you take a note on the mobile app, you can actually take a voice note!

Hope this helps!

Tech Tip Tuesday: Mote for Personalized Audio Feedback

Mote lets you easily add voice comments and audio content to shared documents, assignments, emails and forms and is integrated into Google Docs, Slides, Sheets, Forms and Classroom – and Gmail – for easy recording and playback. You can also create voice notes for any website or application directly using the Chrome extension menu – simply click on the browser icon to access the ‘Motepad’ recorder. For help with Mote check this video out.

Basically, you can highlight text in a Google Doc, and instead of type your comment in, you can leave audio feedback for your students directly in the document which they can just click to play! The student do not even need to install the Mote extension either! However, installing it on their end would allow for one-click playback instead of 2. Not a huge difference, but something to think about. In Google Slides, Mote lets you drop audio files ANYWHERE on a Google Slide! Really cool for students to leave commentary about a topic, or use a target language to practice vocabulary!

Hope this helps!

Tech Tip Tuesday: StoryboardThat!

If you are looking for a new tool to incorporate into your classroom, Storyboard That could be a fun way to have students create visually engaging storyboards. A storyboard is a movie-making tool used to layout a film visually beforehand, with drawing and writing. Storyboardthat takes that feel and combines it with the elements of a comic strip.

No need to draw anything if you or your students aren’t good at the art piece. Storyboardthat takes the guess work out and allows you to select the characters, backgrounds, etc that you want. In fact, with lots of community-created content already there, you could have a storyboard without having to come up with any original work at all.

So what if…

  • Students used this tool for presentations to the class, ideal for getting an idea into the room with visual aids.
  • Teachers used it to assign tasks
  • Students use this to retell a scene/book or to teach a lesson

There is a paid premium version and a free version. The free version limits you to 2 free storyboard creations a week. So keep that in mind when assigning these.

Hope this helps!

Tech Tip Tuesday: Make Transparent Images with Lunapic

LunaPic is an online platform that lets users upload and edit their images using a variety of built-in tools. After uploading the picture to the platform, you can add borders, filters, animations, and more, including, remove the background of an image and make it transparent!

To make an image transparent, fist go to lunapic.com –> click EDIT –> then transparent image at the bottom. Upload your image using the “choose file” button or paste in the link to your image. Lunapic will load the image. Once the image opens, simply click anywhere in the background to remove that color. Images with less background colors are easier to convert. You will then see Lunapic reload your image with the area you clicked transparent. It may not remove it all, so click “apply” and continue to follow this process until you remove it all! You can also select the eraser tool in the left navigation –> Lunapic will reload your image in a new editor, then click and drag to remove the background you want. Once you are done, scroll to the bottom and click “save” to download your transparent image!

Hope this helps!