Tech Tip: Bye-Bye, Notebooks

“In education, technology can be a life-changer, a game-changer, for kids who are both in and out of school.” –Queen Rania of Jordan.

Come August, many teachers will be eyeing the sales flyers for office supply stores, for Target and Walmart, in search of cheap notebooks or composition books for students.

I myself did the same thing last August, buying a misprint lot of 100 pocket-sized ones from EBay.

After one year of traveling at the bottoms of heavy backpacks and sometimes in the back pockets of skinny jeans, this is the best result:

Image result for beat up notebook

There are many others with ripped covers, loose pages, and uncurled wire loops.

It occurred to me–this is not a great end result. This information is tenuously held together and too easy to lose, to be ruined by a spilled soda or time or a curious baby brother.

What a waste.

Suddenly, I had a light bulb moment.

Related image


So next year–no more notebooks! Or at least, many fewer.

Monday I am giving a tech lesson to my students about how to use the phone app Google Keep.

Benefits include:

  1. Price: Free
  2. Sharing: Notes written in Google Keep can be sent directly to Google Drive. Once added to Google Drive, notes can be modified and/or printed.
  3. Collaboration: Notes written in Google Keep can be shared to anyone with an email address. If a student misses a day of class, another student can easily copy and paste the day’s information into a new note and share it.
  4. Organization: Labeling, color coding–students can get all fancy with how they want to find things. All the pink notes are about present tense! All the blue ones are about imperfect! Who knows, maybe I’ll figure out a color coding system of my own.
  5. Reminders: There is a built-in feature to schedule a reminder either based on time or location. Just got home and need to study? The reminder will pop up when you walk in the door or will go off at 5:30, right after swim practice, whatever the student chooses.

There are many other wonderful things about this app, but these are just the quick practical applications that can be applied to a World Language classroom.

Say goodbye to the educational tools of the 1930’s and hello to the future. 

Want the deck? Click here to get the Google Slides presentation!


  1. The only danger, that even seeps into college classrooms, is all the people who say they’re taking notes being the same people who claim not to text and drive…Being able to pull any phone logged in up on the main screen? Priceless.

    Liked by 1 person

    • My advice to students is to use Google Keep with their personal Gmail accounts, because all information associated with their school accounts will be deleted once they move on to middle school.


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