I waded into the shallow end of the Google Apps / GAFE / Chromebook pool last summer. In November, I dove off the high board as my office went all Google – mail, calendar, documents, the works.

I’ve been using Google Docs forever so it’s not like the stuff is completely foreign to me. But going all in . . . with all my stuff, emails, contacts, online? Yeah, there was an adjustment period.

But after a few months, I really am falling in love with the syncing of info and materials between all my different devices. I’ve also had a chance to start playing around with all of the different Google tools buried in my account.

My latest favorite? Google Keep. Basically Keep is Google’s version of


I know that many of you already ask students to take notes for a variety of reasons – lecture capture, short-term and long-term research, group work, basic data collection, primary / secondary source analysis. We want kids to analyze evidence, validate resources, search effectively, and appropriately cite their data. And many of you probably give kids choices on where those notes live.

Paper and pencil is fine but that medium is tough to edit, update, and share. So a lot of us and our students are taking our stuff online. And there are all sorts of digital note taking tools out there – with Evernote probably as the frontrunner.

But you might want to throw Google Keep into the mix of possible tools. Especially if your school is one that uses a lot of Google tools already or is using Chromebooks.

You can use Google Keep to create, share, and collaborate notes quickly and easily. Since Google Keep syncs to Google, notes are accessible to you and anyone you share them with virtually anywhere: on your Android phone, tablet, through a Chrome app, and on the web.

Like most of Google’s tools, Keep is pretty much dropdead simple to use with icons and buttons tailored to look the same as other tools such as Mail. But Keep is more than just notes. With its built-in ability to share – much like Google Drive Docs, Slides, and Sheets, Keep seems like a perfect way to connect with your students and their content. And just as easy for your students to share their stuff with one another.

You get the added benefit of ELA literacy standards integration and alignment to the C4 Framework.

Take notes using text, photos, or your voice, and add multi-purpose checklists. And with Keep’s OCR feature, you and students can take pictures of text and book pages, upload them to your Keep account, and use the Grab Image text option to insert that text into notes. You can also add hyperlinks to online resources and video clips. Use the checkbox option to guide students through a specific process.

Use Keep to create reminders based on your notes. Perfect for sharing assignments with students that have due dates. You and students can also create a location based reminder – put a home location and kids are reminder to do their homework.

Drag & drop your notes and lists to rearrange them, and archive them when you no longer need them. The interface is clean and color coded so kids can make red notes for social studies, green for ELA, and yellow for science.

Send notes to your contacts and collaborate in real time. Or use the feature to encourage student groups to share information between group members.

Browse and search notes easily – you can use widgets and extensions to view on your other devices. A cool trick – remember the cool OCR option? You can quickly search your notes with attached pictures using keywords embedded in the image so nothing ever gets lost.

Need a handy tutorial?

Need a handy Google Keep help page?