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Use Google Slides to Create a Digital Notebook

Google Slides

Like many of you I was school shopping this past week and purchasing requested supplies.  One of those requested was a pack of reinforced paper.  Yep, there is such a thing.  I taught for 15 years and did not even realize this was a thing!

Apparently this is paper that has a reinforced margin surrounding the three hole punch to help it last longer.  This longer life is useful when students take notes throughout the year.  But I think if your school, like many, has devices for students and uses Google Apps for Education then I have a better way – Google Slides.

The key to using Google slides to create a digital notebook is to resize the slide dimensions to 8.5 x 11 to mimic conventional paper.  This can be completed under the ‘file’ menu and selecting page setup.  The default size of the slides is ‘widescreen 16:9’ but if you select custom you can resize the slides to any size you would like.

Once completed, the template is set. Each slide that you add will also be this size. Another benefit of using google slides is that as you add text boxes and graphics there are guidelines that appear to help line up and center items for optimal appearance. Not to mention it will automatically save. Students could also import an image straight into their notebook. For example if the students were completing a science experiment they could use their webcam to insert a picture of their actual event. This increase in authenticity also increases their ownership. The quick screencast below provides an overview of the whole process.

So with Google Slides instead of trying to hold on to that paper journal, spiral notebook, or reinforced paper your student’s work be safely stored in their google drive.  Let’s face it we have all seen lockers at the end of a semester where unless the paper was reinforced with rebar and concrete it was not going to make much of a difference!  What will is altering our practice.

This article was originally published at #BRESA Tech Talk.


(@jrommel): Joe is an Educational Technology Consultant for the Berrien Regional Education Services Agency (RESA) in Berrien Springs, MI, and MACUL Board Member.