Saturday, March 19, 2016

Digital Interactive Notebooks in the Social Studies Classroom

The idea of using Google Drive in the classroom is an exciting and daunting adventure. One minute you’re printing worksheets and activities. The next, you’re faced with a room full of tablets or laptops, the world at your fingertips and no idea how to get started. Gulp. The good news is you’re not alone. I hope this post sparks your creativity and ignites your passion for using technology in the classroom!

For the purposes of this post, I’m assuming you already have access to the right technology and that your students have access to Google accounts sanctioned and established by your district. If not, look HERE for more information on setting up your Google-ready classroom or search for Google Classroom on the internet!

What is a Digital Interactive Notebook?

Digital interactive notebooks (Digital INBs) are virtual notes pages that students use to organize their class notes. Instead of using paper, glue, scissors and other supplies, all you need is access to a computer, the internet, and the right software. You can use Google Drive – which is FREE! Using Google Slides, students can easily navigate between topics and pages. Everything is always organized, neat, and accessible.
Why should I use Digital INBs?
Interactive notebooks are a great way for students to organize their notes in an engaging format. Students love to navigate between the pages, insert textboxes and use the computers to take their notes. Granted, it’s still notetaking, but in a new and novel format! Oh, and you’ll LOVE that they students never lose their work. It’s never stuffed at the bottom of a backpack or flittering away in the wind. It’s all safely stored online where they can always find it. FINALLY! J
What do digital INBs look like?
Digital INBs have a wide range of styles and various graphic organizers. I love designing digital notebooks with lots of color, clip art, photographs and of course plenty of room for student notes. Check out the pictures below for a better idea of the format and design of some digital INBs I created for Ancient History!


What if my students don’t have technology or internet at home?
Every school and district is different and you know your students best. If you’re worried about tech and internet access at home, I propose using the computers and Google Drive at school, then printing out a student’s notes so that they have access to it at home. They still get to use the technology in school with the rest of their peers but get to take a hard-copy home with them at the end of the day or unit. It’s the best of both worlds for students who need that accommodation in your own classroom.
Where can I find digital INBs and how can I make my own?
I love making digital interactive notebooks. In fact, I’m uploading more and more to my Teachers Pay Teachers shop whenever I can find a spare moment. If you’re interested in purchasing some ready-made digital INBs, I recommend checking out The Teacher’s Prep (that's me! J), Students of History, and more! For a few bucks, a complete digital INB is at your fingertips for use in your own classroom!
If you want to make your own, I highly recommend Danielle Knight’s Google Drive Toolkit. I owe everything I learned about Google Drive to her amazing resource. You may be able to search for help online, but she’s organized everything (with pictures) in an easy-to-use file. Seriously amazing.
If you’re interested in looking at a notebook before taking the plunge, check out my FREE Exploring Social Studies Digital Interactive Notebook for Google Drive. Play around with it, try it in your classroom, and gauge the activity in your own classroom. Try making history come alive in a whole new way!

-The Teacher's Prep