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Energize Your Classroom With an Interactive Digital Notebook

What exactly is an Interactive Digital Notebook? How is it similar to a regular Interactive Notebook? How is an Interactive Digital Notebook used in the classroom?  What are the advantages over the traditional interactive notebooks?  Find the answers to these questions and more in PART 1 of my 3 part post on Interactive Digital Notebooks.

Using Interactive Digital Notebooks

What Are Interactive Digital Notebooks?

Interactive Digital Notebooks are very similar to traditional Interactive Notebooks.   Except they are DIGITAL and PAPERLESS.  They can cover the same content and same skills but the difference is that in a traditional Interactive Notebook, a student would be cutting and gluing parts into a physical notebook.

In the DIGITAL version, students work in Google Slides to complete a task involving content or skill. For example, a student might drag and match the causes and effects of the American Revolution. Students make inferences by looking at a diagram or illustration.  In a DIGITAL notebook, those elements can be in COLOR!

What are Interactive Digital Notebooks?

So there would be no coloring involved unless the tasked involved drawing, which is another possibility in an Interactive Digital Notebook.  Students could also find and insert their own images from the Internet as well!

Here’s an example in which I had the students draw the layers of the Earth using Google Draw and insert it into their Interactive Digital Notebook on the solar system.

Using Google Draw to make your own clip art

In a traditional Interactive Notebook, the student might cut apart pieces to fit together to make the layers of the Earth and glue then into the notebook and label them.  Replace that task with a digital task that involves creativity and learning to use drawing tools (these are universal tools which will aide the student in the future).

If you would like to learn how my students did this with Google Draw, HERE’S a TUTORIAL.

How Are Interactive Digital Notebooks Used?

You might ask:  but how will I incorporate them into my instruction?  There are many ways to do this. Since each slide in the Interactive Digital Notebook is separate (just like the pages of a traditional paper notebook), you set the pace!

How are Interactive Digital Notebooks used in the classroom?

For example, I might teach a lesson about the Earth’s rotation and revolution in space.  I’d have my students turn in place or walk in a circle to demonstrate rotation and revolution.  We’d construct models of rotation and revolution using materials such as styrofoam balls.  Once students gain an understanding of the concept of rotation and revolution, I then begin using the Interactive Digital Notebook to expand their learning and cement it in place.

I have the students watch a video (the link being on the slide) showing how the Earth rotates and revolves in space.  I also have them research the length of the day and year to the precise minute and seconds using a hyperlink also on the slide.  With this information, the student then answers questions or writes explanations on the slide to show their understanding of rotation and revolution.  Here’s an example from my Solar System Interactive Digital Notebook.

Solar System Digital Notebook

In other words, I didn’t spend time having them cut and glue pictures of the Earth rotating or revolving, but instead, I had the students further research so they became more invested in their learning.  In the end, by using the Interactive Digital Notebook, the student has spent more time learning about rotation and revolution than in a traditional notebook.

Interactive Digital Notebooks can also be used to assess student learning, especially if you are using Google Classroom.   You can assess, score and give feedback all online and digitally!  No collecting 25 or more notebooks to look at and score.  Just look at each Interactive Digital Notebook online in Google Classroom!  Send feedback through comments to guide students who go off track or need more challenges.

What Are the Advantages of an Interactive Digital Notebook?

So what exactly are the advantages of switching to an Interactive DIGITAL Notebook?  There are 3 key points to remember about going digital.

Advantages of using Interactive Digital Notebooks

Working in a digital environment means no more worrying if you’ll exceed your copy limit at school. Going paperless means that students can make corrections at any time without damaging the file (think about each time a student glues the paper in the wrong place or upside down in a traditional Interactive Notebook).

Also, going paperless means you can differentiate slides for students who need more challenge or for students who need more support. Also, no more making copies of print resources that are used in conjunction with the notebook.  Instead, just add a link and the student can read it on the screen. Remember, any document that can be scanned can be turned into a PDF for online access.

Woodland Animals Adaptations Digital Notebook

Another big advantage is the use of COLOR.  We all know the effect of COLOR on memory and learning.  When visuals are in color such as the one above from my Woodlands Adaptations Interactive Digital Notebook, we remember and comprehend better.

So go ahead and add those amazing images!  Go ahead and beautiful and colorful clip art!  It’s not going to be printed or copied, so add it to your delight without worrying if you’ll use up your entire ink cartridge in your printer!  It’s also more motivating and exciting for students when materials are in color.

Add Multimedia to Interactive Digital Notebooks!

Finally, the MAJOR advantage over traditional Interactive Notebooks is the ability to embed or link to different media.  You can add video, animation, hyperlinks, audio, and even GIFs.  With the link in their own copy of the Interactive Digital Notebook, students can watch a video at his/her own pace.  The student can rewind it, fast forward it or watch it multiple times.  The same goes for hyperlinks to content.

Students need to be able to explore these links at their own pace and learn to take notes that will then be used to supply needed information in the Interactive Digital Notebook.  On another note, this is excellent practice for the SBAC and PARCC which can contain video and audio links the student would need to use to answer questions or complete a task!  As you can see from this example from my Desert Adaptations Interactive Digital Notebook, students can watch a linked video about Gila Monsters.

Desert Animals Adaptations Digital Notebook

Finally, here’s another BONUS of the Interactive Digital Notebooks.  We all know that students do not finish all assignments at the same time.  But with Interactive Digital Notebooks, no worries if the student didn’t finish at school.  Why? Because students can access it at HOME and finish any slide for homework!  All the student needs is internet access (most public libraries have internet access so there’s no excuse!) and their Google account username and password to log on.

Are you Ready to Read Part 2?

In Part 2, you’ll read about

  • some unique features of my Interactive Digital Notebooks
  • skills that can be practiced with Interactive Digital Notebooks
  • some tips for using Interactive Digital Notebooks
  • and some more bonuses and advantages of using Interactive Digital Notebooks

In Part 3, you can sign up to receive a FREE Sampler of one of my Interactive Digital Notebooks!

Don’t Go Yet!

Are you new to the 1:1 classroom setting? Then you’ll want to read my Valuable Tips for the 1:1 Classroom.

Check out how I use Google Classroom to present at Back to School Night for Parents.

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Using Interactive Digital Notebooks in the classroom with students is a great way to integrate content areas, support the common core state standards while providing a 21st-century tool for learning.  Check out the different kinds of Interactive Digital Notebooks I use and how they are used.  Then sign up to download a free SAMPLER!  #twoboysandadad #googleslides #googleclassroom #digitalnotebooks #chromebooks #ipads
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Two Boys and a Dad
Two Boys and a Dad

I’m a single dad raising two boys, 14 and 11. I’m also a veteran teacher of over 30 years who has taught first, second and third grades. I’m also a trained literacy coach, served as a mentor teacher and have a Bilingual Specialist Credential. I’m currently serving as a District Math Coach.

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2 Comments

  1. Sandra Rebeles
    January 4, 2019 / 8:58 am

    Another advantage to digital interactive notebooks… students who are absent HAVE their assignments already… no claiming that they never got their missing work!

    • January 4, 2019 / 9:51 am

      You are very correct! Also, parents can sign up for Google Classroom notifications which means that they can see all the assignments as well.

Geometry on Google Slides®

These Interactive Digital Notebooks for Google Slides are now available in my TpT Store!

Click the link BELOW to see the Geometry Books!

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