Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Work Flow - Getting Traditional with Google Scan Feature

One of the topics that I find interesting, and I think many actually find interesting but don't really talk a ton about, is work flow.  I find I have so many tools and apps at my disposal but the real question is which one will work best for how I work.  There needs to be an added value to any tool that I decide to adopt.  Some may give me increased efficiency and some may give me additional features like making it easier to find in a search.

When I am in a workshop, taking notes at a lecture or jotting down ideas I often find myself more comfortable using a pen and paper rather than an I-pad or my laptop.  I have always had a soft spot for a notebook or a journal.  I find it easy to carry a Moleskine cashier notebook , a Field Notes memo book , or a PaperBlanks journal because they fit in my pocket and yet provide enough space to write.  For me the notebook is a little faster than starting up a device and typing away.  I can also add little drawings and sketches on the pages of my notebook with ease.
As a history teacher I often want to take notes at a presentation or out in the field. Last summer I spent an amazing week at Monticello working with their education staff on new resources for teachers and in addition to listening to speakers we also did work on grounds of Monticello and took field trips to locations like James Madison's Montpelier.  It was much easier for me to take out my little notebook and capture an idea or note.
Of course as a tech loving history geek I also realize the limitations of not using technology to keep my notes and having a digital record.  The most important drawback being the risk of losing my notebook and thus all the information.  So recently I have started to combine my desire to keep handwritten notes and the advantages of having a digital copy.

My personal workflow solution is using the SCAN feature in Google Drive to create a digital copy.  At the end of a day writing notes in my Moleskine, I take out my phone (or I-Pad) and open Google Drive.  I select the “+" feature to add an item and then “SCAN”.  I than take a picture of my notebook page.  I can select to scan it in color or black and white.  I can also crop the scan to just include certain parts of the picture. It is then uploaded to my Drive where I can add it to a specific folder and give it a title to make it easy to tag and search.

An nice additional benefit of scanning a document into Drive is Google's Optical Character Recognition feature. This is especially helpful when scanning any document that is typed - for example a receipt.  This makes all the text of the scanned item - not just the title - available for search.  You can also select to scan it in color or black / white and choose the crop option to select exactly what you want in your final scan.

Scan to Google Drive has become a major part of my daily workflow and allows me to have the benefits of living a digital life while still using my trusty little field notebook.

1 comment:

  1. Hello, I'm Erin and I am an EDM310 student at the University of South Alabama. Here is the URL for both my class and personal class blog:
    http://edm310.blogspot.com/ http://craneerinalyseedm310.blogspot.com/
    I will be summarizing my visits to
    this blog with a post to my blog before September 19!

    I just wanted to say I really enjoyed this post because lately I've been thinking about the tools I wanted to use in my classroom. I have a laptop and of course the old fashioned pen and paper method but I've been on the fence about purchasing an iPad before I started teaching and I think you've sold me on it. First off it's more portable than a laptop and now seeing the SCAN feature (which I did not know existed) I feel I can get the most of my money out of this. Thank you again!