Teacher Tech blog with Alice Keeler

Paperless Is Not a Pedagogy

Alice Keeler

Paper Does Not Have a Keyword Search

Paper Does Not Have a Keyword Search

Paper does not search

Let us pretend my children (I have 5) are super organized and all their papers from school are hole punched, indexed in a binder with dividers, properly titled, and filed by date. Even in this perfect scenario the binder of papers does not allow for a keyword search. Google Drive does.

Entire Document

At the top of Google Drive is a search box. The search looks for keywords not just in the document title but in the entire document. Google Drive will search PDF’s and Office Documents as well. The OCR reader in Google Drive will read image files or the text in a PDF to return those document results.

Doing a search for parabola in my Google Drive returns documents with the word parabola in the title but also anywhere in the document. Notice the image files that Google Drive found. Google Drive was able to identify that the word parabola was in the screenshot.
Search Parabola

Title Search

If you know the keyword is in the title, filter your search using title:keyword.

Date Search

To locate a document modified on a certain day use the filters before:yyyy-mm-dd or after:yyyy-mm-dd.
before and after

Owner Search

Google Drive searches all documents owned by you or shared with you. You can restrict the search to documents owned by you with owner:me.

Documents can be filtered by a particular owner, such as documents the teacher created. Use owner:emailaddress in the search.

Stop It With The Paper

Let’s get real. My daughters binder of paper is not perfectly organized. It’s a head slapping mess. The papers are folded, ripped, jammed and missing. When I ask her to get out her work so we can go over it together she can not find it or it is “at home” or “at school.”

  • Papers get lost. Google Docs do not have a save button, the work is automatically saved.
  • Papers get destroyed. Google Docs have revision history. View what the document looked like at different points in the editing  process.
  • Paper is not collaborative. Google Docs allow students to type on the same document at the same time.
  • Paper is in one place at a time. Google Docs is everywhere there is an internet connection and even when there is not (offline mode). Pull up Google Docs on any device, including a phone.
  • Paper can not be shared. Parents and teachers can watch a student working on their Google Doc and provide feedback in the moment.
  • Paper is heavy. Google Drive can hold millions of papers, no added weight. A Chromebook weighs less than a typical students backpack.
  • Paper makes a mess. You will not find Google Docs all over the floor. You can not drop and spill a box of Google Docs.

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1 thought on “Paper Does Not Have a Keyword Search

  1. Thanks Alice, this post rings with so much practical truth. In addition to keywords, as educators spend more time grappling with standards-based feedback, assignments and assessment items can be “tagged” with the targeted standard. This becomes especially helpful when learners create portfolios. Filtering, sorting, and displaying targeted artifacts becomes infinitely easier when these items are tagged with keywords representing learning standards. Not claiming originality here, credit Silvia Tolisano (@langwitches) with leading me to the land of “documentation for learning”.

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