Why a Digital Journal?
First, it is a place students can place resources and references for what we've been learning about. I've tried Interactive Student notebooks in the past, but it was too much of a management issue for me. It also allows me to "review" their journals at my leisure without having to collect notebooks from the students.
Second, it is a reflective journal. By giving students an opportunity to share what they learned or their thinking about a topic I can easily search for misunderstanding or interesting comments to discuss individually or as a class.
Students had to title their journal "P#-name" but could decorate and format it however they want.
When I have a new page I want students to add to their journals, I simply add it to my original copy. Then students can open it up from Google Classroom, copy the page and paste it in to their slides.
Students do NOT need to type their reflections in the journal...they are more than welcome to hand write their journals. All I ask is they take a picture of their written work and insert them onto the slide.
I chose to make the slides portrait instead of landscape because I felt like more information could be added. Students are more than welcome to switch this in their journals.
I chose Google Slides instead of Docs because I liked how the table of contents could easily link to a specific slide and the link would stay associated with that slide even if they were rearranged. It's also easy for students to copy and paste an entire slide without having to select specific text. I don't like that Draw isn't an insert function, but there are definitely ways around it.
Reflection so far
I need to be sure to allow at least 10 minutes for students to journal. I asked them to finish for homework, but many did not, so they had to finish in class the next day. I don't think students need to journal every day, but I will do it after a big lesson or idea.
Having students share their journals is extremely important. So far I've been pretty good about giving them time to share with a partner, but I need to get better at looking through them and pulling out things I think could make good conversation so we can have some classroom discussions.
I can only see this form of note taking getting better as myself and my students use it more. If you use digital journals/notebooks or have ideas, let me know in the comments below.