Four Reasons to use DINBS Science Notebooks in Classroom

Using Digital Interactive Notebooks DINBs in Your remote learning classroom

As you think about all the back-to-school things, you need to do as a science teacher, are digital notebooks on your radar? Read to learn about four reasons to use DINBs or science digital interactive notebooks.

What is a Digital Interactive Notebook?

A digital interactive notebook or a DINB allows students to learn about a science concept using a digital tool. Students can have all the materials in one place to allow them to learn, practice, and demonstrate knowledge about the topic. Often, these activities have some interactive element to engage the student further. Interactive elements could include

  • movable pieces,
  • links to videos to reinforce learning,
  • insert pictures or illustrations, or
  • solve problems.

Four Reasons Why You Should Incorporate Digital Science Interactive Notebooks into Your Classroom


There are no worries about leaving the science notebook behind somewhere or losing it. As long as students have access to the Internet, they will be able to access their notebooks.


    One reason for using interactive science notebooks is that students use more than just their eyes to complete the activity. Students can access video links to help reinforce concepts, utilize movable pieces to help note their comprehension accuracy, and insert pictures to demonstrate understanding. Students can also create their own videos and insert a link. This option allows kinesthetic learners to get up and move around as they are learning.
    Another reason for the popularity of digital interactive notebooks is the color and visuals that they can provide. This increases the engagement of the resource because it is more appealing to students. Also, it can include detailed illustrations or diagrams that will better help students understand scientific concepts than a black and white photo. Insert digital sketch notes into your DINB to help increase the interactivity for your students.


    Using a digital interactive notebook allows differentiation to occur without bringing attention to how this is being done. It is effortless to distribute digital materials to your students using a learning management system such as Google Classroom or Schoology. It is difficult for students to view their classmates’ notebooks, allowing you to easily send differentiated materials to students who need more support or enrichment materials to push farther into learning the concept.
    I also like using digital interactive notebooks to embed screencasts of my lessons. Students can watch the screencasts as many times as necessary to fully comprehend the material. This also allows you to continue to keep all parts of your lesson in one area – helping with organization.
    Another positive aspect of using a digital notebook is that it allows you to use many digital tools that can help our students better understand concepts such as text to speech or speech-to-text programs like Google Read and Write or Microsoft Immersive Reader. In addition, students who have difficulty reading the information can now have it read to them without a teacher’s assistance. This helps to increase their independence and decrease their reliance on teacher guidance.


    One major gripe about interactive notebooks is the amount of paper wasted and time spent cutting and pasting resources into the notebook. While the activities can be engaging, sometimes there is not enough time to discuss what is being put into the notebook. Implementing a paperless, digital notebook gives more time for instruction or allows you to plan engaging activities or classroom discussions to reinforce the presented concepts.

Things to Consider Before Starting Your Digital Interactive Notebook:

    Start Small:

    You DO NOT need to be the fanciest teacher on the block, including Bitmoji classrooms and prettiest icons. Start simple and small until you get the hang of it. While these aspects are certainly eye-catching, they rarely bring educational elements to increase the activity’s comprehension. Often they are distractors. Even as an advanced tech person, I fall into the trap and waste precious minutes on stuff that is not really increasing the academic output for my students at the end of the day.

    Major Downfall:

    One aspect that does not have the best solution is that you cannot add to the science notebook once distributed to students. This is an obvious pitfall to a paper interactive notebook that can be added to at ease. There are some workarounds:
        If you are a Google Classroom user (I am not – so I am looking for a Schoology workaround), then it appears you can use the extension called Slip in Slide. If you created your digital notebook in Google Slides, which I think is the easiest method, then you can download the extension to add more slides or “pages” to your students. Please note: There are mixed reviews. I have not used this and do not have a class to test it, so proceed with caution. There is a fee but also a trial period to test it out before the purchase.
Using Chrome Web Store to download the Slip in Slide extension to use with DINBs
    My Schoology workaround: I start by cautioning that I know this is not the ideal solution; however, I am currently doing it. Teaching students organization, especially digital organizations, is vital as they continue implementing technology into their lives. Teaching them how to make folders for each subject in their Google Drive and then a folder for each unit within their subject folder should begin to be implemented into classrooms around the country at the beginning of the year. This will help students keep all materials in one place so that if they need to study for a test or receive new materials for a unit, they can easily be located and used. However, after teaching for 15+ years, I know this is much easier said than done!
Want to use digital interactive notebooks but don’t have the time or ability to create them? Check out my science DINBs to get you started by clicking here.
Should I start using digital interactive notebooks in my upper elementary grade 4 5 6 classroom
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