Four seasons ago we started off with a traditional binder bound engineering lab notebook where we kept our meeting entries and plans. After quite a bit of research we found an online word processing application called Zoho. Unfortunately, Zoho didn't allow us to work with images and drawings as we wanted, so we later stumbled upon Google Drive, then "Docs", another free web-based word processing application. Drive allowes us to insert and resize images directly from Flickr, create drawings, and format our text just how we wanted. Recently Drive introduced a “collaboration” feature that allows all team members to simultaneously edit documents while viewing live changes. Best of all, Drive is free to use and provides plenty of storrage for hundreds of hours worth of meeting notations.

In Drive, we created a template that can easily be used to create a new document every meeting. The template includes the FIRST required components including Task/Reflection table, team number, date, page number, meeting number, and footer table. In the spirit of gracious professionalism, we have created a public copy of the template for teams to use for their own engineering lab notebook.

While text documentation is a crutial component of recording the engineering journey, pictures and drawings are invaluable in presenting concepts and results to judges, fellow team members and teams. Using the Flickr Mobile application for smartphones, each team member of our team takes pictures of their work through meetings which automatically upload to the team's Flickr page which contains over 11,000 photos from our five seasons together. We can organize pictures into sets for each meeting, and copy them directly into Drive for our engineering notebook.

 

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View 2012-13 Engineering Lab Notebook

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