I can clearly remember the day my sixth-grade teacher began the unit on study skills. She broke out packages of notecards, pens, and planners. We learned how to organize tasks on projects, write outlines for research papers, and how to take notes. My own son, now in sixth grade, will not learn those skills in the same way. He has a planner, but he doesn’t use it, and taking notes is not something he does with notecards. Today’s students have so many tools available to them, notecards are all but obsolete.
Microsoft has taken one of my favorite tools—OneNote—and tailored it to the academic community with OneNote Class Notebook. OneNote might seem overwhelming to someone who isn’t well acquainted with it, but it can really be whatever its organizers create it to be.
There are three types of notebooks teachers can create to share course materials with students:
- Content Library allows a teacher to present materials in a view-only mode so that students are unable to alter content. The teacher can add videos, snips of Web materials for reading, and insert documents while easily including the source links.
- Class Notebook can be used as a collaboration space so teachers and students can collaborate, share, and organize assignments and projects. Teachers can create teacher-only sections that include notes and materials not available for students to view and switch back and forth between locked and unlocked content at any time, allowing students to edit only certain sections when it is appropriate.
- Student Notebooks can be shared privately between students and teachers so that students can take notes, do homework, access handouts, and take assessments while only being able to access their own materials. OneNote Class Notebook even features a math tab that allows students to use tablets or computers to show their work.
Students can create To Do lists, linking tasks to Outlook to help them break these large assignments into smaller, more manageable ones. They can separate or consolidate these tasks, as well as break out and feature important ones. They can also add questions and create check boxes so they can monitor and share progress with teachers. There is also the option to share a view-only link with parents, so they can see their child’s progress.
Microsoft even offers courses and interactive tutorials on how to manage and organize these notebooks for teachers who are concerned about the time and resources needed to learn a new application. Managing the notebooks is actually pretty simple once you get the hang of it, and it can help carry effective lesson plans from year to year. Plus, the customization options allow you to individualize instruction for students with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs).
In order to use OneNote Class Notebook, your school must have an Office 365 subscription that includes OneDrive for Business for both teachers and students. If you’re interested in what OneNote Class Notebook can bring to your classroom, reach out to your Connection Account Manager today to talk about Office 365. And be sure to check back next month, when I’ll discuss the accessibility features of OneNote Class Notebook and how it can help to personalize instruction for students with IEP goals.