Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Tuesday Tech Tip: Noteworthy Collaboration with OneNote & Class Notebook

While we use Google Apps heavily in CCSD, our district has access to Office 365 as well, which also provides an entire suite of online collaborative tools for students & staff.  In addition to familiar apps like Word & PowerPoint Online, Office 365 gives us even more collaborative possibilities with OneNote and Class Notebook.

Worth a mention: kids already have access to Office 365 and can use all of these apps on a Chromebook. Staff users can currently access Office 365 through my.cherrycreekschools.org.

So what makes OneNote worth, well, noting?  Why would we choose OneNote when we already have Google Apps?
  • Organize, curate, & create content in one spot:  an online digital notebook with different color-coded tabs or sections and unlimited pages give students a better way to interact with multiple files, pages, and multimedia content than we currently have with Google Drive.
  • Insert Recorded Audio directly into pages:  you can record audio anywhere in OneNote, and if you're using the free software on Mac/PC, you can also record your webcam.  We don't have a native way currently to insert audio into Google Apps.
  • Insert Elements into a Page (Anywhere):  the ability to upload files, insert images, add video or text boxes anyplace in a page makes this a very flexible tool.  We can add images in Google Docs, but we are restricted in the layout, and we can't insert other file types (like PDF) right into the Doc.
  • Auto Filtered Image Search:  the online image search is already strictly filtered for safe content and copyright usage when in OneNote.  A Google image search doesn't always filter out the inappropriate stuff and you have to change the setting to find copyright-free options.
  • Tasks or Checklists:  checklist options for keeping track of tasks or to-do lists are built into OneNote.  Google offers Google Keep, but it isn't embedded into the other apps, which isn't great for students who are doing projects or multiple steps or self-evaluations.
  • Adding Drawing or Handwriting onto Pages:  You can freely draw or handwrite using a touch-enabled device (or the free app for iOS and Android).  We don't yet have a good option for student drawings in Google Apps for iOS or Android, nor do we currently have a way for a teacher to provide handwritten feedback.

OneNote Class Notebook

While you can create individual or personal notebooks in OneNote, teachers can also create a class notebook that contains individual sections for each student, a Collaboration Space for the class to work together, and a Content Library for read-only content.

Teachers decide when setting up the notebook which sections to put into each student's area, and other sections can be added or pushed later.

Students see only their own section, the Collaboration Space, and the Content Library, but teachers can see all student sections, can provide digital worksheets for students, and can give feedback on the student pages.  For those using mobile or touch-enabled devices, you can draw directly on the pages.

Possible uses in the classroom:
  • journals or reading logs where all entries are collected in one place 
  • pages where students can record themselves thinking through a problem, reading text aloud, or interviewing each other (video recording is an option using a PC or Mac, but audio can be captured on the web)
  • snapshots of student work for digital sharing and peer review
  • project notebooks to track group work, tasks, and ideas/notes
  • multimedia pages built by students to support background knowledge for new units or concepts
  • a collaborative written or audio storybook with drawings and images (drawing requires using the tablet app or a touch interface)
  • a virtual binder for different subjects or content areas that can be used throughout the year
Class Notebook also can integrate directly with Schoology.  If added in a Schoology course, students will be added to the notebook automatically when first accessing it.  If using OneNote on a Mac or PC with the free plug-in, a teacher can also create & send assignments or pages to students.  Very handy!

We have many great tools for collaboration in CCSD.  If your students could benefit from having organized pages and sections along with options for audio & drawing, OneNote is definitely noteworthy!  To learn more and/or get started, check out the OneNote in Education Blog and the OneNote for Teachers site.

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