OneNote Redefines Educational Apps: Part 2


We are half way along the list of ten ways to use OneNote as part of your first lesson of the year, and so far I am hoping that you can’t wait to finish the post so that you can get to work. OneNote is redefining educational apps due to its scope and possibilities. Educational apps like OneNote are rare, and with the rollout of Office 2016, OneNote will have even better features like the ability to embed videos from YouTube, Vimeo, Office Mix and Office 365 Video repository. But back to the first lesson of the year … (or to part 1 here if you haven’t read it)

This first lesson has a task that asks students to peruse the internet and locate five websites that are excellent primary sources of information for the topic. Plagiarism is a big problem amongst students, for many reasons. Often they are not disciplined enough to convert the extract into their own words or they lose track of the sites they have used and do not reference their sources correctly. Well Number Six can help here. When a student selects and copies text from the internet and then pastes it into their Notebook, the URL of the website is pasted underneath. And, with a click on ‘Date and Time’ via the Insert tab, you have a record of the site and when you accessed it. Teachers can ask for the original sources to be shown on one page of a Notebook and the original written text can be written on another page, making it easy to compare sources and the text written in the student’s own words.

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Number Seven is a nice one because you will be doing it and you won’t even notice it! OneNote constantly syncs the latest changes and makes these changes to the same OneNote Notebook that sits in the cloud. You do not have to save OneNote to keep your changes. If there is more than one person working (hey, Number Eight is Collaboration with a teaching partner), then the initials of each person will show next to the content that they have added. This is great because if you lose your computer, you will still have all your notes accessible by logging into Office 365 with your Microsoft account.

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OneNote also covers other types of operating systems, such as iOS and Android. So you can install the OneNote app on your phone, and access the latest version on the go. If you are offline and making changes, OneNote will sync when you are back online. If you are working on a Notebook at the same time as your partner, in different geographical locations, each of you will see the changes being made by the other person. It’s pretty cool.

So, your first lesson is drawing to a close and one of your students has just finished the task. You gave provide feedback to that child in a number of different ways (Number Nine). Access the page on your computer and circle an excellent anecdote using your stylus and the pick highlighter pen. Select a section with the mouse and highlight it in yellow. Type a text box next to it with further instructions to keep exploring that concept in more depth. Use your webcam to video yourself giving in depth feedback about authors and sources to consider when completing Part Two of the task. Add an audio voice over to the end of the text with some advice about subject-verb agreement. Attach a helpful image, screenshot, diagram or file using drag and drop or one-click buttons.

Now, if you are really lucky, you have the Office 2016 version of OneNote. This version allows for embedding of a YouTube or Office Mix video straight into the page. Not a link to the video, the actual video itself. This is a real breakthrough, and you can read more about the new features of OneNote for Office 2016 in this blog post by the OneNote team. Number Ten involves embedding a video teaser for the next lesson. Create a video using Office Mix, and use it to show what will be happening next lesson to build some anticipation and get the student’s prepare for some fun and engaging tasks.

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The reason why you should do this is because you are going to get your students to create an app with and Excel spread-sheet and a programme called Project Siena. In the next post of this series, you are taking it up a notch or five by empowering your students to create an app that delivers information about the concepts being studied in your class. Don’t be afraid. Excel and Siena do all the work for you!

This weeks guest post is from Matthew Jorgensen who is a Teacher Ambassador with the Microsoft Australia education team. Find Matthew on Twitter, @jorganiser, here.

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