OneNote has been described as one of Microsoft’s best kept secrets in education, because it’s a tool that most teachers and students find incredibly useful…once they’ve seen it. The challenge is that many, many people haven’t used it simply because they didn’t know it existed - either because nobody’s shown it to them, or because their IT team didn’t install it on their computer (despite the fact that virtually every version of Office has included OneNote for quite some time). I’d be pretty confident that most education customers have licences for OneNote already, and it’s also been included with Office Home & Student since Office 2007 came out. And now we have OneNote for iPad too!
One of the clever things with OneNote is the way that you can sync files automatically between computers and between users - sharing OneNote notebooks between people is a simple click in the File menu. So it is great for sharing class notes, homework, lesson plans, quizzes and revision notes. For those teachers who’ve discovered OneNote, and discovered what it’s capable of, I’ve often seen a zealous enthusiasm that’s infectious!
Earlier in 2011, we released a version of OneNote for the iPod, that allowed you to sync the text of your OneNote notebooks to your iPod and iPhone. It was a good way of sharing notes with students, or having a To-Do list or other notes shared across devices.
OneNote for iPad and iPod released
Overnight we’ve announced the availability of a new version of OneNote for iPad, and an updated version of OneNote for iPod and iPhone. So now you can have OneNote on your iOS devices, and have an application for notes and sharing that works across a range of devices:
- Windows PCs
- Macs (through the web version)
- Windows Phone
- And via a web-browser with Office Web Apps on other devices
And by using your free 25GB of SkyDrive storage (if you haven’t already got one, or haven’t had it through your Live@edu account, then you can just sign up for one online) you can sync your notes across all the different versions. And you can also choose to share your files with other people - whether that’s just a small group of colleagues, or a group of students, or just published online for anybody to see.
Whereas the first version of OneNote on iPod was completely free, as more features have been added the model has changed a little bit, with a free entry-level product, and then an option to buy as you extend its use (what’s known in the software world as the freemium model). This means that you can use up to 500 notes, and then upgrade to the full version as you use it more. (And if you don’t want to upgrade to the unlimited version you can still view and sync notebooks to your iPad/iPod/iPhone, but can’t credit new ones or edit existing ones). This means that as a teacher, you could share classroom notes, homework, revision materials and lesson plans with your students without them having to pay for OneNote for their iPad/iPod unless they were going to be editing lots of notebooks. They would only need to buy it if they wanted to use it for themselves for editing notebooks.
So how could you use OneNote on iPad, iPod, the web and on your PC for teaching and learning?
Give me half an hour, and I’m going to write up a description of Here's an idea of how this could be used by a teacher to make their teaching easier, share more information with their students, and support out of school learning.
In the meantime, go and download the app!