OneNote in Education eBook – Chapter 8: OneNote for the teacher and administrator - OneNote Staff Notebook


Over the past few weeks, we have been exploring our OneNote in Education eBook through a series of blog posts which delve into the individual chapters in more detail. The eBook was created with the help of Emma Hicks, a #MIEExpert, and explores the ways in which teaching and learning can be enhanced through the use of OneNote in the classroom.

 We have now reached the last in the series, which looks at how OneNote helps teachers organise their time and manage their workload through the use of OneNote Staff Notebook. The first seven chapters can be found here:

Chapter 1: What is OneNote?
Chapter 2: OneNote Class Notebook
Chapter 3: OneNote for collective learning
Chapter 4: Assessment for learning
Chapter 5: OneNote for peer assessment
Chapter 6: Independent Learning
Chapter 7: OneNote for providing invaluable feedback

Chapter 8: OneNote for the teacher and administrator - OneNote Staff Notebook

OneNote for a one of a kind organisation

OneNote has made organisation easy and enjoyable. I have used OneNote to take notes at my meetings linked to my Outlook diary, including all the necessary information like attendees and agenda. With OneNote these are stored, accessible and structured chronologically for when I need to refer back to them. If I want to share notes with other staff I can conveniently send them a link to the notebook where the notes from the meeting are displayed or email the page, if there are lagging OneNote adopters in my meeting group. Alternatively, an audio function is available for me to record the key messages and information, linked directly to any other notes transcribed as I am recording. This has been an invaluable tool when on the go, and myself and my colleagues have often found listening back to key points from meetings just as effective if not more so when organising faculty actions.

Creating and storing lesson plans on OneNote enables the teacher to organise their resources and lessons into their own digital goldmine. Just like on standard word processing devices lesson plan templates can be created and edited so that I can scribble or type my ideas quickly. These templates provide me with a visual of the direction and aims of lessons as we move towards an exam or controlled assessment. However by storing and creating lesson plans on OneNote these plans can be accessed on any device at any time, by any member of staff who may need them. Resources can be attached to each lesson and the ease in which to flick through previous lessons from the scheme allows me to know exactly where my students are, where they need to go and most importantly how they are going to best get there. Teaching is a full time profession and inspiration for lesson tasks are found at all times and often in the least convenient places. OneNote’s accessibility allows those moments of inspiration to be documented, shared and stored instantly on the lesson template anytime, anywhere.

Whole staff CPD sessions are becoming more regular and more dynamic and with teaching now firmly embedded in evidenced performance based pay Microsoft’s OneNote becomes the easy to access, easy to use archive that teachers need. I have stored and shared my CPD experiences and resources from valuable sessions and have clear and structured evidence that I am developing as a professional and working towards my performance targets. OneNote isn’t the only way that teachers can store these resources but being instantly accessible, easily navigated and searchable, whilst being highly reliable with its cloud based back up, OneNote allows me to utilise training resources and rest assured that my hard work is safe.

The OneNote workload

As a teacher I found myself craving software that would help me control my workload. It is too easy to feel overwhelmed by a to-do list and to find that the relationship between your work life and your social life is taking the unwanted and unfair swing the wrong way. Unfortunately, OneNote is not a magician and cannot magic away your workload, but it can help dramatically cut down on the administrative and organisational time lost. It is that simple. Using Microsoft OneNote will save you time. The tool is convenient, simple and accessible due to its availability on all devices. OneNote puts the teacher back in control and away from an office desk decorated in colourful sticky notes. Everything I need is in one manageable place and I can work at a time that suits me. I am no longer reliant upon accessing the office or staff room to collect my class work. In fact with classwork saved digitally I could have all of my students marking in my pocket without the need to carry my class books in boxes to the car. My workload instantly feels metaphorically and physically lighter allowing me to go home at a weekend with less of a sore back and heavy heart.

Class Notebook inspires a Staff Notebook!

The success of the Class Notebook brought to light that education needs collaboration and digital organisation to enhance the education of our students. Staff Notebook caters to these needs for the educator, the administrator and the leaders within education. The nature of OneNote encourages teachers to share resources in its easily accessible digital space. Links to lesson plans, meeting notes and training that staff have undergone can be placed in one shared space, making it easier and more effective for staff and schools to share good practice. Staff Notebook makes it easier to share the experiences of CPD and with members of your department and the wider school. Some schools are even beginning to archive and share their lead practitioners’ lesson observations for training purposes, highlighting key areas such as questioning within lessons. This is where Staff Notebook provides its greatest opportunities allowing all staff to collaborate, share ideas, examples of good practice and support one another in a consistent whole school approach to teaching.

OneNote Staff Notebook

Microsoft’s OneNote Staff Notebook is structured in such a way that all members of staff from support to head teacher can benefit and contribute to it. Like a Class Notebook, Staff Notebook has the same structure of both shared and private spaces. In what can feel like a high paced and frantic environment, the chance to share ideas with colleagues in schools can often pass you by, despite us all knowing the importance and value of such conversations. Staff Notebook ensures that the worthwhile and valuable messages, practices and resources are shared and accessible to all members of staff and allows the school to be consistent in its approach to education. Staff Notebook provides a three layered approach to this collaborative effort.

The individual, private space

The individual space is your personalised section of the notebook. Curriculum and pastoral leaders can contribute to these spaces with essential materials such as sections for pastoral notes, performance management and even a space specific to their individual role within the school, but the space is essentially yours to do as you please and can be edited to suit your individual roles and needs. One way in which I have used this space in collaboration with my pastoral leaders, was to update a pupil behaviour tracker for students in my form who were on behaviour report. This allows me to see the students in the year group who are on report promoting a consistent approach, but also allows the pastoral leaders to have an up to date and easily accessible document with all relevant information such as student performance and tutor contact home. The importance of liaising with staff regarding pupil behaviour is clear, but OneNote Staff Notebook makes this process hassle-free and instant.

The collaboration space

The collaboration space is an area that is designed to be accessed and updated by all members of staff. This area really does strengthen the cooperation and communication across a whole school, but can also be created for individual departments, pastoral and support groups. The notebook offers a shared area for teachers to contribute towards resources, schemes of learning and discussions and can be used as an information archive or as live working documents, like meeting notes and shared initiatives. The collaboration space is a brilliant way to store and share departmental resources and lesson plans as well as any other documents that require staff input. The collaboration space can be a whole school area allowing school wide communication and input but are often ran or organised by pastoral and curriculum leaders with areas for individual staff input, once again strengthening the communication across a body of staff. The key to the collaboration space is that it allows and encourages individual staff input whilst remaining a structured and formal environment often dictated by senior members of staff. Using a collaboration space ensures that all staff have a voice, can contribute to and challenge information that they see and most importantly all work together in a consistent and universal manner to provide the best service for their students.

The content library

This space is essentially the information hub of the school and provides you with easy and instant access anywhere, anytime to anything that has been deemed important or necessary by the creators of the page. This could be faculty-based, pastoral or school- wide with open access for members of staff to view and share the important documents and information. Policy documents, information packs and other key school documents can be stored and accessed by staff in a quick and easy manner. Working examples of the content library include accessing minutes from staff briefings and meetings, preparation for CPD sessions and staff induction packs for new staff members to name a few. Unlike the individual and collaborative spaces, the content library is not designed to be edited on mass by members of staff but to be an easily accessible and central location for what is deemed as important and necessary information by senior members of staff.

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For more information on Staff Notebook and guidance on how to create a Staff Notebook please visit: onenote.com/staffbookedu

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