OneNote in the Classroom: Practical Guide to Task Management & Creating Shared Resources

Second in a series of guest posts from Adrian Edgar, Independent Education Consultant. Director of ICT and SMT at Culford School for 7 Years.

In the first part of this blog post series, I went through the process pupils should use to set up the Homework Library and how they assigned the necessary permissions for a teacher to contribute.

Of course, any document the student drops in to that library will now inherit those properties, allowing for a greater level of scrutiny and collaboration. At my last school, we found it useful for pupils to use that library as their “work in progress” area. So they can access their work from any internet connection and make use of the web app versions of all the Office products they need.

One of the key benefits for pupils is the fact that where ever they access the work, via any browser environment, the learning platform is the same irrespective of location. No need to adapt their applications or work patterns to suit home access or school, or indeed on the move via mobile devices.

Those of you familiar with the backstage view in Office 2010 will have no doubt spotted the option to save directly to a SharePoint location.


We found that it doesn’t take long for pupils to get in to the habit of adding tags to their documents and saving to their document area on My Sites. Pupils find the ability to search for their work by key words really useful, particularly six weeks in to a term when they can’t remember what they called their document.

Microsoft OneNote 2010 allows us to take the process one step further by setting up a synchronised share between the locally stored notebook and the version available on the shared library.

Teachers and pupils have used this feature in several subjects as a means of collaboration and assessment.

Here’s how we set up the synchronised routine.



1. Create the new notebook in OneNote and store in your preferred location. We prefer to save to the pupil’s network drive first and then synchronised to SharePoint. You could just as easily go the opposite way and save to SharePoint directly.

2. OneNote will create the new notebook and create a folder in your My Documents / One Note Notebooks folder with the same name.

Useful tip:

In the Microsoft example for One Note, the graphic shows a student creating one Notebook with a Section heading for each subject and Pages for each unit of work.


Very quickly pupils and teachers found this too restrictive. They quickly decided to rotate the diagram anticlockwise one step.

  • Create a notebook for each subject displayed down the left hand side
  • Create a section within the notebook for each unit of work
  • Create pages in each section as the pupil progresses through the unit of work

Creating the Shared Resource

Once created the process of sharing the notebook to My Sites is very simple.


1. Select the notebook you wish to share

2. Open the SharePoint library and copy the URL

3. Back in OneNote go to the File Menu and select Share

4. Select the option to share on the Network and paste the URL but remove the last section. (Forms/AllItems.aspx)

5. Click on Share Notebook to complete the process


6. One Note will set up the synchronisation process and create an email message providing details of the share.




7. The notebook is now available using OneNote on the local machine or the web application via a browser of the user’s choice.


Linking to Outlook Tasks.

Now that the teacher has access rights to the pupil’s notebook, it is possible to set up a scenario where the teacher opens a copy for each pupil in the class. One Note will provide a great way of keeping all the pupils workbooks in one place.


In this example you can see the teacher has their own notebook open at the top which they use to create the content template and the rest of the class open underneath.

This enables the teacher to simply create a piece of work in the template folder, assign a task and copy the page to each pupil.  


1. In the example below you will see the teacher has inserted an Outlook task set for Next Week (Ctrl+Shift+4)

2. Now click on Open Task in Outlook to get the following familiar window where you can add the recipients of the task.


3. Of course, once you set this Outlook task it will appear in your calendar and those of the pupils in the group so there is no way to forget this work has been set.

4. Once the pupil finishes the homework task and marks the flag as complete, you will receive an email from the pupil telling you they have finished.

In the final part of this post, I’ll demonstrate some of the useful settings we’ve changed in One Note to aid assessment and collaboration.

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