MIEE stories – collaborating with Yammer and using OneNote to engage absent students


The following is a guest post by Gerald Haigh.

Prevented by an irritating illness from attending BETT 2015 for anything more than a brief visit on the Saturday morning, I instead spent some time looking up some of the work of the Microsoft Innovative Educator Experts ( MIEE ) who were installed in their roles at the Showcase Schools event at Microsoft’s London office on 5th December.

MIEE Event - group

They have not, to say the least, been idle over what is quite a short time when you take away the Christmas break and associated non-curricular diversions. The evidence lies in the MIEE group’s Twitter accounts, vlogs and, particularly in their Yammer group which, in itself, is visible evidence of Yammer’s potential as disseminator of creative ideas. It’s clear that group members are ready to share, learn and collaborate.

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I noticed, particularly, huge interest in using OneNote in the classroom, increasingly with the Class Notebook Creator. Christopher Jones of Cornwallis Academy, for example is clearly pushing the boundaries – in late January he asks,

‘Has anyone tried sharing One Note notebooks with large groups of students ie whole year group and probably 90 students all uploading photos at once- any tips or potential pitfalls?’

And James Protheroe, ICT Leader at Darran Park Primary writes,

‘Busy afternoon learning how to use OneNote and Class Creator to deliver a class project – What a Wonderful World. Really impressed with how much it can do and how easy it is to use.’

OneNote-Class-1

I was interested, too, in a post from Natalie Lochhead, a teacher at Kirklandneuk Primary in Renfrewshire. When Natalie realised that one of her Primary Three children was going to be away from school for several months, she set about making sure that he wasn’t left out – and the answer, naturally, was to use OneNote, bringing to life the concept of anytime/anywhere learning and collaboration.

I phoned Natalie to find out a bit more.

‘We’ll be starting on a topic on The Vikings and he was going to miss all that, but with OneNote he’ll be able to access the work and join in the research.’

Just as important as keeping up with the work, though is contact with classmates and friends. As Natalie says,

‘He’s missing his friends more than anything, so they’ll be using the Newsfeed to chat with him.’

It’s early days with this innovative use of One Note, but the absent student’s parents are keen and fully involved and we’ll all be interested to see how things develop over the term. I’m sure Natalie will keep us updated. She’s becoming a keen vlogger and this one, on OneNote in Primary 3 passes on some good classroom tips as well as demonstrating huge and infectious enthusiasm as her seven-year olds become adept and excited about OneNote:


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