OneNote In Classroom

If you haven’t heard of OneNote, it’s time you did.  It’s often been described as a “digital 3-ring binder” because it’s a great resource for storing all your digital information.  While that is true, it doesn’t capture just how full-featured OneNote has become over the years.  When you add the capabilities of Office Lense to the mix, you have a powerful learning framework that can really help simplify teaching in your classroom.

Here are 7 ways OneNote and Office Lense can help you in your classroom.

Keep Track of Everything You Need

OneNote was built around the idea that people should be able to capture just about any digital data and easily retrieve it.  That means you have a lot of flexibility in just how you can organize your Pages and Sections – you can make it fit your style.

If you don’t like to take time to organize, you can throw everything into one section and be done with it.  Others use either time based (e.g., Week 1, Week 2) or Lesson-based (Chapter 1, Chapter 2, etc.) organization systems.  Regardless of what you decide, you be confident that you’ll be able to easily find your information later because of the tagging/searching capability.

Tagging and Searching – Find Everything

Here’s the real beauty of OneNote in my mind.  You can search all your notes.  If you know what you are likely to want to search on, you can add tags to documents to speed up the process later.  If not, OneNote has some exceptional Optical Character Recognition (OCR) built-in.

What’s that mean? OneNote can search not only your text but handwritten notes as well! In my past career, I would sometimes have 4 meetings a day that I would need to take notes – notes I’d eventually need to refer to a few months down the line.  Once I discovered OneNote, I’d simply take a picture of my handwritten notes with Office Lens and import them into OneNote.   From that day on, I never had issues keeping track of my meeting notes.

Use Office Lens + OneNote, Save Resources and Go Paperless

Office Lens is an app for your phone that allows you to take pictures of papers, notes and other data and import it into OneNote. (You can also export the data into other formats).  Instead of making photocopies of your handouts, you can share them through OneNote notebooks electronically.   No longer are you beholden to the whims of the copier!

When a teacher uses the OneNote Class Notebook, it becomes even easier to go nearly-paperless.  We’ll talk more about that in the next section.

Content Collaboration and Sharing

When students buy-in to using OneNote, note-taking goes from a solo to a group activity.  For example, teachers can look at their students notes en masse  and see if the classroom as a whole is grasping what concepts you want to teach.  You can also identify individual students that might need some extra time or support to help learn the lesson.

Notebooks can be made available on any connected device if you so choose.  Your own notes and work aren’t tied down to a particular operating system or location – and neither are your students.  This can help students that are learning both in and outside of a traditional classroom. They don’t need to remember a physical notebook anymore – all their work can be in a OneNote notebook.

Presenting Content

Notebooks can store both audio and video along with text.  That means you can record notes and short videos for your students and make them available in notebooks for future review.  Think of what a godsend this can be for a student that simply needs more time spent with a concept to master the skill.

You have great flexibility when choosing how you wish to present information. In a live classroom setting, you can draw on a screen, type info, record your voice, take clippings of web pages – there are so many ways to customize your presentation to meet your student’s needs.

Allowing Flexible Teaching Styles

As Tom Grissom put it in his OneNote article,

There are many things to manage in the classroom and OneNote lets the teacher decide upon the best pedagogy to use for a given situation. OneNote allows for easy review of older material and provides multiple methods for formative feedback in the moment that it is most effective.Tom Grissom, Ph.D.

It’s really easy to review older lessons, but it’s easy to add new content as well.  Notebooks are also helpful in personalizing instruction to the individual – I think it would be a great tool in managing flipped classrooms.

Capture Whiteboards

Let’s say you are looking for an easy, quick way to test out OneNote in your classroom.  Start by using Office Lens to “screen capture” your whiteboard.  You can then share each days work as a tab in a subject of a notebook, and students will have an easy way to look back and review what you covered in class.

It’ll take you maybe 2 mins a day to start this.  See if it helps you or your students in their learning journey.  More likely than not, you’ll get a feel for how powerful OneNote can be in your classroom.

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