This time last year Wymondham High Academy was just at the point of trialling Office 365, as the Head of IT Strategy I was still finding my way around the school site, and trying to remember names and faces. A year later and Office 365 has been embedded along with Yammer to 1600 + students, Teachers have begun to embrace the flexibility of working in the cloud, the ability to move documents in between devices without it changing layouts !
We have also in that year deployed Windows 8.1 to more than 700 school computers, deployed over 200 Surface devices, and added a sustainable BYOD element into school life!, that can really be described as the easy part!. Now the school is well on the way to its goal of embedding the use of technology in the classroom for the benefit of teachers, (making their life easier, working to improve good working practice in the classroom) and students, (understanding the technology, its use and how to benefit from key skills such as communication, collaboration and sharing).
One of the big players here has been the adoption of OneNote 2013, which I can guarantee is the one piece of software people have never heard of, but trust me it can be a real game changer in your school. The latest iteration as a SharePoint app The OneNote Class Notebook Creator can literally ‘blow your mind’ as an educator with its potential in schools.
So what exactly is it?
OneNote Class Notebook Creator allows you to create a whole class notebook, with content library, collaboration pages, and student notebooks, in one document! The real beauty about this is students only see the content library (resources from the teacher), the collaboration space (sharing ideas) and only their own notebook. So students use the notebook as if it is their own, can copy information from the teachers resource pages, do homework, and the teacher has global access to all the student notebooks and with the power of OneNote can leave feedback on students work in a variety of manners (audio, video, annotation etc).
Going from Zero to OneNote Hero!
School Principal Russell Boulton has been one of the early adopters of OneNote Class Notebook Creator at Wymondham with his Year 7 Science group. Up until two weeks ago Russell would admit he knew of but didn’t use OneNote. After a short session with us, literally 30 mins, Russell then an created his first Class Notebook and shared it with his teaching group on Yammer, our enterprise social network.
Class Notebook has been a catalyst for me to introduce Flipped Learning into this terms topic. I have uploaded some video’s into OneDrive for Business and created a sharing link, embedded that into the content library in the Class Notebook so students have access to those resources. Part of the homework this week was to watch the video’s at home (or where ever they are connected to the internet). So we can get down to the task in the classroom and maximise the learning time.
We have an active group on Yammer for my Year 7 science, and this is a great place to share access to the Class Notebook, also students use it as a discussion point and can help each other out if there is a problem.
The great thing is I can also look into the Student Notebook and see how work is progressing at any time, and with OneNote on my Surface I can leave video feedback instantaneously if I wish. These are early days but we see the potential and how to deliver learning in a more exciting way for students and am sure, this will develop further.
How easy is it to get started?
After installing the Class Notebook Creator into your Office 365 site then its a case of launching the app from your site.
As you can see Class Notebook creator is now an app in your page, and you can now run it directly.
Here is how simple it is to get up and running.
First of all launch the app and you will be offered the opportunity to create a new Class Notebook, you also have the option of adding other students to existing books here also.
So select Create a Class Notebook, this will take you to the next screen.
Add the name for your Notebook Science Period 2 Wednesday’s makes it easy for student to find if they have multiple OneNote open. Click Next.
This screen shows you the construction of your Notebook. You can rename the Collaboration Space and Content Library if you need to. Click Next.
Add your students name individually or paste them from a CSV. This sets up the correct number of Student Spaces.
Decide what goes in the Student Space, these are just standard examples, but you can configure this for your own way of teaching. Click Next.
Lastly you will see a Preview of the Notebook – make sure your happy with it or amend the structure – the choice is yours. Click Create to create your Notebook.
What happens next?
As on Office 365, you now get presented with a sharing URL giving access to the document, with the permissions set so student only see their own space and both the content and collaboration spaces. This is available on any internet connected device, so can be leveraged pretty much anywhere.
You can now post the URL into SharePoint or email it, we generally post it Yammer our social feed which is heavily used in school.
Are you an Office 365 user?
Simply add the app from the SharePoint store to get started. If your not an Office 365 user try Office 365 free for 30 days at http://office365.com
In summary OneNote is a much under utilised tool in the Office suite on its own. Its feature rich and empowering for both teachers and students. Class Notebook Creator takes this to the next level of utilising 21st century skills in the classroom and of course is free.