The Future, Office 365 and OneNote

L21 new compassI am often asked about future trends in technology. What will be the next great piece of software or hardware? I don’t know. I try to keep up with tech trends but I don’t know what Apple, Microsoft, Google or the myriad of startups have up their sleeves. I don’t know if we’ll be using Word, OneNote or iMovie ten years from now. I am confident that we will be using software and hardware tools that help us communicate, collaborate, innovate and work globally. In other words, we will be using tools that help us use L21 skills.
There are a lot of sites and software tools that are geared to L21 skills. Sometimes it feels that there are too many. I can’t keep up with them all. That’s why ISB is implementing Microsoft’s Office 365.
Office 365 is far from perfect but it gives teachers and students opportunities to work in connected and collaborative ways–ways that help us get our work done and give students the opportunities they need to build and practice working in this way.
Microsoft is making changes to Office 365 all the time. Today I’d like to highlight two useful features available in OneNote–OneNote Web Clipper and Send Emails to OneNote.
Before I talk about the new features let me say that if you haven’t given OneNote a try, I suggest you do. It provides a familiar notebook interface into which teachers and students can place text, photos, videos and more. I can search through my notebooks much faster than I can search through folders of files. Also, I can use it on my Mac, iPhone or iPad and everything syncs between my devices automatically. I can start something on my iPhone when the inspiration hits me and finish it up later when I get back to my Mac.
OneNote Web Clipper is a browser extension that allows users to clip webpages. The clippings are automatically added to the user’s OneNote notebook. The clipping includes a link back to the page from which it was clipped.
This has great potential for research projects. Students can quickly clip pages or parts of pages for later use. Obviously, we don’t want students to just copy and paste information into a document and call it a research project but for quickly and seamlessly gathering information, OneNote is great!
Personally I used OneNote to research my recent trip to Vietnam. I grabbed information on places to go and things to do. Because OneNote syncs to all my devices, when I got to Vietnam I had it where I needed it–on my phone!
Office Lens is another handy OneNote tool. It’s a smartphone app that syncs with OneNote. It’s like having a scanner in your pocket. Here’s how it works. You snap a photo of a document or notes on a whiteboard. Office Lens will crop, enhance and sync the image with your OneNote notebook. It’s available for iPhones, Android and Windows phones. Many of our older students have smartphones in their pockets. Office Lens can help them capture notes on a whiteboard and sync them into their OneNote notebooks.
Finally, Office 365 is changing all the time. If you’re keen to keep abreast of the changes to OneNote specifically, I suggest you follow the OneNote in Education blog.

Microsoft OneNote and Classroom Notebook

By Rob Cormack
This place is busy. There is never a dull moment at ISB. Come to school on a weekday evening or a Saturday morning and something will be happening–usually many things! It’s hard to keep it all straight. Time management guru and author of Getting Things Done David Allen recommends that we write everything down–don’t busy our brains trying to remember a million things, offload them. Write them down. This is where Microsoft’s OneNote can help.
OneNote is a digital notebook. Like a paper notebook it can have multiple pages and like a paper notebook it can add dividers so pages can be grouped by theme or topic. For example, I have a section entitled “meetings.” (It’s pretty full!)
Unlike a paper notebook you can easily add photos, videos, voice memos and other audio to a Notebook. I see lots of uses for OneNote. It’s great for keeping track of meeting notes or planning a presentation. It would be a great way to keep track of anecdotal notes about students. Notes that can include photos and short video clips!
There are free mobile versions of OneNote available too. I have it installed on my laptop, my iPhone and my iPad. All my notes sync seamless between my devices. I’m often struck with an idea while away from my desk. With OneNote I can pull out my phone and quickly jot it down. Now I’m not the most thumb coordinated typist but that doesn’t matter. A note started on my phone can be finished up when I get back to my Mac.
OneNote is great for research. There are extensions for Chrome, Safari and Firefox which makes it easy to copy clips from webpages directly to a notebook. All clippings are marked with the website url which helps when referencing one’s sources. It’s a real time saver.
Notebooks can be shared which makes a powerful collaborative space for groups to work. Students working on a project can create a notebook for their research notes, to-do lists, or outlines. Imagine a group of students working on a film project. Their notebook could contain their initial notes, shot lists and drafts of their script. The iPad version allows one to draw with a stylus so the students could use it to sketch out the lighting plan for a scene. There are lots of possibilities.
Microsoft’s Class Notebook is a powerful variant of a notebook. A Class Notebook has all the features of a regular notebook but it’s tweaked so a teacher can set up one shared notebook that the entire class can use. It comes organised with three main sections and the teacher can customise it further. It’s kind of like a one notebook to rule them all thing. Here’s how it works.
A teacher creates a class notebook and adds his/her students to it. From there the software creates a shared Class Notebook which contains three main sections–a Content Library, a Collaborative Section and a Student Section.
Teachers can post material to the Content Library. PDFs, photos, diagrams, Word documents or links to websites can all be placed in it. The Content Library is read-only for students but they can copy pages from it.
As the name suggests the Collaborative Space is a section where all students can create pages and sections. Its useful for things like group projects or as a place for student created notes.
The third section is the individual Student Section. Students complete their work in it. They see only their pages in this section of the notebook but the teacher has access to all student work. It’s quick and easy for a teacher to check the students’ progress. Gone is the need for students to hand in drafts of their work. A teacher can easily see a student’s work and offer feedback.
There’s a lot of potential for OneNote and Class Notebook. There will be a session on Class Notebook at our upcoming November 6th TTT session and the EdTech Facilitators will be offering Small Bytes sessions on both OneNote and Class Notebook in the near future. Watch for them.
In the meantime, Microsoft has lots of good resources online that I’ll list below. It will take some time to get to know OneNote and Class Notebook but you’ll find it a worthwhile investment of your time.


OneNote for Teachers
OneNote in Education Blog

Collaboration with Office 365

I’m a little ashamed to admit this but I’m really excited about Office 365. I know it seems nerdy to be excited about a word processor and spreadsheet. Microsoft Word is not exactly a game changer. It’s not “cutting edge” innovation.
Now before you think I’m like the PC Guy in this old Apple ad, let me explain that I’m not really excited about a word processor. In fact, I use whatever word processor I have that will get the job done. What excites me about Office 365 is the collaboration it enables. Students and teachers can now share and work collaboratively in a very seamless way. That’s a game changer and that’s what I find exciting!
The case has been made for many years that our students need to learn to work collaboratively. Most of us don’t need to be convinced of this. We get it. Like the age old adage says, “two heads are better than one.” There are many complex challenges facing our world. We need people that can work together in order to deal with them. Our students need to be ready for this. Office 365 is one step towards getting them ready.
The EdTech Facilitators will be offering a TTT on Office 365 in September. If you don’t want to wait until then to get started, log in at with your school email address and password. I recommend you first click on “OneDrive” to set up your storage space. After that I recommend you checkout the online versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint. You’ll find they make sharing and working on documents with students and other teachers pretty straightforward.
Finally, here’s a little nerd inspiration for you!

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