Skip to main content

The #OneNote Grand Tour - Evolving Questions

So while my hometown undergoes a rare March Break blizzard, I'm enjoying 13C and sun in beautiful Edinburgh. It's quite enjoyable to be relaxing in a coffee shop watching the Scottish go about their daily tasks while I get caught up on emails, blogs, tweets and the like.  (Don't worry, I was a tourist yesterday).
Today I start my school visits and so before I head out, I thought I'd best outline my curiosity.

When we laid out the initial structure of the OneNote, there's no question it was pushing on continuous feedback -- we wanted a way of taking advantage of digital ink, audio and video to support student learning both while in the classroom space but especially when the students are not physically present.  We are a very active school with extracurriculars (sports, service, international travel) that it was important to be able to engage students in the formative cycle even if they couldn't be present in class.  So, one of my questions will be "How has OneNote affected your feedback to students?"

After the ability to use digital ink, OneNote allowing students to interact & work offline was the second reason we chose OneNote over GoogleDocs.  That also played into our first reason - if students aren't at school, if they're in transportation, if they're in locations with little or no wifi, can they still be actively engaged with both my content (as teacher) and their earlier content (as learners).  OneNote gives that easily.  Once it's in the Notebook, it's there to stay and anything new syncs up as soon as you find wifi again, in exactly the right place.  And both students and teacher have (respective) control over their space and access to all kinds of digital content (and digital forms of physical content).  That prompts another question for me: "How has OneNote affected your teaching & learning content?"

And since good things come in threes, my third question is one that vexes us at Appleby College.  "Where do we go from here?"  This goes beyond OneNote, of course -- although their first response will likely be what they want to be added to OneNote. While it's all well-and-good to be transfixed by Hololens and to be astounding by the seemingly predictive power of data analytics (my two favourite next-steps in education), classroom teachers recognize that there's a big gap between the marketing and the reality, in terms of time, money and implementation.  So what do those folks on the ground want and feel they need when it comes to technology?

My last question is more personal: "How have you changed as an educator?"  My own journey is commingled with OneNote, digital ink, PCMI, and the wise guidance of my colleagues.  How are others evolving? What is prompting their ongoing evolution? And what are the pain points?


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Escape Room / BreakOut in OneNote

[[Part 2 of this article is here: Link]]

So when I was visiting Anna in Edinburgh during March Break, she showed me how she used Password-Protected OneNote sections within the OneNote ClassNotebook to help students check their work -- she set the password to the correct answer, so they knew they had it right when the Section opened up.

I figured I could use this for Math Review, so I set aside a couple of hours (turned out to be 3 hours but a fair chunk of that was solution-time) the other night to put an Exam Review together for my Grade 10 Mathematics course.  I pulled together as many multiple choice questions and short answer questions on the topics as I could Google and tried to balance each Section with a mix of topics and then threw in a couple of pop-culture questions, too.  The students worked on the problems in each section and used the answers as passwords to unlock the next section until they got to the Prize section.
Result?  Near total continual engagement for the 60 min…

Teacher Professional Development and Microsoft OneNote

During the first three weeks of July, I have the amazing opportunity to work at the Park City Mathematics Institute.  It is, without exaggeration, the best professional development opportunity for teachers of mathematics.  Participants spend three weeks thinking deeply about mathematics and mathematics education.

There are three main aspects of PCMI:

learning mathematicsreflection on practice (RoP)becoming a resource to others.I'm part of the team for RoP and in charge of the third aspect, in which participants consider a gap in professional development back at their home districts and work in small groups to help fill that hole by developing a rich PD seminar on that topic.

It is not easy to develop professional development.  Teachers who haven't written PD have to patiently learn how to write (essentially) lesson plans for someone else.

This year, I used Microsoft OneNote to facilitate the process.  We have a central OneNote Notebook through which I lay out the daily schedule…

Desmos, OneNote & Replay

So using Desmos activities are a great way to encourage exploration and discussion in math class -- if you haven't tried them, I encourage it.  They're collected at https://teacher.desmos.com/ 

But ... Desmos doesn't give you quite enough.  It doesn't have a way of capturing the work that the student does within their space, and it doesn't allow for annotation of class contributions as we come together to discuss.  Well, not surprisingly, OneNote comes to the rescue. 
Using the Windows shortcut Windows-Shift-S it is really quick to snag the Desmos screen and pop it into a waiting OneNote page.  From there, we can grab our pen and (using wireless projection) talk about what all the different responses mean and where to go from there.
(An aside : one of the nice features of Desmos activities are the way you can hit PAUSE and it will pause all the screens of the students working.  I always give them a heads up "10 seconds to pause..." and it's refreshing…