Thursday, April 20, 2017

When OneNote (& the Class Tools) makes your life easier...

So it happened that the day I was going to give a test, I couldn't, so I needed to quickly get together some review questions for the students to work on. (Sorry, I wasn't ready to start the next unit with them, and besides, it was the first class after the long Easter weekend... shoot me, I'm a nice guy.)
Into my archive files I go...
I found a test from back in 2003 that was highly algebraic -- just the skills they needed for the test and nothing else.  No "thinking" questions, as it were.  We'd spent the last week or so on word problems and questions that try to stretch and make connections.  I just wanted to makes sure their algebraic skills were strong & sound.
Here's where life gets easy, thanks to OneNote ClassNotebook.  

I used the PRINT -> Send to OneNote 2016 option in Word and it sent a printout of the test to my OneNote teacher section (called Content Library).

With the page in the Content Library (in the right spot! I like that things stay organized in OneNote) I went up to the the CLASS NOTEBOOK ribbon.
Then, I used the ClassNotebook Tool DISTRIBUTE PAGE (to multiple notebooks) and sent the "13 Practice Test" page to all the students in all three of my sections all at once.  Boom!  Handing out complete.  
Then, I say to the kids, I don't have a solutions page, but you have the period to work on the test and then I will go through and clip out good models for solutions for each of the questions from your work.  Away they went to work... crowd-sourcing their own solutions.

And so after school, I opened up the first class section's Notebook and used the REVIEW STUDENT WORK button to look at each student's work.  I opened up a second copy of the OneNote notebook and created a new page in my Teacher Section for the Answers... and copied (I use WINDOWS-SHIFT-S to do a quick screen capture to the clipboard) & pasted the good model solutions from the left notebook to the right notebook.

Using the list of students in Review Student Work was great, because I could flip between student solutions quickly and even students who would self-describe as "less able" I could find good models of solutions from their work, so no one was left out.  (I didn't include their names when I copied/pasted because I wasn't asking them to share their work -- I needed to keep it anonymous).

So now that I had my solution set, I used the ClassNotebook Tool to again Distribute to all the studetns in all three sections.  I counted; it took seven clicks -- the menu ribbon, the button, the three classes, the section to where it went and COPY.    To distribute the entire solution set to three classes, about 60 kids... no paper, no muss, no fuss, no lost copies, no email problems, no permission issues.  Just there & done.
And it's in the EXACT place you want the solutions, right after the actual test I distributed earlier.  

Not only did it save me time, it gave value to the students' work.  Yes, I could have had them post to Yammer or to the Collaboration Space, but this also gave me a chance to go through each students work and highlight any errors I may have noticed.  All in all, something I would do again.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Using Office Lens

A brief aside.

I had dropped by a workshop first thing this morning and was sitting at the front and wanted to grab a shot of the screen; at first I used my camera -- I wasn't thinking.  As soon as I looked at the image, I realized I should be using Office Lens.  Look, it was early morning and I wasn't quite awake.
Just using the camera app
Office Lens is an app for both Android (link) and iPhone/iPad (link) - and its main purpose is to capture physical content, clean it up and add it into your OneNote.

When you start the app, you get a camera ... but with a bouncing, resizing white rectangle superimposed on your image.  It's a smart rectangle, so it's looking for the piece of paper, the whiteboard, the business card, the content that is sitting in front of you.  Once you have it framed by the white rectangle, you tap the photo button and it grabs the image, cleans it up (brightens, sharpens), crops and... if the image was taken from an angle... Office Lens will transform the image so it appears flat and straight on.
Using Office Lens from the same location
Since I was sitting at the front of the room, off stage left, I had to turn around and lean over to take the picture.  You can see the difference from just the camera versus that of Office Lens.  And with no additional work.  Both pictures were taken from the same seat from the same distance, all by pressing one button.

The next step is to decide where it goes.  My default is to push it into my OneNote and to store into my Photo Gallery, but it will also create a Word document, PDF or PowerPoint or it will store the image in your OneDrive.

Notice that it does have a place for the TITLE.  OfficeLens defaults to the date/time but you can change it to whatever your want.

Office Lens is one of the most popular apps at our School since it does all of the editing automagically AND it delivers it to the student (or teacher) OneNote without any extra work  Since all of our classrooms are covered in whiteboards, we have a lot of student-developed content throughout the class that they want a record of.  And teachers want to grab exemplars to record student understanding without having to fiddle with things.  The feedback from Math and Art teachers, in particular, has been particularly strong, as both subject rely on images to convey a story.  Our most tech-reluctant educator has stated that this is his favourite app, since he can capture all the work he still has his students do on (gasp) paper.

And for me, I use Office Lens for everything ... agendas, maps, transit tickets, anything I need to remember because Office Lens pushes everything back into OneNote and then syncs across all my devices.