OneNote in the Classroom? 8 Reasons Why…

Since that faithful afternoon when an inspiring Maths and Accounting teacher told me: “I have to show you this great app”, I have loved OneNote and use it every single day. Quickly I could see its potential for both teaching and learning, in particular, how It can adapt to your specific needs in a particular moment in time: Sometimes it is an infinite white canvas if you need to explain something in class without the need to wipe down content or trying to squeeze lines at the end of the board; Other times it is your planning best friend, collecting all your resources for your next lesson in one place; And other times, it is just a repository where you can drop all kinds of resources, ready and waiting for inclusion in that great lesson down the road.

So please read on, as I detail how I use OneNote to help me make every day routines and tasks a bit easier, which in turn, makes OneNote indispenable in my classroom…

  1. Planning
    OneNote is the perfect planning tool. The possibility of planning the lesson and have the resources that I would like to use during that lesson ready was something I really love since the first time I start using OneNote. As a MFL teacher, sometimes I have to have ready a lot of resources for the lessons
    (Audio, videos, activities) and when I had classes back-to-back I found difficult to get everything ready for the next group, especially if I wanted to talk to some students after class. With OneNote that wasn’t an issue anymore. I just simply have to insert the audio recording, the PowerPoint
    Presentation or the link to a website I wanted to use and just click it to use it.
    OneNote planning screenshot 1
    OneNote is also perfect to keep a record of what you have done in your lessons. I normally take a note of what resources and what homework I assigned for a lesson and I recorded in a calendar that I have at the beginning of the subject Notebook for that year group. I like to link it to the actual activity so if I want to check what homework 1st Years had on the 15th September I can find it straight away.
    OneNote planning screenshot 2
  2. Organisation
    If you didn’t know it before you probably guess it for the photos: I love organisation. I love it so much that my teaching resource folder was out of control: Folders inside folders inside folders inside folders. There are so many folders that sometimes I found it easier to search for new resources that
    actually look through the resources I hoarded over the years. But OneNote make this process a lot easier. I like to create a new page for each lesson called “Additional Resources” and I add resources that I think they could be useful in the future or that maybe some students may find useful. The good thing of OneNote is that even if you are not a very organised person, it makes you look like one.OneNote organisation screenshot
  3. Research & Sources
    How many times have you find something interesting browsing the Internet and you think “I will come back to this later” and when you finally do, you can never find it even though that you type exactly the same words?? With OneNote you can take screen clippings of the article or resource you found interesting in the Internet and paste it into any page of your OneNote Notebooks. Or just simply click the share icon in your browser and select send to OneNote.OneNote research screenshot
  4. Inking
    This is possible one of the best features of OneNote if you are using a tablet for teaching. Explaining a topic or answering a question from anywhere in the classroom without having to run back to the front of the classroom is liberating and I have noticed increased engagement from students. I found this function particularly useful when I am helping students with exam questions in PDF format because I can write straight into it. I also like to take pictures of students’ essays and uploaded into my subject notebook, correct their work and return it to them via email.
    Inking screenshot
  5. All Devices
    OneNote can be downloaded in all your devices and once you signing with the same account all your notes will sync automatically to all your devices. This means that you could access your school work in your house even though you are not using the pc in your room. Or you can take a picture on your phone and added to your notes.
    All devices
  6. Collaboration & Sharing
    This was something I did not know about OneNote when I started using it but that it had become very useful over time. For example, if students are absent from class, you can email them all the notes, tasks and homework for that day with a simple click in the “Email Page” option in the Home Ribbon. Or you can share a Notebook with the rest of your subject department teachers in the school and collaborate in a same document without even been in the same room. This is a real life safer sometimes!!
    OneNote sharing & collaborating screenshot
  7. It Works Offline
    Yes, OneNote works offline so you can be adding content into your Notebook and the next time you get somewhere with Wi-Fi or Internet connection all your work will be synced automatically. Students can access their Notebooks and do their school work at home even if they do not have access to the Internet and all their work will be synced next day when they arrive to the school.
  8. New Approach to Teaching
    When I started using OneNote, I planned my lessons following the same or similar resources and activities collected in the prescribed book. And that was fine. But after I started to investigate the different features that were supported by OneNote, the methodologies that I was employing start evolving. Getting students to talk in the Spanish classroom is very important. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to get 30 students talking and participating in conversations. For that I thought that the audio and video recording feature in OneNote was a game changer at the time of helping students with their pronunciation. In the same way, sometimes give feedback in audio format rather that in writing can make a big difference for some students. That open my mind to different teaching and learning methodologies and encourage me to look outside my classroom and research how other teachers were using OneNote in their classes in blogs and Twitter.
    OneNote new approach to teaching screenshot

So there you have it, some of the main reasons why OneNote works for me and why I use it every day. If you’ve yet to tap into this wonderful teaching tool
I couldn’t recommend it more and you can get OneNote for free for any device.

For more information on how to use OneNote in the classroom see #Onederful and check out the videos below for more. Also, watch out for our ‘Back to Basics OneNote Tutorial‘ going live here on the TeachNet blog before this month is out…


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