OneNote to Rule Them All! Part 1

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Really? A post dedicated to a piece of software such as OneNote? Despite the fact that I haven’t blogged in so long – I thought it might be worthwhile sharing some thoughts on my use of OneNote in my primary classroom – the difference it is making to me and the difference that I hope is then followed through on for the children.

I have been using OneNote on and off for a few years but, only now, am getting the chance to see how I can really put it to work. The fact that it is now accessible on our C2k network has, despite a few issues, made a massive difference to its use in the classroom.

I am using OneNote in a variety of ways:

Observation and Record Keeping

Parent-teacher Meeting Preparations

As a Mind-Mapping Collaboration tool

Helping parents support their children’s learning

As a ‘one-stop-shop’ record of my year

Hopefully the following might give you your own ideas on how you might make your life easier.

Observation and Record Keeping

As I have mentioned, I have been using a Surface RT in class to keep my planning up to date. However, one of the biggest changes has been the use of OneNote to enhance the record keeping process.

I have created a ‘OneNote Book’ for my year that has a number of different sections – one of these being a section for the pupils. This section has a page for each child (more of which can be added to as sub-pages) and it is here where I can keep detailed records of the children’s progress.

At this point, my Windows Phone with OneNote built in also comes into play. I have it synced with my OneNote account so that every change can be entered across a variety of devices.

As I am marking children’s work. I can take a photograph of it using a straight-forward photo or enhanced through OfficeLens for the Windows phone. This is then imported straight to the child’s page where I  build up a record of the child through the year in the different subject areas. This evidence then is used in Parent-Teacher Meetings to show the examples of work – instead of having to hunt down books and look through them for that ‘piece of work that stood out’  and you want to share. The ability to sync from my hone to the page is excellent and really makes life a lot easier. Then, once embedded,  I can simply delete the images from the phone – thus not taking up lots of space!

This record is built up through the year – meaning that when it comes to writing a meaningful end of year report, I have excellent samples of work and observations sitting to hand to use. To me, this is the epitome of being able to work smarter – not harder – and freeing up time over the year. As well as this, I feel that I am developing a full understanding of the children in the class as it is constantly updated and freshened.

Observations are always a finger-tip away – whether it is one my phone / through the use of the Surface RT or the OneNote Online tool where I can access the same notes and make changes in the browser window if needed.

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