Assistant principal at Microsoft Showcase School details how OneNote replaced traditional textbooks

Vu Anh Nguyen

OneNote has long been touted by Microsoft, and indeed by its users, as the perfect companion to students going paperless the world over, with functionalities dedicated to a versatile digital notebook experience. A new guest post on Microsoft Office blog offers this perspective and more: how OneNote is used by teachers and students aloke to enrich the classroom experience.

The guests in this case are four Microsoft student amabassadors and one assistant principal at Coláiste Bhaile Chláir, one of the more than 150 Microsoft Showcase Schools. If the name doesn’t give it away, Microsoft Showcase School is a new initiative from Redmond starting from autumn last year, with the aim to create something like the Surfaces of Microsoft-powered education; in other words, the best of the best, a leading example.

By itself, OneNote already offers extensive capabilities for the classroom with advanced note-taking functions and the ability to create and arrange infinite notebooks, sections and pages. Pairing the app with the cloud as part of the Office 365 productivity suite, however, opens entirely new possibilities for sharing content between teachers in students.

As a teacher, OneNote is the ideal platform for 21st-century lesson design and enables us to take a multifaceted approach to assessment.

In the case of Coláiste Bhaile Chláir, OneNote Class Notebook plays a pivotal role in the school’s “21st-century lesson design”, allowing teachers to provide chapter content and activities in a logical manners, leading students from pages to pages. Automatic syncing means instant feedback, and ease of accesss to student-created content. Even classroom games can be facilitated with the power of OneNote syncing.

New content is synced easily between teachers and students.
New content is synced easily between teachers and students.

From the students side, the power of the cloud means same-time collaboration on projects and instant syncing of lessons and new content, eliminating outdated textbook material, or the hassle of carrying physical books. Notebooks are kept private from student to student, a boon to self-conscious spirits. It can’t be said better than the student ambassadors: it’s one application for every subject, on one device.

The traditional school bag that weighs more than you can imagine, and full to the brim, is non-existent in our school. All our workbooks, notebooks and textbooks are stored on our devices, reducing our load so much that we are no longer all walking around the school like decrepit old people.

The integration between OneNote and other parts of Office 365 also provides an advantage to digital learning. An example is teachers embedding an Office Mix from Powerpoint into OneNote Class Notebook to create a blended classroom experience. Students can also make use of the traditional Office apps and newer additions like Sway and Kahoot to make the learning even more interactive and fun, all of which can be embedded in OneNote. Skype is another great way for educators to expand beyond the classroom, as demonstrated by the Skype in Classroom initiative.

All in all, OneNote sounds like a breakthrough in digital learning for Coláiste Bhaile Chláir, as the staffs and students have attested to its power and versatility. It’s the future of education in the 21st century, and we can only hope that these technologies, and others similar, will power more and more teachers and students around the world.