Microsoft's OneNote is changing the face of education

Brad Stephenson

Microsoft’s OneNote is used by people from all walks of life. In a recent blog post on the official Office Blogs blog, Sandi Adams, technology project specialist for Cherokee County District, details how she and her colleagues use the app to modernize their workflow.
One of the main things she appreciates about OneNote is how it lets her create different sections for each school she works with as well as sub sections for logistics, schedules, training materials, and communication as well as conferences, special projects, staff meetings, instructions, and MIEE.
OneNote’s collaboration capabilities are another aspect that she praises and mentions that with the app, all of staff in different departments can stay up to date with information relating to the school floor plans, project workflows, organizational charts, resolutions to issues, personnel forms, project management, and evaluation information thanks to the real-time syncing between accounts. OneNote collaboration between staff is also used for lesson plans, storing parent communications, and organizing events.
One major change that was implemented in the Cherokee County District thanks to OneNote is the digitization of the Leader Keys Effectiveness System (LKES) evaluation system which used to be entirely paper-based. Sandi explains, “Our principals share their notebooks with the superintendent’s office, providing a record with meaningful feedback supporting the continuous growth and development of each school leader by monitoring, analyzing and applying pertinent data from multiple sources toward attainment of established performance goals. LKES offers clear and precise indicators and resources to leaders throughout the process. OneNote provides data and information that is always current.”
Each staff member has their own private notebook which is used to record data on topics ranging from professional knowledge and instructional planning to assessment strategies and positive learning environments and all of it is stored in OneNote which can be accessed by all the necessary people.
OneNote has also been integrated into many classrooms in grades 4 to 12. “Introducing our students to OneNote has been incredibly rewarding and exciting.” she says. “They moved to this environment easily and have been respectful of the collaboration space, a great introduction to appropriate use of digital citizenship. Turning in their homework, maintaining their journal, and having access to all of their content make this the perfect classroom tool.”
OneNote has come a long way since it launched in 2003 and has seen some rather dramatic evolution following the launch of Microsoft’s Surface Pro line of devices which added support for stylus note taking within the app. Since the launch of the new Windows 10 operating system, OneNote has been updated numerous times with new features such as the ability to insert a photo from a device’s camera. There has also been a renewed focus on OneNote’s use in education as can be seen by this very interview with Sandi Adams but also with the many new education-based updates such as the recent one focusing on OneNote Class Notebooks.
Do you use OneNote for school or business or is it simply used as a place to store grocery shopping lists? Let us know in the comments below. How do you use OneNote?