As a busy mum, teacher and DP I’m constantly looking for the most time efficient ways to do all the things I have to do. Choosing the best tools is essential if I want to be effective so I was surprised when I recently read an article outlining ‘50 Education Technology Tools Every Teacher Should Know About’ because it didn’t include Onenote. Why surprised? Put simply Onenote ‘Saves My Sundays’. Due to the flexibility of the tool and the opportunities for collaboration, I no longer sit at home each Sunday planning for the groups I teach.
One of the major aspects of teaching is planning. Making the learning as engaging and personalised for the students as possible, allowing them to demonstrate progress towards the intended outcomes is more effective if the students can be involved in the process. I need a tool that will allow me to gather student voice, record plans, and have flexibility to be modified in the moment of teaching. As an advocate of formative assessment and visible learning I also need the students to be able to evaluate the plans and give feedback so that the subsequent plan really hits the mark for them. The added bonus is that if the students are recording this information, I don’t have to; I don’t have to assume what worked well, or what they are struggling with. They tell me what they learned, what evidence they have to demonstrate their learning, what went well for them and what needs to be done again, or done differently, and what the next steps are. I no longer need to rely on a feel for the group progress but have explicit individual feedback. By involving the students in the planning, as well as the delivery, students are taking ownership of their learning. This can only have a positive impact on motivation!
In life before Onenote, I endeavored to share plans with students, and encouraged them to write on them during the sessions. This works well in theory but the reality was I’d spend valuable time hunting for missing pages from the plan as helpful students would tidy up, or file them in the wrong group box. Onenote eliminates lost planning papers, and saves me from hunting through screeds of other papers dumped unceremoniously on the desk.
Because of the ubiquitous nature of onenote students can go back and check what the intended learning was, and where it fits in with the bigger picture. They can add resources that they think are worthy of sharing to aid the learning of others in the group. Suddenly it’s not me spending Sunday evening searching for tedtalks or youtube clips. Accessing the resources in the plan occurs at the click of a button (literally). Gone are the days where I have to rewrite URLs on the board, only to be typed in incorrectly by students, causing a tuneless chorus of “it’s not working.”
The students I teach are from different classes and different year levels. Onenote allows me to share the planning with each teacher connected to the student, and I can also give editing permissions so teachers can contribute any information they have to support the students’ learning. Keeping them in the loop has never been easier.
I’m sure there are more reasons I could share as to why I love the onenote tool for planning, but the most effective way to find out about its potential is to try it for yourself.