Ever wondered how to use OneNote in the classroom?
Check out my webinar to see all of OneNote's amazing features that make it the perfect tool for the classroom.
Discover te ao Māori with Ngā Motu, an immersive Minecraft: Education Edition world created by Piki Studios in partnership with Microsoft.
Allow your students to explore te ao Māori, te reo Māori and tikanga with this world now available for all versions of Minecraft: Education Edition. Immersed in a block-based version of Aotearoa, students can roam amongst the moa, kiwi and kunekune whilst exploring a traditional pā and riding waka hourua. Teachers can use the accompanying lesson plan, developed by the world's creator, Whetu Paitai, for guidance when using the world in the classroom. This lesson plan includes suggested activities and learning objectives in pānui, tuhituhi, whakarongo and kōrero to teach students letters, greetings, and pronunciation in te reo Māori.
Access the Ngā Motu lesson plan here.
Try Minecraft: Education Edition at your School
More than 35 million teachers and students are using Minecraft: Education Edition in over 100 countries. There’s no need to feel overwhelmed if you’re just getting started, access teacher training, downloadable worlds, and hundreds of lessons across various curriculum areas. You can also learn how to use Minecraft: Education Edition’s inbuilt Code Builder to teach coding and computational thinking in your classroom today! All of this information is available through the Minecraft: Education Edition online platform here.
At this time, Minecraft: Education Edition is supported on the newest operating systems for PC, iPad and Mac. It is fully funded under the Microsoft Schools’ Agreement with the Ministry of Education for all state and state-integrated schools.
Back to School Update
The new Minecraft: Education Edition update includes some fantastic new features that make using the game-based tool much easier in the classroom.
The Immersive Reader is an assistive tool that appears in many of Microsoft's apps. By clicking on the Immersive Reader icon, the written text will be read aloud to the student. This is a wonderful tool for students who require additional support due to learning or language needs.
The new update also welcomes the addition of multiplayer join codes. I found students trying to collaborate in the same world a real pain point for me last year due to the WIFI set up in the school. With the new join codes, students can generate pictorial codes which allow them to easily join their friends' worlds. The owner of the world also has much greater control over what their guests can do including the following settings:
Visitor - Visitors can explore your world but cannot interact with it.
Member - Members are active players in your world who can place and break blocks.
Operator - Operators have great control, setting permissions and using commands.
Flipgrid is a game changer when it comes to capturing authentic student voice within and beyond the classroom walls. The idea is simple, create a grid for your class then add a topic to engage and provoke discussion. Students can respond with a video reply, enjoying and interacting with the responses of their peers. As the teacher, all of this is within your control. You have the ability to set the video response time, allow fun features such as stickers and inking, moderate posts, reply with your own feedback and much more.
Anytime, Anywhere Learning
Flipgrid works on any browser and also has a smartphone app for both iOS and Android. Hearing every students' voice becomes possible as learners share their ideas in their own time, without the pressure of public speaking. Original ideas resound as students are given the 'think time' to engage in self-reflection and generate their own authentic opinions in a safe environment.
Crossing Curriculum Boundaries
As Flipgrid is so easy to access, classrooms across the country are finding ways to bring it into their teaching and learning programs. In a Bring Your Own Device classroom, students can access the Grid from their Windows, Mac or Chromebook devices through any browser. In other classrooms, students make use of their smartphones to record their videos. This is perfect for subjects that require students to reflect on their performance on the go, such as Physical Education or Drama as students can record snippets of themselves to reflect upon and share. The ability to flip the camera from front to back also allows this tool to be used when sharing tangible learning outcomes such as pieces of artwork, writing, 3D models and physical performance.
Flipgrid seamlessly integrates with Microsoft's Office 365 suite, including Microsoft Teams and Sway.
Teams - Simply add a tab in your class team, choose to add 'Flipgrid' then embed the Flipgrid Grid you have created by entering the Flip Code or Flipgrid URL. This makes your topics easily accessible to students and keeps the learning all within the Teams space for easy sharing and reference.
Sway - Embed your Flipgrid into a Sway to share your prompt with your students and even guests. Flipgrid is great as it lets you add guests to share their thoughts within a topic, allowing you to bring parent, community and expert voices into the classroom. What better way to collate and share this than with the digital storytelling tool... Sway!
The two resources below developed by educators will come in handy when getting started!
Minecraft: Education Edition is an open world game that allows students to create, collaborate and problem solve in immersive worlds. The education edition has been exclusively developed to maximise learning with some amazing features. With the New Zealand Ministry of Education's Schools' Agreement with Microsoft, Minecraft: Education Edition is available at no cost to state and state-integrated schools. At this time, Minecraft: Education Edition is supported on the newest operating systems for PC, iPad and Mac:
Download Minecraft: Education Edition for:
The Minecraft: Education Edition Website provides access to downloadable lessons and worlds to use with your students. You can access curriculum for both STEM and mathematics from the following links:
Key Minecraft: Education Edition features include:
Download Noel Leeming's Minecraft: Education Edition resource pack below:
Windows 10 has opened up new opportunities for creative and immersive learning through Paint 3D, Mixed Reality and the Photos App. With a click of a button you can take a 3D model and place it into your surroundings through Mixed Reality. Drop, rotate and even scoop it up using your hand to position it perfectly in your environment then take a photo or record yourself explaining what you have created in the form of a video. This has so many exciting applications for classroom learning as students can literally bring their ideas to life through Mixed Reality.
This technology works perfectly with Minecraft: Education Edition as students can export their Minecraft: EE creation using the 'Structure Block', saving it as a 3D file. This file can then be imported into programs such as Paint 3D, where the customisation can begin. Utilising digital inking, you can use the different types of brushes and colours to add to your Minecraft: EE structure. Textured stickers allow you to add effects such as grass and wood as well as cute, bright coloured stickers for fun. You can also bring in models from the 3D Library to create comprehensive scenes.
Once you are ready, simply press the 'Mixed Reality' button in Paint 3D to bring your creation to life. Click or touch where you want to place your model, pinching and zooming to increase size and swiping to rotate. Try scooping your model up using your hand, this always creates a bit of excitement! Down the right hand side, you will see icons to take a photo or a video of your creation in mixed reality, a perfect way for students to capture and share their learning.
But the fun doesn't stop there!
Open up the photo in the Windows 10 Photo App and select the 'Add 3D Effects' under 'Edit & Create'. From here you can select from an exciting variety of 3D effects to bring your photo to life. Adjusting the points at which the effect begins and the duration. Once you are happy with the 3D effects, click 'Save a Copy' and your photo will be transformed into a five second video snippet with exciting 3D effects. The effects even come with sound which you can adjust during the editing process.
This process is a powerful learning tool in the classroom as it allows students to bring their imaginative ideas into the world. Imagine the rich vocabulary you could draw out of your students as they describe the gnarled trees or crackling fire in their 3D scenes.
Some potential ideas for how this can be applied in the classroom:
Below are simplified steps on how to use these tools:
Minecraft: Education Edition
- Login to Minecraft: Education Edition
- Open a world
- Search your inventory for a Structure Block
- Place the structure block next to your creation
- Right click on the structure block
- Enter the x, y, z values
- Export and save 3D file
- Open Paint 3D and choose 'New'
- Select 'Menu' then 'Insert' and find your 3D file
- Customise your model with inking, stickers and further 3D models from the 3D library
- When you're ready, press the 'Mixed Reality' button
- Your 3D model will open in the Mixed Reality viewer
- Click with your mouse or touch your touch screen device to place the model
- Once you have 'placed' the model, you can find a camera and video icon on the right hand side of your screen
- Your photo/video will automatically save to the Photos app
- Open Photos
- Select your photo from the 'Collections' page
- Click on 'Edit & Create'
- Choose 'Add 3D Effects'
- Click on Effects and choose the effect you want to apply
- Resize and move your effect by clicking, dragging and dropping. Change the volume of the effect on the right handside and edit the duration of the effect by adjusting the bar at the bottom of the video
- Apply as many effects as you like
- Click 'Save a Copy' and find your 5 second video in your collection homepage
Specific, timely and goal-related feedback is key to helping students progress in their learning.
In a bustling classroom with a jam-packed timetable, I struggled to find time to provide quality feedback to all of my students on a regular basis. With OneNote Class Notebook, feedback became a regular part of my daily and weekly routine due to these three time-saving features.
Audio and Inking
OneNote offers teachers the ability to mark and annotate student work using digital ink whilst at the same time recording audio feedback directly onto the OneNote page. I found that using a stylus to mark students' work provided a personal touch and showed students that their teacher had engaged with their work rather than 'impersonal' standard typed text. The great thing about this is that OneNote will automatically connect what you were saying at the time with any annotations you make on the page. Therefore if you are marking an extensive piece of writing with a lot of annotations, students can hover their mouse over each annotation and playback the audio feedback relevant to that digital ink by clicking on the play icon.
Tip: If a student has inserted a printout of their work to mark, right click on the printout select 'Picture' and 'Set Picture as Background' to stop the printout from moving around and causing your annotations to lose their alignment with the text.
The benefit of having audio recorded onto the page is that students can listen to your feedback as many times as they need to make the appropriate changes to their work. It also becomes a great source of evidence and acts as a portfolio of learning over time. If you prefer to type, you can also type your feedback whilst recording audio.
Peer Feedback in the Collaboration Space
An effective way to encourage peer feedback is by using the Collaboration Space in OneNote to share work in the classroom. A weekly routine I implemented in my classroom was for each student to share their learning goal and a piece of writing demonstrating that goal in a table in the Collaboration Space. Every week we had a dedicated time where students would read each other's writing and provide feedback on their peers' work. The effect of this was twofold. First of all, it enabled students to receive regular peer feedback and provided them with the chance to write for an authentic audience. The second benefit of this was that the students providing feedback learnt how to give specific feedback in relation to a learning goal, rather than generic comments such as 'I liked your writing, it was good.'
The specificity of feedback transferred across the curriculum, with students continuing to provide specific, learning goal related feedback in areas such as Inquiry and Maths.
In my primary classroom, my favourite way to frame feedback and feed-forward with students was to use the idea of 'Two stars and a wish' or 'Two medals and a mission'.
A final, fun way to give feedback to students is to use 'Stickers' within OneNote. Look for the stickers with the pencil icon to create customised stickers with specific feedback for individual students.
Digital inking is enabling teachers to reimagine how they deliver their learning experiences in new and exciting ways. One of the ways inking transformed the way I taught was by allowing me to shift my modelling from a traditional paper modelling book to a digital notebook with unlimited pages… also known as OneNote!
Quick Lesson Prep
With a few clicks, you can have the reading text for the day inserted onto a OneNote page and use the OneNote Draw tools to highlight and annotate keywords, new vocabulary and record questions. Now when you find a relevant article you can simply print it to the OneNote page, ready to highlight and annotate. Alternatively, you can insert a printout of a PDF or document directly onto the page! Tip: Right click on the printout select 'Picture' and 'Set Picture as Background' to stop the printout from moving around and causing your annotations to lose their alignment with the text.
Traditionally I would sit with a group of learners around a table, me, with modelling book and pen in hand and students, displaying varying levels of engagement as I recorded key ideas and questions. This dynamic changed when I shifted to digital modelling. Using wireless projection, my OneNote page would be displayed on the whiteboard allowing all students to view the content easily, no longer having to focus on a rectangular book in the hands of the teacher. From here, control of the ideas and content could easily be transferred to students simply by handing over the device and stylus. We know that students learn from their peers, what better way than to see their peers modelling the steps of solving an equation in real time, full screen, projected on to a whiteboard or TV.
Engagement and excitement were evident as students eagerly awaited their turn to share their ideas. Not to mention they could show ownership of their ideas by having their own pen colour, including rainbow and galaxy pens! This form of modelling meant that children who were completing independent work could 'tune in' to parts of the lesson they were interested in as the content was displayed for all to see and follow along with.
At the end of the lesson, all of the ideas explored were no longer hidden away in a book in the corner of the room rather they were now accessible for students anywhere, anytime, right within the OneNote Class Notebook Content Library. The feature of Ink Replay in OneNote was a game changer as students could replay the steps modelled for solving a math problem, as many times as they needed and in their own time.
Parent Involvement in Learning
A breakthrough 'teacher win' moment was when a student made an enthusiastic entrance into the classroom to announce they had worked through the Math problem from the previous day's lesson with mum and dad at home. With Office 365 and OneNote Class Notebook, the student had simply logged in at home and was able to share all of their in-class learning with their parents.
Please note, I am not advocating for all paper/traditional forms of modelling to move into a digital space (unless you want to!). Sometimes paper and pen are the best tools for the job!
Tags in OneNote
As announced by the OneNote team, Windows 10 and Mac OneNote users now have the ability to create and use custom tags. The update includes the ability to:
· Create new custom tags
· Search for custom tags
· Have roaming tags across devices
· Gather existing tags in a notebook and save as your own
This is an exciting feature for both teachers and students as tags can be used to create to-do lists, identify important information and can now be customised to suit your own needs.
Here are my top three ways of utilising tags in the classroom:
To Do Tags:
Using the Content Library in OneNote Class Notebook is a great way to create and share lessons with students. 'To do' tags in OneNote provide students with a clear and logical way to work through tasks that have multiple steps. When the teacher creates a lesson in OneNote, they can place a 'to do' tag at the beginning of each instruction or step, allowing the student to tick it off once they have completed the task. A clear way for students to track their progress through a task or assignment. Creating rubrics in OneNote can also become an effortless process using tables and 'to do' tags. Simply create a table with the desired amount of rows and columns for your rubric then insert a 'to do' tag into each section. When marking a presentation or project, tick the 'to do' tag to show which criteria the project meets.
Effective feedback specifically tells students what they are doing well and offers guidance to move their learning forward. It can come from self-assessment, peer assessment or directly from the teacher to help students develop an awareness of their progress along the learning pathway. One of my favourite ways of referring to feedback and feedforward in a primary setting is the idea of 'two stars and a wish' or 'two medals and a mission'. This is where tags become a fantastic learning tool to assist in 'coding' the type of feedback given. Simply click the tag you want and type, ink or audio record your feedback on the page. My personal favourite is the star tag to show positives and the lightbulb to show next steps. This system also works well for peer feedback as students can work on the specificity of their feedback by ensuring they have two relevant 'stars' and a next step - 'lightbulb'.
An innovative way I have seen teachers make technology work for them is by creating custom tags in OneNote to tag evidence towards each of the teaching standards. With this recently released feature in OneNote Windows 10 and OneNote Mac, you can create a customised tag to code all of your evidence that relates to a particular teaching standard. You can simply click anywhere on the page or in the page's title to add the tag, then when you want to see all of your evidence, search for the name of your custom tag in the search bar. This is very time efficient as instead of copying and pasting pages and having multiple versions of the same page you can simply have a direct link to the page through tags.
For a detailed explanation on how to use custom tags see - techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/Office-365-Blog/Custom-tags-available-soon-in-OneNote/ba-p/302898
If there is one app you need on your phone immediately, it's Office Lens developed by Microsoft. Imagine having a mini scanner in your pocket that allows you to take photographs of documents, whiteboards and business cards on your mobile and instantaneously send them to your camera roll, mail, OneDrive, OneNote Notebook or turn into a PDF. Well, Office Lens does just that and is available across a range of platforms including iOS, Android and Windows.
As a teacher, Office Lens can change how you store and access documents. An overflowing assessment folder with loose papers and documents is no longer necessary, simply take a photo of each assessment paper using Office Lens and instantly send it to an ‘Assessment’ section in OneNote. Traditionally, I would have taken hours at the copier, remembering how to scan and email documents to myself then save each scan as an image once I returned to my computer... A tedious process that takes time many of us just don’t have. With Office Lens it takes minutes to have all written assessments uploaded and stored in a secure space and there’s no risk of losing anyone’s paper!
Just in Time Learning
As we focus on Assessment for Learning and the power of feedback, it is critical we are giving students instantaneous and specific feedback and feed forward. With Office Lens, you can take a photo of a student’s written piece of work, send it to OneNote and display it on the projector all within seconds. Here is when the learning happens... Using the ‘Draw’ tools in OneNote and a stylus pen or mouse, you can highlight, annotate and give audio feedback on this piece of work whilst modelling a whole class or small group lesson. Utilising the power of peer feedback, pass the device to a student and support them in giving written and verbal feedback whilst the rest of the group follow along on the board. Powerful stuff!
Within the Office Lens app itself, there is an Immersive Reader feature which will read aloud the text from any image. In the classroom this is an incredible way to support students across the curriculum and provide assistance to students with learning needs such as dyslexia. No longer dependent on the teacher, the student has the power to take a photo of the text and have it read aloud through Optical Character Recognition. The user can adjust the size of the font, colour of the page background, text spacing and speed of the voice to best suit their learning needs.
Conferences and Professional Development
Scrawling notes from the back of the conference room is a thing of the past with Office Lens as it has been designed to crop and focus presentation slides, making it look as if you have scanned the presentation itself.