Let me begin by quickly mentioning OneNote's (fairly) new Class Notebook tool. In short, it is AMAZING. With Class Notebook, the management side of OneNote is a much easier process for teachers. Whichever Microsoft crew developed it all deserve a high-five. If you are new to OneNote, click HERE to learn how to get started with the Class Notebook. The navigation and management are both really well thought out. I'm not providing a tutorial for using OneNote in this post, so if you are brand new and curious about how OneNote can make a BIG impact in your classroom, message me either here or at Twitter and I would love to share my experiences and advice regarding OneNote.
With all that said, I'm now going to announce that I am not using the Class Notebook this year with my classes. I have battled back and forth over the decision of whether or not to use Class Notebook this new school year, and I ultimately chose not to. I'm not jumping ship from OneNote--I'm simply staying with the traditional OneNote system I have been using. Here's why:
If you are new to OneNote, use the Class Notebook option. If you teach students younger than 15, go with the Class Notebook. It will make the whole OneNote experience smoother for both you and your students, and you won't be missing out on any OneNote offerings. I have played around with Class Notebook and it is set up wonderfully. I teach high school juniors. My students are 16 and 17 years old. I have them create their own OneNote notebook for our class following a template I give. Part of my reason for using OneNote so much is that I want my students to develop into more ORGANIZED and SELF-RELIANT people. I want them to know how to set up and manage OneNote themselves, so that many of them will hopefully be able to utilize it as they continue academically and professionally after they are finished with my class. I give instruction. I give assistance. But, from start to finish, my students create and manage their own notebooks for our class. My hope is that they will do the same for their other classes, this year and beyond. Not because their teachers make them, but because they gradually learn how empowering OneNote can be...especially for the naturally disorganized and forgetful!
If you also teach older students, you may want to consider taking the same approach as me. The one drawback to this can be the managing of shared notebooks. The way shared notebooks are presented in OneDrive/OneNote is, well, a total mess if you try doing it with a large number of people. However, this system I'm about to share worked very well for me last school year.
After my students each create a notebook for my class, I tell them specifically to NOT share the notebook with me via invite. What I want--and what you want--is for them to give the share link OneNote generates, with editing rights. In my own OneNote notebook for school, I have a page for each of my classes with a roster of my students. Each name of that roster is hyperlinked to the student's OneNote folder that he/she created. Now, to access notebooks, all I do is go to the appropriate class period page and click on the student's name. Soooooo much easier than trying to manage a jumbled listing of shared items through OneDrive. If you are not using the Class Notebook setup, I highly recommend this method. Click HERE to access a How-To Sway if you are interested in going this route.
Thanks for checking out my blog. Stay tuned, as there will be several new OneNote posts going live in the coming weeks.