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Last month I attended the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) 2011 conference in the City of Brotherly Love. For three days I worked the booth and walked the halls listening to the questions that teachers and school IT professionals were asking. I met so many inquisitive and inspired individuals motivated solely by the desire to improve their skills and enrich students’ lives. It was a fantastic and humbling experience. I learned a lot about how teachers were creatively incorporating Office products and services into the classroom.
Since I was working the Microsoft Office and Live@edu stations, I spent my time talking mainly about OneNote, Office Web Apps, and Office 365.
OneNote is, essentially, a digital notebook. With it you can do stuff like, take screen clippings, record video and audio notes, and annotate over images and embedded PDF files. See OneNote in action!
I had the great pleasure of working side-by-side with Tom Gaffey and Brian Cohen, math teachers from the School of the Future in Philadelphia, and Vince Interrante, a math and science teacher from New York. They showed me, and anyone who walked by our booth, how they were using OneNote to teach math.
Every time we demonstrated OneNote at the conference teachers flipped out. There are so many reasons to use it! Every teacher has their own way.
Many teachers actually had Office 2007 or Office 2010 installed on their computers, but had never heard of OneNote. Oh, the humanity! If you’ve got it, please try it.
You might have OneNote installed on your computer and not know it. Here are two tables showing which editions of Office 2010 and Office 2007 include OneNote. (Click the image to enlarge.)
Office 2007 Table of Editions
Office 2010 Table of Editions
Note: OneNote is not a part of Office for Mac 2011 or Office for Mac 2008 – however, Mac users can use the OneNote Web App on most browsers.
Which reminds me, did you know you can save OneNote 2010 notebooks to the Web? If you have a Windows Live ID, then you can create and access your OneNote notebooks from any computer with an Internet connection. When you save a notebook to a Public SkyDrive folder, then all of your students can access your notes. Just like Kelvin Dueck’s class.
There’s even a mobile app. OneNote Mobile comes loaded on every Windows Phone 7 device. Plus, the OneNote team just released an update to the OneNote app for iPhone. That means you can sync a OneNote notebook on your computer, online, and on a mobile device. Watch this video to see how to share OneNote between multiple PCs, slates, Macs, and phones.
Note: OneNote does not currently support the iPad.
When I talked to folks at the conference, there was some confusion about the term “Web apps”. Let me clarify. Office Web Apps is not an online app store. They’re web-based versions of our popular Office applications (e.g. Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote). For example, the Word Web App lets you email a Word document to your students and they don’t even need Office installed to open it. Hopefully this means you have one less thing to worry about.
If you have Office 2010, you can save documents directly from an Office application, like Word, to SkyDrive. Or, if you don’t have Office 2010, you can sign into SkyDrive and upload your files. And whether you have Office or not, you can use your web browser to create Office documents on your SkyDrive.
When’s a good time to use Office Web Apps?
Office 365 officially released during the conference, so everyone wanted to know about it. Office 365 is a Microsoft cloud-computing offer that gives customers online access to Office documents, SharePoint sites, Exchange email, and Lync online messaging services. Cloud-computing in this context means that customers use Microsoft servers for hosting their data rather than setting up servers at their own locations.
So, what does that have to do with schools? An Office 365 for education offer has been announced, but not officially released. Office 365 for education is Microsoft’s next generation solution to the current Live@edu offer. Live@edu is a free, hosted email service that uses Exchange Online.
With Office 365 for education:
Watch this video for an explanation about the offer and licensing details. If you’re interested there’s a 30-day trial available for evaluation purposes.
You might be wondering… why were Tom, Brian, and Vince working the Microsoft booth at ISTE? They’re all members of the Microsoft Innovative Teachers network, which is part of the Microsoft Partners in Learning program. Partners in Learning is a Microsoft –sponsored community whose mission is to “help educators and school leaders by facilitating professional development, building a community of educators, and promoting innovation in education.”In fact, Tom is on the Microsoft Redmond campus this week attending the annual U.S. Innovative Education Forum (IEF), which just kicked off today. They’re honoring innovative teachers and schools, and showcasing how technology can be incorporated into curricula and pedagogy.
Or, if you’d prefer to stay annonymous, you can find helpful webcasts, lesson plans, and teaching guides for incorporating Microsoft technologies, like OneNote and Office Web Apps, into your classroom at www.microsoft.com/education.
If you have a question about an Office product and/or service and you weren’t able to ask it in person at ISTE, then feel free to post a comment on this blog. I’m interested to learn what technologies have piqued your curiosity.