OneNote and Education background – how I got started with this stuff

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Wow – lots of great comments for my first post. I’m glad to see the community growing already. I apologize for the break from my first entry – I was at a wedding during Memorial day weekend and have been trying to get caught up. I’ll try and answer a few more comments soon.

There are so many topics to start with, I’m not quite sure where to begin. Thus, I will just jump in and describe how I got into the whole OneNote and Education “scene”.

OneNote NextGen Learning Background

About 3 years ago, while I was working on OneNote 2007, I took a class here at Microsoft. I was sitting there watching another student scribble notes on a printed on PPT deck and then furiously transcribe the notes in Notepad during the lunch break. I felt really bad for the guy. At that instant, the rest of Microsoft was not yet aware of the capabilities of OneNote 2007, in terms of what would be possible yet because we had not yet shipped. I started thinking about what would be possible in OneNote 2007 for both adult eLearning and education. A key idea of the “OneNote NextGen Learning” concept is instead of treating OneNote like pure meeting notes tool, treat it more as a tool that could encompass a large part of the learning process, including:

  1. Deliver classroom content with OneNote
  2. Easy collaborative content development for teachers
  3. Ability to collaborate in the classroom
  4. Reaching different types of learners and styles
  5. Keeping students and teachers organized with one place for all learning materials

In addition, after thinking about it a bit more, the other obvious benefits would be cost savings for schools and companies, while also lessening the environmental impact. At that point, I started experimenting with a few concepts and working with some internal training and education folks at Microsoft to start trying out these ideas. We tried out many concept and many pilots with positive results. We also discovered that you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to create amazing learning materials in OneNote.

I also started trying to find examples of people in education doing cool things with OneNote and pushing it beyond the note-taking capabilities.  Some of the first examples included Einstein Elementary School and a Math class a person on my team taught after school. Another great example is the Forest Ridge School of the Sacred Heart. I’ll spend some future blog posts talking in much more detail about these schools and others.

Ever since then, I’ve been fascinated with the overall “NextGen Learning Concept” and have been working with more and more educators and eLearning folks ever since.

Good, Better, Best

Many people ask – does my entire school need OneNote in order to be effective in education or eLearning? The answer is “No”. I like to think of it as a Good/Better/Best model

Inspired Teachers Contest

BTW, Microsoft just released a new “Inspired Teachers” contest. If you fill out your story, you have the chance to win a bunch of cool technology prizes that can help out your classroom. I encourage every teacher reading this blog to apply!


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