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Introducing the Class Notebook add-in for OneNote—designed and built with teachers

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We launched OneNote Class Notebooks into the education world back in October 2014. As we mentioned in the blog post yesterday, since the beginning of the school year in the U.S. (June 2015), Class Notebooks have taken off with 400,000 teachers and 3.5 million students being added to Class Notebooks. Teachers, students and schools have been doing some amazing things with Class Notebooks, and in many cases, changing the nature of the classroom with new interaction, feedback and collaboration models that were not possible before. The OneNote team has a history of working closely with teachers and schools to help solve classroom challenges. Class Notebooks came directly from working closely with teachers, listening to how they were using OneNote in the classroom and what they were hoping to be able to do more easily.

Introducing the Class Notebook add-in for OneNote infographic

We continue to listen to teachers and have a lot of great feedback about how we can make Class Notebooks even better. Over the past few months, we worked very closely with a virtual group of teachers from around the world to help design, iterate and build a new addition to the Class Notebook family. At every step, we have put the teacher in the center of this experience, and many of the ideas came directly from teachers. We are pleased to release the customer preview of the Class Notebook add-in for OneNote, which is localized and is releasing in 43 languages today, across 61 worldwide markets, so teachers around the world can try this out immediately!

Introducing the Class Notebook add-in for OneNote 1b

Here are just a few things our users have to say about the Class Notebook add-in:

“Game changing; life changing; awesome.”
—Donna Dupuy, teacher, Appleby CS

“I sat down with a [PE] teacher yesterday to demo the Class Notebook add-in. With every explanation and demo of what the add-in provides, the teacher kept shouting at the top of his voice “NO WAY!!!!” and “SHUT UP!!” and wanting to high-five me constantly! I think we have a winner with this add-in!!”
—Paul Watkins, head of ICT of at Sandfields Comprehensive School, Wales

This desktop add-in (for OneNote 2013 or 2016) enables teachers to save time and work even more efficiently with their Class Notebooks.

Top requested features include:

  • Easy and quick distribution of pages or new sections to students in one or more classes.
  • Individualization through distribution of pages to specified students or student groups.
  • Ability to distribute a single chunk of text, an image or an ink selection to all or specified students in a Class Notebook.
  • Easy and quick copying of sections to the Content Library of one or more Class Notebooks.
  • Rapid sequential reviewing of student work (homework, assignments, quizzes, etc.) in one or more classes.
  • One-click launch of the Class Notebook app, including Create Class Notebook, Invite/Remove Students, Add/Remove Teachers and Get Notebook links.
  • Quick links to useful Professional Development and community resources.

Here are a few highlighted features from the new Class Notebook add-in along with feedback from our virtual group of teachers who piloted it for us. To learn more detailed instructions, please visit the Class Notebook add-in user guide and watch this Office Mix by a teacher showing the key features.

Distribute a page to all of your students with two clicks

The most common piece of feedback we have heard is that teachers want to be able to easily distribute a OneNote page (or pages) to students. This means no more sending students to the Content Library to copy the page themselves. Now a page can be distributed in just two clicks!

Introducing the Class Notebook add-in for OneNote 2b

“Successfully distributed a page from my Content Library to 56 student notebooks in two clicks. Wow! My kids think I’m magic. This saved so much class time!”
—Marcia Daley-Savo, 6th-grade Social Studies teacher for the Katonah Lewisboro School District

Individual and group distribution

To individualize the work given to students, teachers now can distribute a page to specific students rather than everyone in the class. Additionally, educators can define their own groups of students to differentiate the distribution.

Here is an example where a teacher created three different Student Groups and can now choose to copy pages to the Class Notes section of specific groups of students:

Introducing the Class Notebook add-in for OneNote 3b

“I love that I can send pages to my students, especially to select students, which allows me to differentiate pages.”
—Teacher feedback in Class Notebook add-in pilot survey

Review student work

Another common request we heard is that while the ability to look into each student’s private notebook is wonderful, the time it takes to review and give feedback is not always efficient. Now teachers can do rapid sequential reviewing of student work (homework, assignments, quizzes, etc.) in one or more classes with the Review Student Work pane that pops up. Clicking on a student brings up the student page without having to navigate back and forth in the Notebook pane.

Introducing the Class Notebook add-in for OneNote 4b

“I LOVE ‘Review Student Work’ because it allows me to see specific assignments instead of going into each student’s tab, then that assignment, backing out and repeating again. It’s MUCH more efficient.”
—Teacher feedback in Class Notebook add-in pilot survey

Easy launch of the Office 365 Class Notebook app and Professional Development

Teachers told us that they wanted an easy way to launch the Office 365 Class Notebook app right from within OneNote. A common action is to add or remove students in a Class Notebook. Now we’ve made each of the four buttons from the OneNote Class Notebook app available in the Class Notebook add-in toolbar, so a teacher can launch the app with one click.

Introducing the Class Notebook add-in for OneNote 5b

“Instead of opening a web browser myself, clicking the Add Students in the add-in made it very simple.”
Teacher feedback in Class Notebook add-in pilot survey

We also added a button to easily access Professional Development resources that teachers have found useful—like OneNoteForTeachers.com and the new Microsoft Educator Community.

“Love seeing the Professional Development resource within the add-in. I am not always available to answer [the students’] questions, and this will certainly help when they need an answer to a question.”
Teacher feedback in Class Notebook add-in pilot survey

As Tony Prophet, corporate vice president of Microsoft Education Marketing, said in a recent announcement, “We are hard at work to surprise and delight you with great new education experiences—we expect to share more in April, so stay tuned!”

There will be more development from our team to deliver on top requests and unexpected enhancements for educators and students in this timeframe. Since this release is a customer preview, we are very interested in hearing more feedback about how we can improve the Class Notebook add-in experience. Please don’t hesitate to send us feedback at classnotebook@onenote.uservoice.com, which is our new email address to talk directly to the Class Notebook product team.

We’re excited for people to download the Class Notebook add-in, and we can’t wait for educators of the world to try it out. The teachers we have been working with over the past few months have been just as excited.

We hope you agree!

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19 comments
  1. This is a great addition! Will there be something similar for OneNote Staff Notebook?

    • The latest update to the add-in supports Staff Notebooks as well. Just FYI, the add-in treats Staff Notebooks as though they are Class Notebooks, so you might see the add-in mistakenly refer to them as such.

      • Should clarify that – the content distribution and review student work features of the Class Notebook add-in works for both Class and Staff Notebooks (e.g. you can distribute a page from a Class to a Staff Notebook and vice-versa). But the notebook management features of the add-in will only take you to the Class Notebooks app (www.onenote.com/classnotebook). We’ll look to improve this experience

  2. This is a game changer! From an IT perspective, how can I deploy this to my teachers silently without them having to run the installer?

  3. I have installed both Learning Tools and this add-in several times and neither is showing up. It’s disappointing because they both look great. I am an IT Consultant for our school board and I would like to introduce these add ins to our many teachers who are avid OneNote users.

    • Close OneNote and do an office quick repair(select office in programs and features..choose change and select quick repair)….this might fix it.

      • Thanks for the tip, Robert! It worked! I now have both the Learning Tools and ClassNotebook Tab.

        Best Regards,

        Michael

  4. I installed and couldn’t immediately figure out how to use the plugin with an existing notebook. I am very excited about distributing pages to students but will have to play to figure out how to use.

  5. Appreciate the tools on the desktop version of Office 2016 for PC. Could these add-ins be put into future Mac OS X versions of OneNote?

  6. I have downloaded the add in but nothing shows up on my notebook. I am so excited but I need help.

    • Please contact us via UserVoice and we will get you all the help you need

  7. Any chance of there being an .msi file of these to use for group policy distribution?

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