How a Macedonian teacher incorporates mobile technologies and OneNote in her classroom

Today post on OneNote was written by Marija Petreska and Hristo Uzunov from a primary school in Drugovo Macedonia.

The one thing my students carry with them at all times is their phones, so I often think of ways they can be used in the service of education. My students use a lot of apps they aren’t aware that can be used for learning—like Instagram for sharing photos and videos, Tumblr for digital vocabulary walls, SoundCloud for building an audio library and finally Office Lens for streamlining class work.

When I first installed Office Lens, I was already using Scannable and CamScanner and thought it was just another pocket scanner, so I didn’t pay much attention to the send to OneNote, Word or OneDrive feature. It was at the Educator Exchange (E2) event that I discovered I can turn an image into text using Office Lens. It was the first thing I tried in my classroom when I got back, since I’ve been having a lot of trouble with our textbooks. Schools in Macedonia give students free textbooks to use for the year. It’s great that they don’t have to buy their own textbooks, but not so great if you are a Math or English teacher because there are a lot of exercises in the textbooks. Since students can’t write the answers in the book they have to rewrite the exercises in their notebooks. You can only imagine how thrilled they were to see how using Office Lens to send a snapshot of an exercise to OneNote allows them to do the exercise in OneNote.

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I could also now attach the audio file from the exercise so everyone could listen to the lesson at their own speed and not together as a class. There isn’t a student in my school who is not using Office Lens and doing their Math and English exercises in OneNote.

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Over the years, I have noticed that when I ask a student to read out loud they start right away, never first reading the text to themselves, check a dictionary or ask me about the pronunciation of some words. If I correct the student, they just go on reading and ignore my input. But if I tell them we are recording, the student will ask for some time to read the passage to themselves, ask their classmates or search for the pronunciation of words using online dictionaries and typically come to me once or twice to make sure they read the word right. If I correct them while recording they will start over. So I made a habit of recording my students reading. I like to use different digital storytelling apps, but we mostly use SoundCloud. Since ten students are recording and posting at the simultaneously it is impossible for me to listen to all of them at the same time and post comments or point out the mispronounced words. So I use an If This Than That (IFTTT) recipe, which automatically sends the students SoundCloud recordings to a OneNote notebook called, My Students Read. Later I can listen to all the recordings and give them feedback. And if they don’t finish their reading on the lesson they can do it at home and every time they publish their recordings it’s saved in my notebook.

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Now all the recordings from the users I follow (make sure you only follow your students) go to My Students Read notebook under the Reading section.

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Another app my students use is Tumblr. There are at least 5 to 10 new words we cover each lesson and we need to find a way to keep track and have them all in one place. So for homework, apart from writing them down a couple of times, (that’s how I got my nickname, Ms. Ten Times) they have to keep an online journal of the unfamiliar words, usually explained with an image or video or quote which makes Tumblr perfect. With the IFTTT recipe, we can easily put all blog posts from the students into one shareable OneNote notebook.

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The posts then go directly to my Vocabulary Wall notebook under the section New Vocabulary, so we have all the new words explained by each student in one place

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The school year ends in less than a month and there will be a lot of traveling, selfies and sunsets that I can later use as a learning activity. Last year, my older students kept observation journals and used an app called Jelly. The activity is very simple; they have to look around any new place they visit and take a snapshot of anything they don’t know the English word for. Over this summer vacation, their only homework will be to take as many photos of the things they can’t name. The only condition is to use the hashtag ‪#‎observationjournals, so all the photos posted with this hashtag are sent to a collaborative OneNote notebook. When they have time for some learning, they can sit down to check out each other’s photos and search for some answers.

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There you have it my three OneNote recipes and the one app that will keep our books new.

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