What’s new with OneNote in the classroom—LMS integrations, Researcher and more stickers

Today, we are rolling out updates for the OneNote Class Notebook add-in, including new Learning Management System (LMS) and Student Information System (SIS) assignment and grade integration for Edsby. To see the full list of over 40 committed education partners, please visit our OneNote Education Partners page. This page also has helpful training videos demonstrating how the OneNote Class Notebook integrates with each of the different LMSes. Read on to learn what’s new in OneNote to help you in the classroom.

OneNote Class Notebook improvements

With this update we made several additions and improvements for the Class Notebook add-in (version 1.7.0), including:

  • Assignment and grade integration with Edsby.
  • Schoology assignment and grade integration improvements.
  • Skooler assignment and grade improvements.

For details on how to attach your OneNote Class Notebook to an LMS or SIS and create assignments and grades, see “Class Notebook add-in getting started guide.”

Add some fun to your notebooks with new sticker packs

One of the most popular education features we’ve added to OneNote over the past year has been stickers! We’ve seen teachers use and customize stickers in lots of fun and personalized ways. Today, we are launching two new sticker packs: Silly Supplies and Cacti Friends.

Screenshot of new sticker packs, including Silly Supplies and Cacti Friends.

Improve reading comprehension with Learning Tools updates

We’re also rolling out a new version of the OneNote Desktop Learning Tools add-in (version 1.4.0), which improves reading comprehension by:

  • Improved Syllables accuracy for English.
  • Added Syllables functionality for four new languages—French, German, Italian and Spanish.
  • Improved word detection and highlighting for Chinese and Japanese.
  • Transition to HelpShift for Support email.

Noun, verb and adjective highlighting will be coming to Spanish, French, German and Italian later this summer.

More updates to support you in the classroom

Find credible sources and content right within OneNote—Researcher is now rolling out in OneNote, making it easy for you to research your essay topic, create outlines and add sources—all without leaving the app. This means you can stay focused and save time, all while researching your topic. Researcher in OneNote for Windows 10 requires an Office 365 subscription, and is also available in Word on Windows desktops and Macs.

Researcher is being shown in OneNote for Windows 10 alongside an outline being crafted on economic trade theory. The Researcher pane is opened, the term “global economy” is typed into the search box, and results for related material are sifted through. A specific article is selected, a piece of text is highlighted and copied with a single click into the OneNote outline.

Take your Class Notebooks with you—Now you can save a copy of your notebook to your work or personal OneDrive. We know students or teachers move schools and classes; now your notes don’t have to be left behind at the end of the school year. Learn how in just a few steps.

Redesigned OneNote for Windows 10 now available—Last month, we announced the new design for OneNote, which enhanced usability for those who use assistive technologies, simplified navigation controls and created consistency across devices. Now it is fully available on OneNote for Windows 10.

See how schools are already benefitting from switching to OneNote for Windows 10:

That’s a wrap on OneNote for June. Stay tuned for more this summer! To get OneNote, leave a suggestion or ask for help, follow these links:

—Scott Shapiro, product marketing manager for the OneNote team

The humble checkbox

Today’s post was written by Sarah Bau, a Year 4/5 teacher for Our Lady Grace School in Australia.

I love a good checklist. There’s something very satisfying about making a list and checking off each item as I go. The humble checkbox is one of the first things that I discovered about OneNote—and it’s still one of my favorites.

When I began using the OneNote Class Notebook, I quickly realized that my students also get a lot of satisfaction out of checking off tasks as they finish them. Breaking tasks down into smaller sections, each with its own checkbox, helped my students with planning difficulties—such as those with autism, dyslexia and processing disorders. Projects or inquiries, which went over several lessons, became less daunting to these students because they could reopen their OneNote at the start of each lesson and see exactly where they were at a glance.

My students also became more proficient at checking over their work. One student hit upon an idea, which I had her teach to the rest of the class. Once she completed a task, she went back and unchecked all the checkboxes, then she went back through her work and rechecked all of the boxes to make sure that she hadn’t missed anything! This idea quickly took off, and I saw a dramatic decrease in the number of times where I had to tell a student, “Please go back and do this section; you skipped it.”

But I really hit checkbox gold when I began incorporating them into my assessment rubrics. We have a big emphasis on making learning visible at Our Lady of Grace School, so rubrics are always given to students with the initial assignment information. We go through the rubric at the start of the unit. Students have their own copies to look over as they work. I have taught them to refer to the rubric throughout their assignment so that they can make sure they are on track and have given themselves the best opportunity for success. Changing the layout of the rubric slightly allowed me to add the checkboxes. The students were then able to self-assess their work as they went—ensuring that they had met each assessment criteria.

My students use these rubrics in a variety of ways. One of my students told me that he makes sure that he has covered each assessment criteria to a “C” standard (average), and then goes back over his work and attempts to improve upon each assessment criteria—beginning with the criteria that are worth the most points. This student was just eight when we had this conversation! Not only is he using rubrics and checkboxes in a sophisticated manner, but he is also using the checkboxes as a time-management tool!

With my encouragement, students are permitted to have another student give them feedback on an assignment before submitting their work to me. They copy their page to the Collaboration Space, where another student reads and assesses their work using a copied and pasted rubric. The student attaches their peer assessment to their own work and attempts to make improvements before submitting to me.

When I assess their work, I copy and paste the rubric into my Assessment notebook, adjust the checkboxes as necessary and write a comment. I then take a screenshot of the whole lot and paste it back into the student’s page. This way there can be no “accidental” changes made to the checkboxes after I have assessed, and I have a record in my own OneNote that cannot be tampered with.

I give my students time to review their completed assessments and to set goals on which areas they will work to improve in their future work. As OneNote allows students to sign in to their OneNote Class Notebook anywhere, I encourage my students to share their learning achievements with their parents at home. Parents and students love the accessibility of OneNote and the prompt feedback that it provides. Using checkboxes in rubrics with OneNote has enabled my students to become independent in their learning, proficient at peer assessment, better at time-management skills and reflective in their own learning. Not to mention they have the added satisfaction of checking off work as they complete it!

—Sarah Bau

Join our #OneNoteQ TweetMeet on the first Tuesday of every month to learn from the OneNote experts on Twitter. Visit the Microsoft Education blog for details.

Immersive Reader comes to Outlook on the web and the OneNote for Windows 10 app, and expands its global reach

In February, we announced the availability of the Microsoft Learning Tools Immersive Reader on Word Online and OneNote Online. As a result of customer demand, we are pleased to announce that Immersive Reader is now available for Outlook.com, Outlook on the web and the OneNote Windows 10 app. Immersive Reader includes a view that utilizes techniques proven to help people read more effectively, such as:

  • Read Aloud—Reads text out loud with simultaneous highlighting that improves decoding, fluency and comprehension while sustaining the reader’s focus and attention.
  • Spacing—Optimizes font spacing in a narrow column view to improve reading fluency for users with visual crowding issues.
  • Syllables—Shows the breaks between syllables to enhance word recognition and decoding.
  • Parts of Speech—Supports writing instruction and grammar comprehension by identifying verbs, nouns and adjectives.

In addition to the Immersive Reader rollout across new apps and platforms, we are also adding new language and geographic availability for the Read Aloud, Syllables and Parts of Speech features. This expanded language support—coming to Word Online, OneNote Online, Outlook on the web and the OneNote Windows 10 app—will allow more customers across the world to experience the benefits of both the Learning Tools and the Immersive Reader. For the OneNote Desktop Learning Tools add-in, we are launching Japanese dictation, plus bug fixes and other small improvements. See all of the details at the Learning Tools language support page.

And finally, we are excited to announce the availability of Try it out—an updated and enhanced capability on the recently redesigned Microsoft Learning Tools landing page. Try it out allows anyone to quickly and easily try out the Immersive Reader, without needing an Office 365 ID or a Microsoft account. We hope these announcements enable more people to read in a way that works best for them, and we look forward to hearing impactful stories from more of you, such as this story about empowering students to read in a new way.

Immersive Reader brings increased accessibility to Outlook on the web

In talking with customers, a common request we heard was to bring the same Immersive Reader capabilities of Word Online and OneNote Online to those accessing Outlook via the web. Starting today, the Immersive Reader will begin rolling out to Outlook.com and Outlook on the web worldwide.

There are several ways to launch the Immersive Reader in Outlook on the web or Outlook.com:

  • On any received message, select the Reply all drop-down and then select Show in immersive reader.
  • Right-click any message and select Show in immersive reader.
  • From the main message view, click the and select Show in immersive reader.

The new Immersive Reader for Outlook on the web and Outlook.com will be available in many languages and countries. Visit the Learning Tools language support page to learn more.

Immersive Reader comes to the OneNote Windows 10 app

Since the release of Learning Tools for OneNote Desktop, many customers have asked for these same capabilities in our OneNote Windows 10 app. With the June OneNote Windows 10 app update, the Immersive Reader will be available to all customers via the View menu and will be pre-installed.

In the OneNote for Windows 10 app, a red square highlights the Immersive Reader button located under the View menu.

The new Immersive Reader in OneNote Windows 10 will be available in many languages and countries. Visit the Learning Tools language support page to learn more.

Expanding the global reach of the Immersive Reader

Since the Immersive Reader rolled out to Word Online and OneNote Online in February, customers all over the world asked us to expand these capabilities to more languages. Today, we are pleased to announce that Read Aloud is now available in 14 new languages and geographies, including:

  • Arabic (Saudi Arabia)
  • Czech
  • English (Ireland)
  • French (Switzerland)
  • German (Austria)
  • German (Switzerland)
  • Greek
  • Hebrew
  • Hindi
  • Hungarian
  • Indonesian
  • Romanian
  • Slovak
  • Thai

In addition, the Syllables feature is being added to four languages: Hungarian, Indonesian, Romanian and Slovak.

Finally, the Parts of Speech feature for German, Italian and Dutch will be enabled for Word Online, OneNote Online and Outlook on the web in the next few weeks. Norwegian, Swedish, Finnish, Danish and Brazilian Portuguese languages will be available later this summer.

Visit the Learning Tools language support page to see the current list of languages for the Immersive Reader.

Try it out—the updated and enhanced landing page for Learning Tools

With the recent interest and popularity of the Learning Tools and the Immersive Reader, we wanted to allow anyone to quickly try out the functionality through any web browser and experience all its benefits and features. We recently updated our Learning Tools landing page with the Try it out function that immediately launches the Immersive Reader. You can also put your own custom text in and try it out. The new Try it out feature supports 39 languages, so people from around the world can immediately experience the Immersive Reader.

Image shows "Try it out" button displayed on the Learning Tools landing page. Image is linked to the Learning Tools landing page.

Japanese dictation language added to the OneNote Desktop Learning Tools add-in

Support for Japanese dictation on OneNote Desktop has been added, in addition to bug fixes and stability improvements to the add-in. You can grab the latest version (v1.3) of the OneNote Desktop Learning Tools add-in on the Microsoft Learning Tools page.

In the OneNote Desktop, the Japanese dictation option is selected under the Dictate menu.

You can download the Learning Tools at www.onenote.com/learningtools. Send any feedback to LearningTools@onenote.uservoice.com or reach out on Twitter: @OneNoteEDU.

—The OneNote team

OneNote Class Notebook assignment and grading support comes to Blackbaud and eSchoolData

Over a year ago, we launched the OneNote Class Notebook add-in, with assignment and grade integration, connected to a Learning Management System (LMS) and Student Information System (SIS). Teachers from all over the world have connected OneNote Class Notebooks with their systems. We have heard requests for additional LMSes and SISes to be supported. The OneNote Class Notebook now integrates assignments and grades with over 40 LMSes and SISes—with more on the way.

With today’s OneNote Class Notebook add-in update, we are rolling out new LMS assignment and grade integration for Blackbaud onCampus and eSchoolData. To see the full list of committed education partners, please visit our OneNote Education Partners page. This page also has helpful training videos demonstrating how Class Notebooks integrate with each of the different LMSes and SISes.

Additions and improvements for the Class Notebook add-in, version 1.6.0.0, include:

  • Assignment and grade integration with Blackbaud onCampus.

Additional developments include:

  • Assignment and grade improvements for Google Classroom.
  • Bug fixes and stability improvements.

For details on how to attach your OneNote Class Notebook to a LMS or SIS and create assignments and grades, see “Class Notebook add-in getting started guide.”

As usual, please send any feedback you have directly to the team at OneNoteEDU@microsoft.com!

—The OneNote team

How to make toast using OneNote

Today’s post was written by Cathy Quigan, Digital Learning Technology teacher at Sacred Heart Girls’ College.

I teach Digital Technologies from Year 8 to Year 13 at a girls’ high school with 700 students. As part of the curriculum, I teach everything from basic document formatting and spreadsheets to programming, web and game design. I try to give the students a broad base of skills, so each year focuses on a different project of the student’s choice. At the beginning of the year we discuss issues that are relevant to them—such as how the work that they do is recognized by the school—and we come up with ways we can address these issues using IT skills. The solutions are always varied, so that at any given year level, I can be teaching up to three very different sets of skills.

In addition, due to the lack of students choosing technology as a subject, I have several classes with different year levels in the same computer lab, at the same time. For example, in one class I have Year 10, Year 11 and Year 12 students, who have a variety of skills. Currently, my Year 10 students are working on projects that involve word processing and graphing survey results, Year 11 students are learning to construct a basic program and Year 12 students are designing print media and websites.

My Year 12 students are spread across two different classes. I have two students in my mixed class above, and I teach the rest of these students at the same time as my Year 13 students, at a different time.

It becomes clear then that teaching and learning in my classroom needs to be organized and individualized.

OneNote allows for this.

Each year group has a OneNote Class Notebook set up with tasks to complete either individually or in collaboration with others.

These OneNote Notebooks contain resources and instructions, allowing students to work independently, at their own pace. Year 12 students, who work in separate classes, all have access to the same teaching and, seeing as all the discussions and group work is recorded (either in written or audio form) in the Collaboration Space, no one misses out on any of the teachable moments.

Another benefit of the OneNote Class Notebook is that I can store resources like tutorials, links and how-to guides, so that students can access them at their own pace as and when they need them.

This allows them to be self-sufficient while I work with other students.

Using OneNote to make toast

However, the one thing that I try to make sure of in my classes is that not all the tasks are computer-based. While accessing resources and working independently is an important skill, it can get boring. I ensure that I include some tasks that require the students to be physically active, talking and/or collaborating. This allows them to engage with each other and the content in a more authentic way. And this is how they learned to make…

In this activity, Year 11 students used OneNote to deconstruct a problem into small steps. This is a well-known activity that is often carried out using Post-it notes. However, with two other year groups working in the same space, OneNote allowed the students to work collaboratively but, at the same time, quietly. This activity was their initial introduction to programming, although they were not yet aware of this. Following some confused looks and wondering whether I had lost my marbles, their first task was to draw the steps for making toast individually on a page in the Collaboration Space.

They then had to work together, in the Collaboration Space, without speaking, to put together the best sequence of steps to explain how to make toast.

This allowed them to identify any issues (bugs) in their thought processes and to identify where the process could be more efficient. It also forced them to improvise and communicate in different ways instead of their normal verbal cues and hand gestures. Students began to get an idea of clarity and efficiency in giving instructions.

At different points throughout all the activities, we give feedback. Given the nature of the mixed class, this is not always possible to do face-to-face, so we use Microsoft Forms embedded in OneNote to record their thoughts and come back to discuss them later.

The second task they completed focused on giving instructions. Students had to give clear instructions for others to follow to make their way through a maze. In this way, they gained understanding of the “language” that computers “speak” before being introduced to any specific terminology.

For this activity, each student drew a maze, as above, in the Collaboration Space. A second student wrote out the directions to get through the maze using only arrows.

A third student read these instructions out loud while the others drew them. We took to the chalk and pavement, as it was right outside my classroom window, so I could still supervise. But this would have worked equally well if carried out in OneNote using Surface Pro or another digital inking device. Even (dare I say it…) on paper!

Completing this activity was a great time for feedback. Realizing that they have drawn different shapes even though they have received the exact same set of instructions and working out why this happened is key to understanding programming. Commands must be specific and precise if they are to be followed accurately by an inanimate computer that has no understanding of nuances.

It is only at this point that the students began to actually look at coding. Using Sphero robotic balls and Lightning Lab on their mobile phones, the students converted their instructions into block-based Oval programming language.

This allowed them to see their instructions in action. They got to see the blocks of code and the kinds of instructions a computer will need to complete a set task, in this case, directing the Spero around the maze. Over time, by comparing different sets of instructions, they also learn the value of efficiency in programming.

It also boosted their level of engagement. Who wouldn’t like to play with robotic balls at school and call it “learning?” I didn’t need to refocus their attention very often.

The assessment for this course required the students to construct a basic program for a specified task. They decided to choreograph the Spheros to a piece of music. They used the Collaboration Space to collate their planning so that they all had a record of what they needed to construct.

Students wrote their individual programs themselves and came together to test the movement.

They went from programming novices to a coding choreographers in a matter of weeks with very little coaching from me. Having resources and activities prepared in OneNote made it easy for the students to thrive in the mixed-level classroom. The students were engaged, autonomous and motivated. And it all started with making toast.

—Cathy Quigan

Note-taking made easier for everyone—redesigning OneNote

Today, we are excited to announce that we updated the design of OneNote for Windows 10, Mac, iOS, Android and OneNote Online. These design features, rolling out over the coming weeks, include three key areas of focus:

  • Enhancing usability for those who use assistive technologies.
  • Simplifying navigation controls.
  • Creating consistency across devices.

View this video with audio descriptions here.

Enhanced usability for all

As Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said, “We will focus on designing and building products that our customers love and that are accessible to everyone and built for each of us.” In this update, we focused on making OneNote more usable for those with disabilities—such as vision and mobility impairments. We interviewed hundreds of people and analyzed product telemetry to understand how to improve keyboard shortcuts and the screen reader experience. We’re excited to share a vastly improved user experience in these two areas.

Now you can more easily use OneNote with keyboard shortcuts.

Simplified navigation

We worked with users to learn how we could improve the navigation layout—especially for larger notebooks with more sections. Now, the navigation controls are all in one area on the left-hand side of the app. This allows users to easily switch between their notes and dramatically improves usability with assistive technologies. With the new consolidated and simplified design, screen readers can easily navigate through the app to help those with disabilities. In addition, content is front and center—helping students to focus and avoid distractions.

Screenshot of OneNote’s new design showing the navigation all on the left hand side. The columns are labeled from left to right: Notebooks, Sections, Pages.

Consistency across devices

Today, OneNote users often use a range of devices. Having a cohesive user experience across all screens makes it simple for users to jump from one device to the next. With this update, regardless of what device someone is using, the experience will be the same—allowing users to capture thoughts, jot down notes and get things done more quickly. This update is also exciting for schools, where device variety is increasingly common. Students will now be able to easily transition between their home and school devices, keeping them focused on their school work. Steve Sawczyn, a OneNote user with visual impairments emphasized the benefits, “I love that between devices it just works, so I can focus on taking notes and not logistics. This is truly awesome and empowering.”

Image of OneNote across three different devices: Computer, tablet and phone. Screen shows that OneNote is a consistent experience and available across multiple devices.

OneNote is available with a consistent experience across devices.

The new redesign for OneNote is rolling out for Windows 10, Mac, iOS, Android and OneNote Online over the coming weeks. Check out our help article for support and to learn more about the specifics of OneNote’s update.

To get OneNote for free, leave a suggestion or ask for help, follow these links:

—March Rogers, OneNote director of design

OneNote helps all students succeed in inclusive learning environments

Today’s post was written by Jameson Lee, assistive technology coordinator of Special Education at the Catholic District School Board in Eastern Ontario.

At the start of the school year, our special education team established the goal to deepen the purposeful use of technology to support struggling students—especially for those with special education needs and disabilities. This goal was based on the belief that all students should have an opportunity to be part of an inclusive learning environment, where diversity is embraced, celebrated and valued by all members of the school community.

To identify specific strategies and tools to improve learning for all students, we needed to prioritize students first and technology tools second. We initially focused our efforts on understanding the needs of our students by digging deeper into their learning profile with careful attention on the students’ individual strengths and abilities. If we approached teaching and learning by starting with what each child could do and then pairing it with specific technology tools, we believed we could reach all our learners.

Approaching teaching and learning with the belief everyone can succeed gives every student an equal opportunity to reach their full potential. Using OneNote, Learning Tools and Office Lens, we have the confidence to reach all types of learners who require a range of carefully selected tools based on their strengths and abilities. Our classrooms need to be inclusive places, where all students belong, can contribute and are empowered to achieve more—OneNote makes that possible.

—Jameson Lee

Read Jameson’s full story, “Creating inclusive classrooms with the help of OneNote,” on the Microsoft Education blog.

OneNote Class Notebook updates include read-only parent or guardian access and Collaboration Space permissions

Over the last year, our team has been working with and listening to educators to learn how they are using OneNote Class Notebooks. We are continuously impressed by the passion and creativity of teachers and students who are using our tools. A common theme we heard was how OneNote continues to save teachers time and enhance collaboration in the classroom. In our conversations, we learned that parents and guardians are also curious to learn more about OneNote to help engage with their students’ learning progress.

To address the top requests we heard from teachers, administrators and parents/guardians, we’re pleased to announce the release of four new features in OneNote Class Notebook:

Parent or guardian access to Class Notebook (read-only links)—Teachers now can quickly and easily generate read-only links to both the Content Library and individual student notebooks. A parent or guardian can click the link to open OneNote on the web and view their student’s notebook. The teacher can also easily remove these notebook links if desired. This new capability is located under the Manage Notebooks area of the Class Notebook. To try the new parent and guardian features, a school simply needs to have guest access enabled for their Office 365 site. Find additional details here.

Parent or guardian access APIs—We have created new partner APIs for third-party companies such as Parent Portals, Learning Management Systems (LMS) and Student Information Systems (SIS) to programmatically generate read-only links to the Content Library for specific classes and students. For example, a Parent Portal company might use this API to generate a read-only link to the Class Notebook for each student and then surface that link for the parent of the student. For third-party partners interested in this new integration, read more in this MSDN article.

Permissions in the Collaboration Space—Teachers can now sub-divide the Collaboration Space—based on student permissions that the teacher assigns for each section—into groups allowing project-based learning (PBL), among many other new scenarios. This new permission, located under the Manage Notebooks area of the Class Notebook, enables a teacher to create specific sections in the Collaboration Space assigned to specific students.

For example, say you have four groups of six students each. The teacher assigns each group of students to a specific section. Group 1 can work together in the Group 1 section, but cannot see that the Group 2Group 3 or Group 4 sections exist in the Collaboration Space. This is similar to how in Class Notebook students cannot see each other’s private notebooks.

Or, if you have four groups of six students each, then each group of students is assigned to a specific section. Group 1 can co-author in the Group 1 section but the teacher checks a read-only box so students can see the other groups, but cannot change anything in the Group 2Group 3 or Group 4 sections.

Delete student content when removing permissions—Often, a teacher will want to a remove a student from the notebook and delete their content and folder at the same time. Now, the Remove Student feature has a checkbox teachers can select to delete student content from the Class Notebook at the same time permissions are being removed.

We hope you enjoy using the newest features in OneNote Class Notebook, and as always, we look forward to your suggestions, feedback and comments on our UserVoice page.

—The OneNote team

OneNote—one school, one stop

Today’s post was written by Michelle Moore, professional development liaison for Hillsborough County Public Schools.

Teachers need feedback for growth just like our students. Yet, any administrator will tell you there’s simply not enough time to visit classrooms and provide teachers with meaningful and effective feedback in a timely manner.

As a professional development liaison, I travel to K-12 schools in Hillsborough County and see what support systems are in place for teacher growth. At almost every site, I see administrators struggling with the same issues—high teacher to admin ratio and the tendency to get pulled into fixing operations issues. Very rarely does the administrator get to visit classrooms to provide teachers with meaningful feedback.

Enter Microsoft to save the day.

Bellamy Elementary School was selected last year to become a pilot 1:1 school. It was the perfect fit—a Title I school with an amazing group of teachers and administrators to support students. I was excited to see how access to technology would affect student achievement.

But before the school year started and before students got their devices, my mind was blown.

Introducing the OneNote Staff Notebook

Dr. Lazarus (principal) and Dr. Seits (assistant principal) at Bellamy, wanted to increase communication and collaboration among their teachers. They decided since most teachers planned on using OneNote in the classroom, they would create a Staff Notebook for the staff. We wanted them to use the Collaboration Space and Content Library permissions as well as “push” things out using the Class Notebook add-in.

They also wanted the Staff Notebook to be the “hub” where teachers could go for anything related to the school. Dr. Seits had a genius idea. They would replace the paper feedback form teachers received in their mailboxes with a digital version added to their private OneNote notebook. In addition, the Staff Notebook gave teachers a way to digitally access faculty agendas and professional development materials, as well as input school-wide data and so much more.

Microsoft Forms as a tool for teacher feedback

But how could administration track the implementation of professional development and trends in teaching across grade levels? How could they give teachers meaningful feedback in a way that felt like a conversation, without taking the time to meet with each teacher individually every week?

I wish I could say I was the mastermind behind using Microsoft Forms, but that was all Dr. Seits. She had the vision of what was possible, I just had to show her a few clicks to get her going.

A “Walkthrough” form was created for each grade level, so the administration could reference feedback data by grade levels teams. The Walkthrough form for the grade level had some similar components based on the instructional focus for the year. See Dr. Seits’s Example Walkthrough form.

The administration fills out the form each time they visit a classroom. Shortcuts on their smartphones made it easy to access the form.

At the end of each day, the data is copy/pasted into the individual teacher’s private notebook. There is even a column for the teacher to write any comments on the feedback given. Once a quarter, the data from each form is copy/pasted into the grade level section of the OneNote Notebook, so teachers can meet and celebrate kudos, as well as discuss how to tackle any weaknesses.

OneNote and Forms are revolutionizing the way of work at Bellamy Elementary School. It’s not about working harder, but working smarter. Yes, the administrators are still busy with other things. Yes, they still have to schedule time to visit classrooms. But Forms is making the most of the time they are in the classroom, and OneNote ensures teachers are collaborating and growing from those visits.

—Michelle Moore

Michelle Moore is a professional development liaison for Hillsborough County Public Schools. Before leaving the classroom, she taught high school English, Reading and Journalism courses. She began her educational career in 2008 after graduating from the University of Tampa with a B.S. in Secondary Education-English.

She hopes to improve teaching practices in Hillsborough County through effective professional development and creating a community of learners.

Graph math equations with Ink math assistant in OneNote for Windows 10

Last summer we introduced Ink math assistant in OneNote—a digital tutor that gives you step-by-step instructions on how to solve your handwritten math problems. Today, we are excited to announce that Ink math assistant can draw graphs of your equations, all within OneNote for Windows 10.

Now, when you write your math equations, the Ink math assistant quickly plots an interactive graph to help you visualize those difficult math concepts. You can zoom in and move the graph to observe intersection points or change values of parameters in your equations to better understand how each of them reflects on the graph. Finally, you can save a screenshot of the graph directly to your page to revisit it later.

Five steps to graph an equation in OneNote

  1. Begin by writing your equation. For example: y=x+3 or y=sin(x)+cos(2x).
  2. Next, use Lasso tool to select the equation and then, on the Draw tab, click the Math button.
  3. From the drop-down menu in Math pane, select the option to Graph in 2D. You can play with the interactive graph of your equation—use a single finger to move the graph position or two fingers to change the zoom level.
  4. Use + and buttons to change the values of the parameters in your equation.
  5. Finally, click the Insert on Page button to add a screenshot of the graph to your page.

Availability: Ink math assistant is available in OneNote for Windows 10, for Office 365 subscribers.

As always, we would love to hear your feedback, so please make comments below or suggest and vote on future ideas on OneNote UserVoice page.

For more information, check out our support page.

—Mina Spasic, program manager for the Math team

OneNote Class Notebook supports English Language Learners at Klein Forest High School

Klein Forest High School is located in Houston, Texas. Our student body is about 3,700 students; our faculty and staff total approximately 500, and we are 1:1. We have an on-campus repair center that services our devices, but they do not teach teachers and students how to use software. That’s where we step in. As the instructional specialists in technology on campus, it is our responsibility to ensure that teachers and students can utilize the technology effectively for teaching and learning.

We first saw OneNote Class Notebook while attending the TCEA annual technology conference last February. We attended an amazing session called Personalizing Student Learning with the OneNote Class Notebook. We were in love with so many features of the class notebook, but what sold us was Learning Tools because of our high English Language Learner (ELL) population.

OneNote Class Notebook supports English Language Learners 1

As our campus struggled to step away from excessive paper copies in our 1:1 environment, administrators asked us for solutions utilizing our technology more effectively. We knew OneNote was a perfect solution. Before we could sell it, we had to become experts ourselves. So, we created a Class Notebook for our 13-member, cross-content specialist PLC. Our PLC was a team of guinea pigs. Once we gained confidence in the tool, we were ready to bring it to the staff. Like any school, our teaching staff contains all kinds—from technophobes to tech enthusiasts. Knowing that, we asked a few tech enthusiasts to pilot OneNote Class Notebook with their students. This way we would have tried and true testimonials for our technophobes from within the building.

This Sway showcases the use of OneNote at Klein Forest High School.

Just like we expected, they LOVED it. One staff member, an English IV teacher, used it with her students and immediately gravitated to the collaboration space. She had her students revise and edit each other’s essays and then leave quality feedback using the Record Audio feature. Her students asked her, “Why haven’t you been using this all year?”

OneNote Class Notebook supports English Language Learners 2

Another staff member, an ELL teacher, used it with his students who are new to the country and learning the English language. He was drawn to the Learning Tools add-in. He saw vast improvements in the students’ writing and language acquisition over time. He even made some tutorial videos as a supplemental resource for our teachers ready to jump in. A third staff member, a math co-teacher, used Class Notebook with his SPED students. He, too, liked the Learning Tools, but he loved how easy it was to organize. This proved to be extremely beneficial for his population because it made providing individual accommodations easier. Additionally, the teachers provided us feedback about potential obstacles, which allowed us to anticipate problems and have possible solutions readily available.

To prepare for our summer trainings, we decided to actively “promote” OneNote. We visited PLC meetings, made infographics, emailed the details out and posted on our website. During the summer of 2016, we provided professional development for our staff introducing OneNote and had them participate as students using a Class Notebook that we had created. Most of them fell in love with it on the spot. We also had the teachers who piloted OneNote during the previous year assist with staff development for additional buy-in.

OneNote Class Notebook supports English Language Learners 3

Once school started this August, things got off to a slower start than we anticipated. Teachers were falling into old habits. Therefore, we decided to switch our approach from marketing to grassroots. We targeted specific teachers who we felt were catalysts, teachers that would share our sentiments. This proved to be successful because—just like we suspected—it spread like wildfire!

Teachers and other campuses within our district began contacting us about OneNote daily. Soon, our district’s chief learning officer asked us to do a guest blog post in The Exchange, an in-district blog. As you can imagine, we were pumped.

One question that always emerges is how we support our teachers with OneNote. The first thing we do is schedule two appointments with the teachers. We have found that initial and ongoing support are a huge indicator of success, especially for teachers that are weary about trying a new tool. OneNote can be daunting for some. Additionally, we provide supplemental trainings like Using OneNote for Accommodations or OneNote Tips and Tricks for people at various places in their OneNote journey. Another way we support teachers is sharing and showcasing their efforts and ideas on our website. Lastly, we ensure we follow up with teachers frequently, whether it is a quick conversation in the hall or an email asking, “How’s OneNote going?”

OneNote Class Notebook supports English Language Learners 4

OneNote has been an excellent tool for our struggling students and co-teach classes. A few accommodations we have seen incorporated into OneNote are Read Aloud, enlarged text, graphic organizers, to-do list and use of calculator. (Did you know OneNote can solve simple equations?) OneNote helps students who may struggle with learning disabilities to keep their work organized because the teacher can distribute the work to their notebooks. Students are not losing or misplacing their work anymore. The differentiation of assignments is also made easy with the Distribute Page tool. Teachers can send out different assignments based on the needs of the students within the same class. Teachers also can watch the students work on their own computers and offer direct feedback during and after the assignment.

OneNote Class Notebook supports English Language Learners 5

OneNote Class Notebook has been a powerful addition to our technology toolbox. OneNote Class Notebook integrates with many different programs and, lucky for us, it integrates with both our LMS and SIS. OneNote Class Notebook integrates with our LMS, which means it can automatically enroll students in the OneNote Class Notebook—one less thing for teachers to do. Another nice integration is our SIS/gradebook. Our teachers can grade an assignment in OneNote, and with the click of a button, have those grades automatically added to their gradebook.

What we have learned in the last 10 months is that OneNote can work for everyone. We have just about every subject represented, from our math teachers to our dance teachers. We have also learned that initial and follow-up support are important for continued success. There are so many awesome features in OneNote, and it can be intimidating for some when trying to show them everything up front. We try to scaffold them as we continue to follow up with our teachers. Without a doubt, OneNote has positively impacted our campus instructionally, for teachers and students alike.

—TaMara Breaux and Scott Howe, instructional specialists at Klein Forest High School in Houston, Texas

Learning Tools for Word Online and OneNote Online now available, plus new languages

We are pleased to share that Learning Tools are now available in new languages to all customers with Office 365 or a personal OneDrive account. Previously, we announced that we would deliver Learning Tools to Word Online and OneNote Online, so users on any device can experience the same reading and writing benefits people see using Learning Tools for OneNote. To access these new Learning Tools in Word Online or OneNote Online, go to the View menu and click Immersive Reader. In addition, Learning Tools for Word 2016 has Learning Tools built into Read Mode.

Learning Tools includes a modified reader view that utilizes techniques proven to help people read more effectively, such as:

  • Read Aloud—Reads text aloud with simultaneous highlighting that improves decoding, fluency and comprehension while sustaining the reader’s focus and attention.
  • Spacing—Optimizes font spacing in a narrow column view to improve reading fluency for users who suffer from visual crowding issues.
  • Syllables—Shows the breaks between syllables to enhance word recognition and decoding.
  • Parts of Speech*—Supports writing instruction and grammar comprehension by identifying verbs, nouns and adjectives.

The Immersive Reader features help everyone on any device improve their reading skills, including those with dyslexia, dysgraphia, ADHD, emerging readers or a combination of the broad range of unique student abilities.

To get started, check out our support page.

Learning Tools for Word Online and OneNote Online now available 1

Additionally, Learning Tools are available in more languages, including new Text-to-Speech languages and voices, Syllables languages, and Parts of Speech.*

We look forward to hearing about the impact of Learning Tools on students or anyone who uses the tools to read and write more effectively in the applications they love!

*Parts of Speech and Comprehension mode are not available in Learning Tools Immersive Reader for Word desktop.