Last time we wrote about using Dictation and Audio Recording in OneNote, including how they can be used to give students efficient, effective and accessible feedback. Today, Day 104 of 365 Ideas for Microsoft 365, we will discuss other options OneNote provides for giving feedback to students.
OneNote gives you many options for how you communicate feedback to your students. This gives teachers flexibility but also allows them to choose the best method for the student and for the assignment. Consider using different methods to match the needs of diverse students.
For the student, there is no difference if the teacher types feedback or dictates. Either will result in typed text placed wherever the cursor is. But for the teacher, depending on whether they are sitting in front of a desktop, laptop, Chromebook, iPad or phone, and whether or not they have a keyboard or a decent microphone, one may be far more efficient than another. Let’s face it, whether you have 30 or over a hundred assignments to grade, that’s going to add up. That in turn is going to affect how much you respond to each student. So can we agree that efficient for the teacher is good for the students?
It is also convenient that, throughout Microsoft Office products, including OneNote, when you right-click on text, a floating bar of text features pops up right where your cursor is. So you don’t need to go up to the ribbon, select a tab, and choose a tool like Bold print or to change the font size. Sure, there’s keyboard shortcuts for some of these features. But my hand is on the mouse, selecting the text to highlight, not on the keyboard. Again, when you have dozens or scores to grade, little things add up.
Feedback through Digital Inking
OneNote is an open canvas. Unlike word processing programs and apps like Word or Docs, you don’t have to space or tab over to write. It’s similar to PowerPoint except you don’t have to insert a text box before you type. The act of typing creates the text box, anywhere, whether you are typing, dictating or audio recording. The same principle holds true for digital inking. OneNote works best on a device with a stylus, which is why I use my Surface Pro so much, but all the inking and drawing features work without a touchscreen. It’s just harder to have nice handwriting with a mouse. (With my handwriting it doesn’t make much difference.)
I was going to say that since OneNote lets you write with a pen anywhere on the page, it is the rare digital tool that lets you provide feedback the way your teachers did- circling, underlining and writing comments, in context, write on your work. However, since OneNote offers pencils, pens and highlighters, each with 5 different size tips and 288 different colors (plus 8 specialty pens), it can actually do that a whole lot better. And it’s all erasable!
Students using Digital Inking
This post is about teachers giving feedback, but when you distribute a page in OneNote Class Notebook, consider all the things students can do with these digital inking tools. Mark up text in their own writing or someone else’s. Color-code rhyme schemes and sound devices in poetry. Suggesting edits in peer review. Don’t you find it easier to do math when you can write, instead of type, your work? (Unless you are typing into a calculator! Although drawing in OneNote can do things typing in a calculator still can’t do!) Label diagrams of atoms, parts of a cell or a plant, draw what you see under the microscope, draw on and label maps. You can insert anything onto a OneNote page, so insert a Word document to ink on. Insert an Excel spreadsheet to mark up (or modify). Insert slides with images from PowerPoint or PDFs.
I’ve lamented with many teachers about how confusing it is to have OneNote and OneDrive having such similar names. It has caused some needless communication headaches. But the name makes sense. This One Notebook has it all. Any way you want to take notes. Any where you want to take notes. Any one you want to share notes with, regardless of what accessibility features they need. OneNote does it all. Speaking of accessibility, click on the view tab to access Immersive Reader for any text on the page, even if it is in an image. (The only exception is inking, unless you click on ink to text, which it will then read.)
One last thing. Everything covered so far works in all three versions of OneNote- OneNote 2016, OneNote app for Windows 10 (what I use most often) and OneNote in Office 365, so you can do all this on a Chromebook. There are still a few features that only exist in OneNote 2016, which Microsoft was going to kill off in favor of the app, but outcry from loyal 2016 users caused Microsoft to change their mind, so it remains. If you want to record a video message for your students, you’ll need to use OneNote 2016.
Search video and audio transcripts
This will place a video wherever the cursor is when you click record audio. Sound familiar? It should. The video recording uses the exact same controls as the audio recording. OneNote 2016 also has a very handy feature in the audio/video settings.
When students conduct a search for specific words in OneNote, they can even search for spoken words in videos and audio recordings.
You probably wouldn’t want to do video recordings very often- consider the other forms of feedback during drafting and revisions, and a congratulatory video at the end. Or, for a student that you have to give a lot of corrective feedback to, or those who are more likely to misunderstand written comments, video might be the best medium.
Remember that OneNote Class Notebooks, and therefore all of these tools, are part of a Class Team. Make the most of them to better reach all your students.
Within 5 minutes of posting this, astute readers @kerszi and @AndrewNRoxanna pointed out I left out stickers! Under the Insert tab, click on Stickers. There are many stickers organized into categories. Many of them are even editable! OneNote can even made feedback fun!
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