In case you don’t know, Microsoft OneNote is a digital binder.  It’s great for note taking, organization, and portfolio.  It has some of the best accessibility tools imaginable (how many other digital platforms have both text to speech and speech to text built in? And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.)

Welcome to Day 6 of 365 Ideas for Office 365. This week we will transition from ideas for PowerPoint to OneNote Notebooks.

If you’ve never used it, here’s what it looks like, in all three versions (OneNote 2016 program, OneNote app, and OneNote online.  There is also a more advanced type of OneNote Notebook, a Class Notebook, that functions like a Google Classroom with a lot more tools built in, but we’ll look at that another day.

Over the next week, and periodically over the next year, I’ll highlight different features of OneNote and show how to access those tools.  Today, I’d just like to share uses for OneNote.

What is OneNote?

As I mentioned earlier, OneNote is a digital binder.  So it’s a great place to collect, organize, store and retrieve information.

One of OneNote’s first uses in schools is as a digital portfolio.  You can insert or embed pretty much anything in OneNote, and organize by Notebook, Section Group, Section, and Page.

Example uses

This year we have a middle school English Language Arts teacher having her students use OneNote as their writing portfolio.  Even though last year they had physical portfolios, they can add digital copies of last year’s work, if they have them, and if not, they can ad images of their handwritten work to OneNote.  This teacher currently uses Google Classroom, but as a final location their writings are stored in OneNote.

Probably the most frequent use of OneNote in our district is for email storage.  Outlook allows you to send multiple emails at one time to the same section in OneNote.  Each email becomes a page in that section.  They can then be deleted from Outlook to free up space.  In OneNote, the attachments open, links are clickable, and One Note’s search tools are so good, you can even search for the text inside a picture inside an email!

Personal uses

I have OneNote on my phone and use it for shopping lists and to do lists.

I use OneNote to take sermon notes on Sunday morning, including taking pictures of slides to embed right onto the page.  I use OneNote to prepare to teach Sunday School.  Right now we’re going through a book that doesn’t come with discussion questions.  I take a picture of each page, annotate the pictures and add questions, all in OneNote.  This then becomes my staging point to add that content to slides in PowerPoint.  After I’ve done all the heavy lifting in OneNote, I just copy and paste into PowerPoint.

I collect all the components of these blog posts in OneNote.  I write the text here, insert screenshots and video clips.  Once again, when I am ready to post, I just copy and paste.

My kids use OneNote at college, where they can click (audio) record, and start typing or writing lecture notes.  When they go back to the notes later, instead of one long audio recording, they can go to anywhere on the page that they wrote, and click the speaker icon in that location, and just hear the audio form the moment they took those notes.  Go to a different spot on the page and listen to the audio that goes with those notes.

Looking Ahead

In future posts we’ll look at the incomparable reading, math and translation tools the Microsoft OneNote team has blessed us with. 

I hope you’ll stick around and see some of the incredible things you and your students can do with OneNote.

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If you like this style of directions and screenshots, walking you through ideas for using Microsoft tools in your classroom, check out my book,

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