Tag Archives: OneNote

Week 3 OneNote and Classnote books

This week I thought I would add some comments to the blog on OneNote and the class notebook add in.

I have been using OneNote workbooks with my classes to provide the learning materials.  This has involved creating and adapting learning materials for the National 5 and Higher physics pupils.   The workbooks are divided into sections based upon the topic.  Here is a snip from OneNote 2016, the lesson structure (pages) on the left.  The topic at the top (electricity) and my notebook list at the side.


For some lessons I have added into OneNote:

  • Office Mix presentations
  • Prints from word or PDF
  • Embedded YouTube
  • Links to Scholar materials (scholar.hw.ac.uk)
  • Printed Powerpoint slides
  • Used Sways
  • Used Microsoft forms for quizzes

The class schedules have been entered as assignments using Microsoft Classroom although most tasks are completed within OneNote rather than being handed in on Classroom.  You can see the list of assignments (tasks) in this snip.


The OneNote class notebooks were created in Microsoft classroom and are therefore part on an O365 group.

It is possible to add assignment tasks using Microsoft Classroom and these can be pages from OneNote as seen from this snip.


When this method is used the pages are sent to an assignment section in the pupil workbook.  At the moment I am not really using this method as I find it better to preserve the OneNote structure of lessons in order in their topic group rather than having the OneNote page in a separate group.

Class notebook add in

An essential tool for teachers is the class notebook add in.  It can be downloaded for Office 2013 and 2016 versions from www.onenote.com/classnotebook .  Remember OneNote 2016 can be downloaded completely for free from www.onenote.com.

The class notebook add in allows you to send pages from your content library to individual pupils or to the class as a whole.

This adds the toolbar


These icons can be clicked to distribute a new page, the content library or a new section.

The review student work makes it easier to toggle through pupil work and assess or leave feedback.

The distribution of work is really straightforward but I would make the following recommendation.  Try to be more than one lesson ahead.  Sending additional resources is straightforward but must allow time for syncing and or pupils won’t always get the information in time. The distribution of resources takes these steps:

  • From content libary to each pupil’s notebook
  • From your computer to the cloud (sync might need to be forced)
  • From the cloud to pupil devices

These stages can take time particularly if the resources on the page or pages are large in file size.  In addition a forced sync shift F9 or right click on notebook name is needed to initiate the syncing at times and bandwidth limitations can make this slow for a full class doing it at once.


Therefore I would suggest work ahead and have resources for future lessons downloaded before the end of the previous one so pupils can work on things straight away.

If you have more than one class it can be confusing to remember which classes have been sent the resources and keeping the content library up to date.  Pupils can pull over resources from the content library but I find it better to place the resources directly into their workbooks with a copy in the content library as a backup.

The syncing time and lack of planning have caused a copy of issues this week when I didn’t send the resources early enough in time or distributed to the wrong class notebook as I have two higher classes.  You can check the pupil area in OneNote 2016 to see what you have sent.  It caused an issue for quick starting of an assessment this week that I deliberately didn’t send too early to the pupils and syncing took sometime as well as me not sending it at all for a class.  Pupils found completing the assessment on the Surface using digital inking really straightforward and it made marking leaving feedback really easy.

Week 2 Classroom and OneNote, Teachmeet

During this week pupils have been getting more used to how to use the Surfaces, the inking and O365 applications.

I found out this week that there were still a few pupils that hadn’t got their Physics OneNote setup correctly on their Surface.  The initial setup involves going to Classroom, then the OneNote tab, opening the OneNote Online, then clicking edit to open it in OneNote.  This allows OneNote to know the file location, once done this does not need to be repeated although on the Surfaces it was repeated to link make sure both OneNote 2016 and OneNote app had the class notebook.

It was a little surprising to find out that the installation hadn’t been completed after the setup sessions and using it in class to do work.

Pupils are now getting to grips with the Windows inking in OneNote and this is generally working well although there have been an odd event of non working pen and a few forgotten pens.  Many of the non working pen incidents haven’t been due to the pen but because pupils have tried to write in the content library section of OneNote which is read only.  Pupils can only write or type in their OneNote section.

I am becoming more adapt in distributing content in OneNote after a few times where I sent the same pages twice.  This duplication has allowed us to practice how to delete pages from our notebook and many pupils have learnt to rearrange the order of the notebook if they wished.

This week I have started to leave written feedback in the OneNote and marked some digital work.  This worked pretty well although due to my initially setting up the notebook incorrectly with pupils from another class in with one of my classes I have now deleted the additional sections.  Reviewing work was straightforward with the OneNote class notebook add in.  https://www.onenote.com/classnotebook


Additional frustrations have been encountered this week with 3 pupils turning up to class without their Surface.  About 4 have also turned up without a charged Surface or a charger.  Some have been used my charger and at least there are plugs in the classroom that can be used for this circumstance.

There have been a few cases of having to remind pupils of appropriate use, one for shoe shopping, another for playing music, another for using the narration tools to say silly sentences.

More positively some have been using the Learning tools to read out information or the narrate function to turn speech into text.

The last task of this week was to ensure that pupils know how to hand in work using Classroom.  To check this I set a task today that involved them opening a Word file from classroom then editing it in Word Online writing in answers and then clicking the hand in work section to send the completed work to me.  I can then check and mark the work, sharing an assessment score.  I can hand the work back if it is incomplete with advice.  I can have a conversation or provide feedback to the pupil too.  The hand-in feature also advises if work was not handed in or is late.  I plan to use the hand in feature to check pupils have done the prior learning before class.  The work that can be added can be in Word, OneNote, a FORM quiz or a link.

At this point the Higher classes has a week of work still on their Classroom.  The N5 classes only have one lesson so I need to work to get more of their learning online with the intention that both groups have 2 weeks of work to look at.

At present their has been little flipped learning and this has been deliberate whilst pupils are learning to use the technology and where to access it.  This will now be gradually increased over the next week or so.  I have however had a number of pupils showing me work they had done earlier to prepare for class or to catch up on work missed so am seeing advantages in having resources more readily available to pupils.  In addition the digital learning has better allowed me to push pupils who have completed their work early into the new section or more complex past paper questions.

Early this week I discussed the prototype, OneNote, OneNote learning tools and the use of the Surface with Angus colleague responsible for pupils with Visual impairments.  As a result of the discussion we are going to trial a Surface device with a S3 pupil.  So I will have something to post in the future about accessibility of the Surface for pupils with visual impairments.

Digital Teachmeet

On Thursday I attended the Falkirk digital teachmeet at St. Mungo’s High School, Falkirk.  St. Mungo’s is now a Microsoft Innovative School and the digital teachmeet was excellent CPD.  I shared 5 minutes about the digital inking in the Surface Pro and how my pupils were using them and OneNote.  Other teachers discussed the O365 applications.  Here is a presentation of what I showed live recorded in Office Mix.


There was lots of great practice and information to pick up from my fellow Microsoft Innovative Educator Experts.  Not sure which Tweeted picture is the worst!

You can read more about the event on the Falkirk digital TeachMeet page.

If you are interested in digital learning I would recommend that you follow the above on Twitter.  The event was fantastic and I hope to be involved in organising an Angus digital Teach Meet sometime in the future and invite some of those speaking in Falkirk up to share their ideas.

Angus Teachmeet

I am involved in organising with Kellie Smith an Angus Teach meet on Tuesday 29th November after the Angus Learning Festival at Brechin High School from 4.30 to 6.00 pm.  Please come along to listen or do a 2 minute presentation to share some ideas. Ideas can be any good ideas or practice, not just digital learning and technologies, although my presentation will be on that theme.

Sign up using this link https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=oyzTzM4Wj0KVQTctawUZKWdhPNwe8ftPowdGcOI9yIZUOUIyUElPQk9ENzRRT1lLWEpNUDYzWEtXMS4u


OneNote is free for education

In the prototype I am using Microsoft OneNote on the Surface Pro 4 devices.

Whilst Microsoft OneNote comes installed with Windows 10, the native app has less functionality than the OneNote 2016 version. The differences between OneNote and OneNote 2016 are detailed on this page which also states that OneNote is free.

Despite the statement on the page above that OneNote was free, there remained some uncertainty regarding whether the 2016 version that is often delivered as part of the Office suite (Often 2010 or 2012 still in schools) was free.  The council IT department were of the belief that a license was needed to install OneNote and a number of teachers familiar with OneNote several Microsoft Innovative Educator Experts #MIEExpert such as myself believed that it was only the app that was free. I therefore contacted Microsoft by Twitter to get confirmation and received this response.

To eliminate confusion between the 2016 version and the native app it is now possible to remove the native applications from Windows 10.

The only feature I know that is in the Windows 10 OneNote app but not the 2016 ve

The link to the 2016 version is a bit hidden on the onenote.com page so I made a video to show where it is.

The ink to math tool is the one of the few functions not yet in the 2016 version.

The Learning tools add in available for the 2016 version makes the 2016 version the logical choice for education purposes. The learning tools are really helpful for pupils with additional support needs such as dyslexia.

Almost ready!

After 6 weeks of discussions and setup the Surface devices are close to being issued to the pupils.  Progress to date includes:

  • The setting up of the special wireless network for the prototype.  The network will recognise the MAC address of the devices and logging into the network should be as simple as opening the browser and clicking connect.
  • The upgraded Wi-Fi access points are scheduled to be installed in the October holiday after an initial mix up with an engineer coming into the school but not being able to carry out the work due to a lack of permission.
  • The drawing up of an acceptable use policy (AUP) for the pupils who are part of the prototype.  Once again I was helped by colleagues throughout Scotland, Malcolm Wilson @claganach at Falkirk who shared their agreement and @sheenaboyle who shared Balfon High School’s agreement for their iPAD pilot.  Following consultation with colleagues we decided to use an agreement very similar to the shorter AUP from Balfon High.  The agreement we have gone with can read here.
  • Each pupil within the prototype will be issued with a Surface Pro 4 tablet which has a pen, keyboard and ruggedised case for protection shown below.  After a period of deliberation it was decided that a more robust case would be worth the investment to provide increased protection for the device when in transit from home to school.

sfpro4_closed_pto3_blk_grandeUAG Case

  •  The Surface devices have been upgraded to the latest firmware and the Windows 10 Anniversary addition.  I felt this was an important task to be done before giving the devices to the pupils since when I tried this update on the first Surface received it took several hours to do and the inking features of  the Windows 10 update are a key feature of the prototype.   Therefore an image was created and this was installed on each device by IT.
  • Discussions regarding insurance and repairs of the devices have taken place with AC risk assessors and a procedure agreed in the event of loss or damage to the device.
  • A letter has been written and handed out to the pupils involved to take home to their parents/carers to introduce the aims of the prototype and the user agreement.  Parents and their children have been invited to an information evening on Thursday 20th October at 7 pm in the school.  At the evening I will share information about the prototype, flipped learning and demonstrate how some of the online learning will take place.  We also plan to issue the devices to those attending the meeting.

Things still to do

  • I plan to use Microsoft OneNote for the prototype but have found that the desktop version of OneNote 2016 has not yet been installed on the Surfaces, I had expected this to be part of the image installed on each device.  I am not yet certain why this didn’t happen but anticipate it might be to do with the differences between software licenses for educational and corporate requirements.  Whilst OneNote is included as part of Windows 10, this is the app version which has fewer features at the moment than the Office version OneNote 2016.  This page compares the features.  OneNote is free to download from Microsoft .  Sadly this means that the software will have to be manually installed onto all 60 devices before they can be used as intended.  I hope that this can be done before issuing to pupils otherwise it will need to be done in a lesson.
  • Other software that I need to add to the image is the OneNote Learning tools.  These learning tools are helpful for all learners and particularly those with additional support needs.  onenote-learning-tools-add-in
  • At the moment the Surfaces have been setup with an administrator account with a name like CarSurface01 .  I do wish to provide the flexibility for pupils to install software that helps learning which means they need an administrator account, however it will be more convenient for them to have their own log in as this will then allow them to customise the password and use the Windows log on details such as Windows Hello.  I feel it is important that pupils can make their devices secure for only their access.  I also want to retain the possibility of access so think the best way to do this is to leave the existing account with a password on the device and create a new account for the pupil.  Since the pupil account will be an admin account it would be possible for them to delete the other account but I will ask them not to do this!  This will then allow a back door into the device if required.  The AUP includes a clause where the device can be requested to be handed in for checking and this other account would allow that to be done if needed.
  • I also need to prepare the presentation and information for the parents, and prepare the induction, health and safety, e-safety and care of the device lesson for the pupils.
  • Remove barriers within school to using my classroom PC to create learning materials.  I have found that in school I am still unable to upload my Office Mix presentations and videos.  Use some of the Glow services including Skype.  I am also aware that many staff lack access to OneNote as it is not installed on PC’s by default and this means it isn’t used for collaboration or learning as it could be.

Finally the most important thing yet to be done is to create more of the learning resources that the pupils will be using.  This will include setting up the Microsoft Classroom, the OneNote notebook including more Office Mix narrated presentations and quizzes.

In summary lots of progress has been made but there remain a number of significant actions to do ideally before the pupils are issued with the Surface devices.  To date it has been rewarding and frustrating dealing with the challenges of making progress with the digital prototype whilst maintaining my full time teaching commitment (S1 Science, S3 Physics x 2, N5 x 1, N5/H x 1, H x 1, AH x 1).  The pupils are very excited and enthused about being involved in the prototype and this makes me determined to do my best to provide the best learning and teaching resources to help them with their learning that I can.

Proposal details: Flipped learning.

Proposal – To use technology to facilitate the process of flipped learning within a science classroom.
The purpose of a flipped learning approach is to transfer the lower order learning from the classroom to outside the classroom.  This creates an opportunity to use the face-to-face time in class on higher order activities, thus supporting the learners and making the learning more learner focussed.
In a flipped classroom the role of the teacher is to facilitate the process of developing sufficient surface knowledge to then move learners to conceptual understanding.  More teacher time is available for discussions, one-to-one or in small groups, where the teacher and peers can spot and correct misconceptions.  Time is freed to answer pupil questions that occur from the initial learning, and to help provide scaffolding for the harder concepts in science.
Pupils can learn at their own pace, have greater awareness of their progress and can follow instructions that can be personalised and targeted for them based upon the enhanced learning conversations taking place.  Since the learning is visible to the teacher, rather than being carried out at home, better and timelier feedback and support can be provided.  I intend to use technology to provide an additional means to provide feedback to learners.

The National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) and Nesta recently produced a research report on flipped learning in 2015 which focussed on the teaching of mathematics in secondary schools in the UK.


Benefits of flipped learning

This flipped learning research report (NESTA and nfer 2015) provides this overview of success and barriers to success:

Barriers to flipped success

An important enabler not mentioned above is the role of parents/carers in understanding the process, so they are supportive of pupils completing work and using technology at home to carry out the learning prior to the lesson.  Parents and carers of pupils involved in the prototype will be contacted and issued with information to help them support the pupils.

The model of flipped learning is often seen as pupils watching a video outside of class for their instructions, but this can be done through a broader range of materials including reading of texts, PowerPoints, animations etc.

Following consultation with partners across Scotland, I am proposing to use the suite of Office 365 tools within Glow to deliver the flipped learning to the pupils.  Thanks to Ian Stuart, Malcom Wilson, Derek Robertson, Cara Matthews, Jennifer Offord and many others for their help, advice and information.

My prototype involves issuing each of my senior pupils with a tablet device that they can use both in school in my class and other classes and facilitate the shift of learning to home.

The existing wireless infrastructure in Carnoustie High School requires some upgrades to facilitate the learning including an upgrade in my classroom and the installation of Wi-Fi into a common learning area in the library.

To ensure equity within experience for all pupils it is proposed to use Microsoft OneNote as the electronic folder for the learning.  The advantage of OneNote is that it can be synchronised to each pupils’ device and therefore it is not necessary to have a Wi-Fi connection at home to carry out the learning.

Class details

There are three senior classes with which I wish to implement the prototype.  Class C a National 5 Physics class, class D a class of both National 5 and Higher Physics pupils and class E a class of Higher Physics pupils.  Implementing the prototype across these three classes will allow for teacher preparation time to be shared between the classes since all are following the same model and the composition of the classes allows the prototype to be evaluated in different contexts for differing ages and stages of learners.

Why I you want to be involved?  

To shift and further enhance my practice by embedding technology with the intention of improving outcomes for the learners in my classes.  The emphasis on the project is enhancing the learning and teaching and the experiences of the pupils, science is a 21st century subject of vital importance to the national economy and I wish to make pupil experiences and use of technology better reflect the use of technology in the world of work and beyond.

Involvement in this prototype helps me make a contribution to meeting the strategic themes for Digital Learning and Teaching Strategy for Scotland; Empowering leaders of change to drive innovation and investment in digital technology for learning and teaching; improving access to digital technology for all learners; ensuring curriculum and assessment relevance in a digital context; and extending the skills and confidence of teachers in the appropriate and effective use of digital technology.

What I hope to achieve – for your own practice and for improving outcomes for children?  

Improved attainment for learners at all levels particularly at national 5 and higher levels.

A shift in learner activities to an increased number of higher order activities and a shift in the quantity of teacher to pupil talk, allowing my time to be best used to support all the learners and provide them with feedback where it is needed.

The hope is that the young people become more confident and successful learners and improve the skills required for life-long learning.

How I could Evaluate

HGIOS 4 includes a number of quality indicators that can be impacted by this prototype and therefore used in evaluating the impact on the learners.  These include:

1.5 Management of resources to promote equity.
Teachers make effective use of a range of resources, including digital technologies, to provide  appropriate support and challenge for learners.

2.2 Curriculum
All staff take responsibility for developing literacy, numeracy, health and wellbeing and digital literacy across the curriculum.

2.3. Learning, teaching and assessment
Learners’ experiences are appropriately challenging and enjoyable and well matched to their needs and interests. Learners exercise choice, including the appropriate use of digital technology, and take increasing responsibility as they become more independent in their learning.

3.3 Creativity and Employability

Digital innovation
Children and young people work individually and in teams creating both digital and non-digital solutions. As their digital literacy becomes more sophisticated they embed computation to solve problems. Increasingly they apply the core principles underpinning digital technologies to develop their own ideas. Their skills are up-to-date with technological advances informed by a range of sources including the expertise of the young people themselves.

Digital literacy
Children and young people are innovative, confident and responsible in the use of technologies and staying safe online. They critically examine and make informed choices about the use of digital technology to enhance and personalise learning in school and where appropriate, beyond the school day. They anticipate and respond to new opportunities and threats caused by developments now and in the future.

How I plan to engage children, young people, parents and partners?  

I plan engage the young people, parents and colleagues through discussion of the expectations placed upon them by the learning approach being undertaken in the classroom.  Regular evaluation of pupils will allow me to reflect on the practice and listen to their views and opinions.

I am engaging with partners across Scotland to learn best practice and share ideas, challenges and solutions.

Technical Details – Recommendation from IT Services

In response to the request for digital prototypes within Carnoustie High School‘s physics labs, we propose the provision of Windows based tablets running Windows 10 O/S.  Devices would not be connected to the school network and would instead utilise Wi-Fi to access the Glow digital environment directly.    As you know this provides email, storage and workspaces for pupils and staff.  Additionally, it provides Office 365, WordPress and collaboration tools as well as broadcast services via Adobe Connect.

This would move away from the traditional approach of email and storage being provided on the school hardware/network to the Glow environment in a cloud based solution.  Utilising the storage provided by Glow would mean that pupils can also access their data from home or other remote environments where internet access is available at times to suit them in line with the flipped learning idea and this would be a move towards the learning environment described.  Within the school the devices would be in a group that was filtered by IP address enabling the internet access to be controlled. This would not apply if the device was connected off site and some “parental controls” type software may be needed on the devices to ensure the risk appetite was acceptable.  Additional costs for MS Office licensing have not been supplied as this would be provisioned via Office 365 within Glow.

One other issue would be around printing as this proposal would mean that printing was unavailable on printers within schools that were connected to the school network.  If this is required pupils could connect to their Glow account using other school IT and print accordingly.


Flipping 2.0 Practical Strategies for Flipping your class, Jason Bretzmann (2013).   


How Good is out School (HGIOS) 4th Edition, Education Scotland. 

Digital Learning and Teaching Strategy for Scotland – Scottish Government.