The Wonders of OneNote

In the last two years I’ve started a love affair! No, it isn’t a mid-life crisis, this is a moment of clarity.  Microsoft OneNote is the software I (and many other teachers) have been waiting for and it has been under our noses for years!

Why has OneNote driven me to write this open love letter? It isn’t just another clever app, this software is truly practical with a multitude of uses in just about any environment, especially schools.  Here are some of the reasons why I am passionate about OneNote.

It is accessible.  OneNote has been a standard issue on Windows machines for years but remained undiscovered to most.  However, with Microsoft’s push into the education market, OneNote has been developed and extended to be freely available on every device I own.  Simple sharing, across platforms and devices, is key.

OCD organisation.  Just being accessible isn’t enough, to be long term love rather than a dalliance, the program needs to prove to be useful.  OneNote does this because it organises everything in an intuitive and familiar way.  It really is an electronic ring binder with section tabs and pages.  However, as you would expect, the electronic organisational features go way beyond what you could achieve with a paper binder.

So easy, a child could use it.  I implemented the class notebooks with a Year 4 class (8/9 year olds) and all of them, regardless of ability, were navigating OneNote independently within a couple of sessions.  I didn’t explicitly teach OneNote skills, I simply embedded it into some lessons and let them loose.  They loved it because it made learning easier.  Screen clippings and audio feedback were two of the most popular features.  The Microsoft feel means that anyone who has been using Office (i.e. nearly everyone) will immediately be at ease with the layout and menus.

OneNote ribbon
The OneNote ribbon menu is familiar and easy to navigate making the software accessible to all.

Teacher Features.  The ease with which work can be shared with the whole class via the Class Notebook, the accessibility granted by the Immersive Reader and the integration with Outlook, Teams and other Microsoft products make this software something every teacher can fall in love with.  Even if you do not feel you have the infrastructure or confidence to use this in class, start with your own notebook and see how easy it is to organise and access your plans.  Soon you will be sharing it with others and getting them on board.  Staff notebooks, for things such as meeting notes, are a natural extension.

So much to love.  I mentioned just a few of the many great features I have discovered and I am finding more every day.  By following @onenotec and @msonenote on twitter, you will find that there is always something new to learn.  I intend to spread the love through my blogs and videos here, with an aim to share notebooks online in the future so please sign up to my blog or follow me on twitter @topdad75.

Start a love affair with Microsoft OneNote.  It is free – much cheaper than most love affairs!