The School has been trying to leverage OneNote and its sharing and syncing capabilities ever since OneNote was introduced in 2003 … in a 1:1 tablet computer environment it’s a natural fit for both teachers and students. Each page that is created can hold any kind of digital content and can be inked with as much freedom as a piece of paper. There is an organization that is familiar to those in education — you start at pages, put pages into sections (I always think of those Hilroy separators) and then the sections into notebooks… except being digital there are no limitations (you can include audio, video, PDFs, etc) and the tablet doesn’t increase in weight the more pages you add.
There have been difficulties with OneNote along the way — although OneNote was capable of sharing a notebook between folks (so that more than one person could write on it at a time) and synchronize from a copy stored on a central server (so that you material could be in a central cloud and you would work on a copy) it never seemed to work right. Finally, though we’ve had a year of successful sync & share behind us… it looks like OneNote 2010 and Sharepoint 2010 are a match! It will mean that teachers will have full time access to each student’s work and can provide commentary throughout. When it comes time to assess (either formatively or summatively) the student places it in a drop box, the teacher retrieves it, assesses it and places it in a read-only portfolio. A student’s notebook is stored centrally so there’s no concern should their laptop have a problem — it’s automatically restored when they re-sync. This is one small step towards a more collaborative and more differentiated classroom here at School. Feedback, as always, is welcome! Image by gordonr