I am often asked about future trends in technology. What will be the next great piece of software or hardware? I don’t know. I try to keep up with tech trends but I don’t know what Apple, Microsoft, Google or the myriad of startups have up their sleeves. I don’t know if we’ll be using Word, OneNote or iMovie ten years from now. I am confident that we will be using software and hardware tools that help us communicate, collaborate, innovate and work globally. In other words, we will be using tools that help us use L21 skills.
There are a lot of sites and software tools that are geared to L21 skills. Sometimes it feels that there are too many. I can’t keep up with them all. That’s why ISB is implementing Microsoft’s Office 365.
Office 365 is far from perfect but it gives teachers and students opportunities to work in connected and collaborative ways–ways that help us get our work done and give students the opportunities they need to build and practice working in this way.
Before I talk about the new features let me say that if you haven’t given OneNote a try, I suggest you do. It provides a familiar notebook interface into which teachers and students can place text, photos, videos and more. I can search through my notebooks much faster than I can search through folders of files. Also, I can use it on my Mac, iPhone or iPad and everything syncs between my devices automatically. I can start something on my iPhone when the inspiration hits me and finish it up later when I get back to my Mac.
OneNote Web Clipper is a browser extension that allows users to clip webpages. The clippings are automatically added to the user’s OneNote notebook. The clipping includes a link back to the page from which it was clipped.
This has great potential for research projects. Students can quickly clip pages or parts of pages for later use. Obviously, we don’t want students to just copy and paste information into a document and call it a research project but for quickly and seamlessly gathering information, OneNote is great!
Personally I used OneNote to research my recent trip to Vietnam. I grabbed information on places to go and things to do. Because OneNote syncs to all my devices, when I got to Vietnam I had it where I needed it–on my phone!
Office Lens is another handy OneNote tool. It’s a smartphone app that syncs with OneNote. It’s like having a scanner in your pocket. Here’s how it works. You snap a photo of a document or notes on a whiteboard. Office Lens will crop, enhance and sync the image with your OneNote notebook. It’s available for iPhones, Android and Windows phones. Many of our older students have smartphones in their pockets. Office Lens can help them capture notes on a whiteboard and sync them into their OneNote notebooks.
Finally, Office 365 is changing all the time. If you’re keen to keep abreast of the changes to OneNote specifically, I suggest you follow the OneNote in Education blog.