New Year – New App!

As a new academic year begins, I find myself making the same new years resolution as I do at the start of every new school year. Firstly – to help both myself and pupils with their organisation and secondly, to improve how I give feedback to my students. After trialing different options, I am yet to decide on a permanent solution. However I hope that ends this year! This year, particularly with our new shiny Surface Pros, I will be using Microsoft’s OneNote app to organise all of my Form 7 prep and essays.

I have used OneNote a few times before, but mainly on a personal basis (storing notes) or on a one-off basis (using the collaboration board etc). However with the new classroom features on OneNote I am hoping to create a more streamlined and effective form of assessment for my pupils.

I have created individual folders for all of my pupils where they can submit prep, and I can mark it without any paper changing hands. All their essays will be in one folder, which hopefully means pupils can easily track their progress, reading feedback from subsequent preps to improve future attempts.

This is more than just an attempt to be more organised however – I hope that the use of Digital Ink through the Microsoft Stylus can improve my marking. To my shame – my handwriting is not the most pleasant to read, so I hope being able to write larger and shrink down should make engaging with feedback an easier task for my students! OneNote also has a number of handy features which can make my life easier. I plan to use the audio feature (I can speak quicker than I can write!) and various ‘tags’ which can be used to ask pupils questions about their work or highlight key areas.

I know that there will be issues as there always is. What happens if pupils don’t understand/use the technology? Will some students prefer hard copies? Should student’s be hand-writing their essays as they will for the exam? It may well be all three are correct and I swiftly change to a new system next year! As long as it isn’t technology for technology’s sake, then I’ll give it a go!

If you are planning (or indeed – currently using) OneNote then please do comment below!

Sam Janes 06/09/2017

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