Our school district has made both student and teacher online collaboration very easy. The district has purchased the entire Microsoft Office 365 suite for everyone in the district to use. Making individual and collaborative work even easier is the additional purchase of our own private business area in the cybersphere…
One of the applications in the Office 365 Suite that I plan to use with my students is Class OneNote. The best way to understand Class OneNote is to compare it to a notebook, an online notebook. Within Class OneNote, students working in a group can create a collaborative area which they all have access to and can work in. It also has a area that can be designated for individual work: each student will have his or her own tab and will be able to work in the area privately. Only the teacher and the specific student will be able to see the material or work that the student has put in there. Finally, the Class OneNote has an area for resources and library materials.
Within each of these areas, the teacher or the students, depending upon their access, can upload a wide variety of media and documents or can create. This really can hold it all.
This year, I plan to use this Class OneNote for small group work on projects. During the seventh grade year, one major instructional focus is research. This application would be the perfect online place for students to do their own individual research, take notes and add resources for sharing. Then in the collaboration area the students can use what they learned from their own research and the sharing of others to create a project that demonstrates their learning. Even if the project is created on another tool: PowerPoint, Sway, a screencast or video; the collaboration area can be used for planning, discussion, organization, and check back. When the project is complete, it can also be uploaded into the collaboration space for display and sharing.
During a fantasy/science fiction unit, I plan to have a “creature” come into my classroom regularly and leave clues as to what has been visiting us at night. This will be an opportunity for students to be able to research and discover as detectives what the creature may be and then put together a presentation of what they believe the creature is and how it should be caught. It begins with the principal coming in and asking the students to be on the look out because over the weekend when workers were in the building they left the large garage doors open and unattended. Evidence points to the fact that some kind of creature got in and is loose in the school.
Class OneNote would help the students to successfully keep in touch, collect their ideas, and create a presentation together for this magical activity.