Well, the school year is getting underway and you want to set all of this up, but how? Great question! A lot of folks prefer to begin with a paper and pencil Interactive Notebook and then as the year moves on they make the switch to a Digital one. I have done this in the past and it works really well.
There are a couple of advantages to this. First, and most importantly, this gives you a chance to assess your students and their abilities. Will they be able to handle using a computer this much, do they have special accommodations, what skills do they (or don’t they) have? Secondly, you can assess your school’s tech. This is almost as important as the first consideration. Do you have OneNote? Does it need to be added? HINT: OneNote is free! And, while it comes with Office automatically some school tech departments do not install it in order to save space in their image. If this is the case you can use what you learn here to make a strong case for adding it back in! Lastly, you may need time to walk through the steps of setting up your instructions and, if necessary, your shared server folder (more on this in a later post).
When you are ready to launch you need to find out how and where they will save their work. OK, actually they won’t save, OneNote does that automatically – another great feature! There are basically three options of where to have students put their DINO: OneDrive via a school account, a private OneDrive account, and a shared folder on your school’s network. Let’s look at all three to see what will work for you
OneDrive via a School Account: Do your students have the ability to save/access the OneDrive that allows OneNote (and all other Office programs) to save to the cloud? If so you will have them share their notebook with you and viola! you are good to go! Directions for this will be in a separate post. The easiest way to determine if their student accounts have access to OneDrive is to either look in their “My Computer” and see if it is there. If you don’t see it I would suggest you still ask your building / district tech department. It may be that it is available and just not active. It is worth the trouble. Having student access to their OneDrive is by far and away the most ideal situation!
Private OneDrive / Live Account: If they do not have access to OneDrive via a school account you can try to get them signed up for a Microsoft Live account. This would seem easy enough, simply go to www.live.com and begin the New User procedure. However, there is a catch. Your students must be 13 years old or older. If they are not I recommend getting admin and parent permission for them to sign up. Potentially there is another issue, one that I have run into in the past. Some districts do not like the idea of students accessing cloud storage that is out of their control. If this is the case you may find that access to Live.com is, or will become, blocked. If this happens you will have to move their notebooks to a local server (if they give you time to do so before blocking access) or you will have to start over. I consider this option the least desirable of the three options.
Shared Folder on the Local Network: With a little help from your tech department you can set up a folder that has permissions such that student’s OneNote notebooks can be written to and shared (see screen shot below). This is handy, but not ideal. It means that a student can not access the notebook from off-site, and should they wish to access it from on-site at a computer other than their normal one, they have to go to the folder and open it from there. And, should you have a student inclined to mischief, they can open other student’s notebooks and prowl around in them, or worse. They can, however, share them with you which allows you to see and provide feedback to them.
So, once you think you have determined what means you and your students will use to create your DINO’s (Digital Interactive Notebook in OneNote) you are set to go! In up coming posts I will be talking about the initial launch, great get-to-know-OneNote activities and some resources to help you get to know it as well. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, once you DINO you’ll never go back!