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Monthly Archives: September 2014

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Never-Ending Notes!

No, I don’t think notes should be never-ending, good god the tedium!  However, note taking is a part of education, but it doesn’t have to be limited by the size of your sheet of paper. It can be quite frustrating to run out of space on your sheet of paper, especially if you are limited to one sheet.  In our school we use a lot of Cornell notes templates, but the students get frustrated when they run out of room on the sheet.  Or worse, they are taking notes in those silly comp books, that sheet is what, 8″ x 10″, 6″ x 8″?  Who can fit even a section of notes from the textbook on that?  So then they tape a new page in place  which involves trimming down a full sized sheet of paper, getting tape and figuring how small to trim the 81/2″ X 11″ sheet.  That is a lot of wasted time.

So what is the solution?  A never-ending template that looks like Cornell notes, but each section expands to fit the needs of the student.  So while it looks like a sheet of Cornell notes, it has no limits.  There is a template example on my class resources webpage (scroll to the bottom and look for Cornell Notes with Directions.one).  Naturally you could make one of these for any style of notes, or the students can make their own, I did this to support our schools’ AVID program.

Feel free to download my template and share it with your students!  And as always, please pass my site on to others who might benefit, like me on Facebook and follow me on this site or on Twitter @BroadenEdu.

All the best!

Alex

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Boredom Killer

So, a little progress update from class.  I have been using the DINO for two weeks in class and have noticed a couple of things.

By far the best part has been the student engagement.  Even my normally low-producers are doing their work!  I realize this my simply be the honeymoon phase, but I know that by keeping material fresh, and allowing them the use of technology in ways that they identify with they will be much more engaged than they would be with paper and pencil.

So far adding files (merging, to be more specific), though a little technical, has gone well.  Now we have only done it once, but I am hopeful that it will become second nature.  I think the tutorial video helped, but it is also a pretty easy process.

Converting .pdf files into worksheets went really well!  I couldn’t be happier with how they look and function.  The key is putting your screen shots into a table.  In OneNote the table will automatically adjust for any content they may add, so there is no overlap from one section of the worksheet to the next.

I did run across an interesting feature that bothers students.  We were writing paragraphs and several students were frustrated at not being able to Tab to indent the beginning of the paragraph.  They can do this using the space bar, but all in all they survived the trauma.  🙂

As you can see it has been a busy couple of weeks.  Be sure you check in on the YouTube page for helpful videos and give the page a Like, it helps me feel loved!  🙂

Alex

The .pdf Problem

OneNote is great in that you can put just about any file in it, work with it, and in some cases even have it as a part of the notebook (Excel leaps to mind as one that is amazing in OneNote).  But then there are pdf’s.  Yes, they drag and drop, and you can open them, you can even have them Print to OneNote and it will insert as a printout – thought the resolution is poor.  So if I have a great resource I want to use, and have my students be able to work with what do I do?

Well, here is my solution:  The pdf in question was three pages long, with short readings and a question or two that went with each question.  As the students could not easily, or clearly, write on the pdf I took screen shots of the individual sections and placed them in a table.  At the bottom of each cell I added a “Answer:” prompt.  As this is in a cell it will automatically adjust the size of the entire document to accommodate their answer for each section.

Once I have the master sheet finished I exported the page as a Section and attached that to my website (you could also put it in a shared folder).  When the students click on the file it will open in OneNote in the Open Sections area.  From their have the students right-click on the section tab and select Merge into Another Section – pick the appropriate location in their notebook and you are home free!

For the How-To I made for my students please click here.

All the best,

Alex

The World’s Biggest Tablet!

Ever want to write in your OneNote notebook on the SmartBoard and have it converted to text?  Normally using a SmartBoard the ink is added as a layer over the notebook and is not actually a part of it.  However in one quick step you can write on your notebook and have it converted to text.  Simply click the Draw tab and then select Draw With Touch.  After doing so select the color pen you would like and then write whatever your heart desires.  When finished select the Inf to Text button and there you go.  To see how it went for me check this out.

The OCR in OneNote is quite good and chances are you won’t have to correct all that much.  This is great when you are doing activities where the kids are writing on the board and you want to have their work recorded.  It is also great if you like to grade student work at the SmartBoard (yes, some folks do do this).

Note: my non-touch netbook does not have this feature, but my PC which is connected to a touch device, namely the aforementioned SmartBoard, does.

As I alluded to earlier, I made a video of this process, enjoy!

Have a great day,

Alex

More on Sharing

Hey everybody,

This is a quick write-up on what I have found regarding students sharing their DINO notebooks with me.  For me there were two main options: Invite People and Get a Sharing Link.  I have gone with the later, for now, and here is why:

Sharing options

Invite People is great because it allows the invitee to open the student’s notebook in either the web browser or in OneNote itself.  This is an advantage as there are way more things you can do in OneNote itself than you can in the web version.  For instance, if I want to draw arrows, or circles to emphasize a point I can only do that in the program itself.  The down side to Invite People is that it sends you an email with a link to the students notebook – all well and good until you have a hundred emails sitting in your mail that have to be individually open to get the link.  Now, as you will see in the video I propose a solution to this using either Excel Forms or Google Forms, but it is a lot of initial work for you, the teacher. 

Using Get a Sharing Link is nice in that it gives the students a link that they can copy/paste into a Excel or Google Form you give them and viola, you are ready to go!  However, this link takes you to a version on the Web App that you can not open in OneNote. Why Microsoft made this distinction I do not know, but now you know that this is an issue you can choose whichever option works for you.

In the next week or so, once I get my netbooks back from MAPS testing, I am going to have the students email me the Invite People link so that I can see just how much extra work it is and if there is an easier workaround…perhaps through Mail Merge?  I’ll keep you posted.

For a more detailed and visual version of this post check this out.

All the best,

Alex