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Yearly Archives: 2018
As a followup to a recent tweet about OneNote, I just wanted to say: I miss you Notebook Creator!
What brought this on? The short version? I moved. Moved to a school that is a Google Apps For Education school. That, and as I have been going through the ISTE presentations – goodness there are a lot! – I have seen many for OneNote.
The thing is, I could easily, and happily, present on the benefits of OneNote for the classroom. I would love to be sharing this knowledge here at home as well. I truly have not found any tech tool as versatile and useful for my classroom. Having lost it as a tool, and moved to a school that has a slight anti-Microsoft taint, has been really hard.
I have also found that a lot of folks don’t know that all of the Office suite can now function just like a Google Doc – online and shareable. The don’t know how much more versatile OneDrive is compared to Google Drive and how Classroom Notebook Creator works. What they do know is that Office for Education costs, and costs big. It would be nice if Microsoft took a clue from Google in this regard.
And while the Google stuff works well, especially for the little ones, when it comes to the older students and staff I feel Office is the way to go. Ideally, as in my last school, you would run both, thus exposing students to more choice. Empowering students to try new ways of doing the same old thing is key in student engagement. Who wants to use the same old Slide when you could try it in a new style, or Sway or Prezi?
So if you are at ISTE I’ll be the guy walking slowly past the OneNote presentations, a small tear running down my cheek as a long sigh escapes my lips. Who knows, perhaps they’ll be selling those cool purple t-shirts?
Last week Harare International School in Zimbabwe, where I happen to work, hosted the 2018 International Schools of Southern and Eastern Africa (ISSEA) Basketball tournament. There were teams from over six different countries here for three days of basketball, socialising and fun. One of the agreements among the ISSEA schools is that, if possible, events such as this should have some sort of media presence so that folks back home can keep up with the action.
Initially we contacted a media company as well as a local ISP who were going to stream the main court and even provide commentary for the games. This would have been a first for ISSEA as any live-streaming prior to this had not had any audio. Long, very long, story short they backed out less than 24 hours before the games were to begin. Enter our tech team. Through some fantastic team collaboration and division of labor we ended up with a solution using a Canon DSLR, two pieces of software and a hope and a prayer for success. We also rounded up the most key component, a group of dedicated students to take photos, which were uploaded to a Facebook page, and videos which were live-streamed to the school YouTube page (indoor games) or uploaded later (outdoor games).
Here is the best part, and why I love my job. We barely had time to get the equipment and software in place before the games started, but as the first game kicked off we were up and running with a live picture and audio. As the game was going the students running the computer asked if they could explore what it could do in hopes of making it look a little nicer. As we are an IB school, student-led initiatives are a big part of what we are about. So off they went in search of tutorials, videos, blogs, really anything they could find about the software we were using to stream. By the second day we had live score updates on a scoreboard panel, school logos, ISSEA logos and more all imbedded in the live video. The whole process from beginning to end was an amazing example how students can do so much if we just give them the tools and the support. I could not be prouder of them.