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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,



So much more than just notes!

There are few things students like to do less than take notes.  Especially when they are done poorly and with no evident purpose.  And shame on us, the educators, for making it so.

Notes can be fun, engaging and yes, interactive.  Especially when we move the way we take notes into the 21st Century.  Our students, by and large, are digitally engaged.  Why fight it?  We can do so much more than getting out a piece of paper and something to write with as a solution to having students engage with the materiel.

Over the years I tried several alternatives to pencil and paper notes: from blogs, to wikis, to websites and had yet to find something that is intuitive, has few limitations and that students can access through a variety of learning styles.  Then I was shown Microsoft’s OneNote.  Quite simply it changed how I worked, and is now changing how my students work.

In this blog I will be documenting the advantages of what I call DINO – Digital Interactive Notebook in OneNote.  My DINO system can be set up easily, expanded with out limit and will broaden your teaching effectiveness from the get-go.

Keep checking in to go through the set-up, expansion, evaluation and optional tricks and tips sections as they become available.  There is always more to DINO, so please do not hesitate to inquire further.

All the best,