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Voice Grading…”Say” What?!?!

So I just finished my first adventure in grading using the voice recording feature in OneNote. Let me set the stage and you can decide if this would work for you:

My students made a Colonial Era newspaper that had four parts: An opinion article from King George III, and Editorial, a Traveler’s journal about experiences with everyday colonial life and a Letter to the Editor.  They wrote the articles in a template I provided in OneNote so everything was in one place and it looked like a newspaper.

To grade the articles I had to use the following steps – which sound complex and could be significantly shortened if my district would adopt OneNote Classroom Notebook Creator but be that as it may it was still not too bad.

  1. Click the link that students previously emailed me that allows me to open their notebook – NOTE: this link, to work for step two, has to be generated by the File > Share > Invite People method.
  2. Open their notebook in OneNote Online and then click the Open In OneNote option.
  3. Read their articles and make initial marks to the documents using the Draw tools…I’d love to have a Surface Pro 3 for this step, let me tell you!
  4. I like the highlighter so I use that and then click at the top of the page.  Doing so inserts the audio file in step 5 at the top where the student can easily find it.
  5. Go to Insert >  Record Audio and narrate my observations to the student.
  6. I re-highlighted my previous marks while doing the recording. This way when they play back the recording OneNote automatically highlights the point at which I am speaking in relation to what I marked.

This last point is one that I would like to particularly emphasize.  When my students click on the audio file and it begins to play every mark I made while talking is automatically selected and highlighted so that the student knows  that that particular point is what I am talking about with out having to guess where I am referring to.  In addition, every individual mark has a separate Play button so that they can refer to that specific edit without having to listen to the entire recording.  This is quite simply one of the most powerful student-feedback tools I have seen. And to be blunt, those who advocate Google Docs have nothing that even comes close to matching this level of student involvement in self-evaluation.

So, to wrap up, this went really well, I felt that I could convey a lot more information than I would have with written feedback, and the added benefit of inflection and vocal emphasis makes the feedback that much more effective.  I have had many student tell me that they preferred this to the norm of hastily scribbled notes.  My only wish would be that when they access it fro home in OneNote Online that the playback would work in the browser rather than having to be downloaded – which also drops the highlighting feature during playback.

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

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