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Showing posts from 2014

Lync in a Snowstorm: Video-conferencing the Music Classroom

Okay, so it's not Buffalo, but one of our teachers lives out in the country and due to the recent snowstorm was unable to come to school.  Normally, that isn't a great emergency as we do our own coverages for missing teachers internally so students tend to get a teacher who can keep them moving in their subject areas.

But I was chatting with our snow-bound music teacher while she was at home and she was worried about one of her classes that she wanted to touch base with.   I mentioned that it wouldn't be a problem to quickly throw together a Lync video-conference with her students and I'd be happy to do the physical setup at the school end.

So she went to Outlook and created a Lync meeting -- it's easy if you've ever made an appointment in Outlook... click the NEW LYNC MEETING in the toolbar and it creates a conference room that everyone is invited to.  Although you set a time, it exists as soon and as long as someone logs in.
So, she sent the Invitation around…

"You don't want to use OneNote; it's too hard..."

So I was sitting in the Faculty Lounge yesterday (as I am as much as I can... see It's too far...) and I was chatting with a Social Studies teacher.  She was asking about the Microsoft conference I had attended last week where I had the opportunity to share our story with folks from across the Americas.  She wanted to make sure I knew that she was thrilled with the OneNote Binder (our super-charged version of Microsoft's OneNote Class Notebook).  And then she said You know, when I first came to our school I noticed some math & science teachers using OneNote and asked about it in my department and was told by my colleagues
'You don't want to use OneNote, it's too hard'.
I, of course, cringed.  But then I asked her why she changed her mind and was now a big fan of OneNote.

She said I went on maternity leave [the year we introduced the Binder] and when I came back, everyone was using the OneNote Binder and it was just so easy!  I noticed how one of our teache…

Feedback to Students in OneNote : A summary

One of our participants here at the Park City Mathematics Institute asked me how we did student feedback at our school; I wrote him an email but thought I'd illustrate it a bit more here: So, we have a little bit of a unique situation at our school. We use OneNote for almost all student content.  We have a notebook for each course section and then it's specially designed so that the teacher's section is visible but not editable by the students/parents and then each student has a section that only they, their parents and the teacher can edit.  You can see a few of our support videos here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLcVuAxNuOfQ5OdlYDMBFa9bgsavLPCtBs
So for feedback, I can go in and write (pen-based tablet) any comments I want directly on their work (in real time, collaboratively, during class or at home after they've done their homework).  We also have them do some of their homework as a screencast, so they send me a link with the video of them solving the pr…

10 Things Every Teacher Should Know How To Do With Microsoft OneDrive

I've been busy with the wrap-up of the Park City Mathematics Institute (PCMI) so this has had to wait. But I caught the article "10 Things Every Teacher Should Know How To Do With Google Docs" and felt a parallel article describing similar processes with the free offerings from Microsoft was required (not a Microsoft employee and I get no special favours from Microsoft!).  Not because I have anything against GoogleDocs but rather that Microsoft OneDrive offers a great alternative especially if you're in a mixed/BYOD environment.

Microsoft OneDrive (formerly SkyDrive) is, for starters, a cloud-based storage system like Dropbox or GoogleDrive - the Microsoft offering provides many GBs of storage space (used to be 7, now 15 and I expect it will increase over time) with the option to purchase more.  However, like GoogleDrive, it is tied to a powerful Office system providing support for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations and surveying.
1. Share & Collaborat…

External Reviews - Using two Notebooks, Link to Page and Send to OneNote

We're just about finished here at the Park City Mathematics Institute (PCMI) and the afternoon professional development workshop creation process has only a few days left. The last big stage was actually this weekend when each group's work was sent out for an external review; those reviews have been coming in all weekend.
Using two OneNote Notebooks (one publicly readable but not editable and one for each group that they had complete control over) has worked extraordinarily well.  The participants can get at all the information that we present each day in the public NoteBook while at the same time they can read & write in their group NoteBook. For the external review, participants had to supply their Facilitator Guide and a PowerPoint, along with any of the other handouts.  They've been building the Guide right inside of OneNote using a table to format the plan.  The PowerPoint, on the other hand, was created using the Office WebApp in OneDrive -- this allowed particip…

Excel Surveys

One of the activities in Reflecting on Practice today involved developing question stems that would promote math talk.  We wanted a quick and easy way of collecting the sample question stems each participant had created -- a survey lets us distribute the typing and simplifies the redistribution for tomorrow's task.

In the past we would have used GoogleDocs because it puts the responses into a spreadsheet for easy analysis and distribution.  But, since we've been using Microsoft OneNote extensively, the majority of the participants have managed to get a Microsoft account and have started to use the OneDrive Web Apps for Word, Excel & PowerPoint.  Alongside the web-versions of the desktop apps, OneDrive offers the Excel Survey tool and already participants have been playing with the opportunities.

It's relatively easy to get started.  Click on the CREATE button in your OneDrive and you'll get the opportunity to create an online survey, with the entries going directly…

A one-off OneNote Notebook for a specific PD session

Each day as part of the 3-week Park City Mathematics Institute (PCMI), we have a 75 minute session called "Reflecting on Practice".  We take the 60-or-so participants and break out into three smaller rooms of about 20 each, further subdividing them into 4 tables.

Each year we look at a teacher move and delve deeply into how and why.  This year's topic is "Discourse" or, more colloquially, "math talk".  In planning these sessions we have an obvious focus on good pedagogy - teachers learn by watching good models.  We are deliberate in our choices of how we have teachers collaborate, how they present their work and how they receive feedback.  Over the three weeks we try to showcase a variety of approaches and technologies.

Today's class asked participants to create a task with their partner that would specifically introduce a common error in the mathematics they taught (we run from Elementary through Secondary) and provide strategies for the teacher…

How long does it take? Working with OneNote and the OneDrive WebApps

At Appleby College, we've been using Microsoft OneNote for a l.o.n.g time now ... and structured shared OneNote Binders for two full academic years now.  Folks often ask how much time it takes for teachers to get accustomed to working with OneNote and shared documents in general.  Since we have the advantage of a 1:1 tablet program and a background with the software, it's hard to be fair when describing how long it takes for teachers to become comfortable enough to use it in the classroom in front of students and to bend it to their pedagogical and administrative needs.

Well, we started using OneNote last week at the Park City Mathematics Institute (PCMI) to help with professional development creation.  Of the 50 or so participants, only a handful had used it before and for the vast majority it was brand new to them.  So far, they've spent 8 hours using OneNote and shared collaborative Word documents & PowerPoint presentations through OneDrive and the WebApp.  I can de…

Teacher Professional Development and Microsoft OneNote

During the first three weeks of July, I have the amazing opportunity to work at the Park City Mathematics Institute.  It is, without exaggeration, the best professional development opportunity for teachers of mathematics.  Participants spend three weeks thinking deeply about mathematics and mathematics education.

There are three main aspects of PCMI:

learning mathematicsreflection on practice (RoP)becoming a resource to others.I'm part of the team for RoP and in charge of the third aspect, in which participants consider a gap in professional development back at their home districts and work in small groups to help fill that hole by developing a rich PD seminar on that topic.

It is not easy to develop professional development.  Teachers who haven't written PD have to patiently learn how to write (essentially) lesson plans for someone else.

This year, I used Microsoft OneNote to facilitate the process.  We have a central OneNote Notebook through which I lay out the daily schedule…

How do you direct someone to a specific spot in your OneNote

OneNote, as well as I can gauge from the number of tweets I see tagged with it, has been undergoing a marked increase in user base.
So, I've been trying to mirror what folks do with GoogleDocs and show how it's done with OneNote.
To wit... "How do you direct someone to a specific spot in your Google Doc?" from Alice Keeler's blog post http://www.alicekeeler.com/teachertech/2014/04/30/directing-someone-to-a-specific-spot-in-your-google-doc/
How do you direct someone to a specific place in your OneNote notebook?  The thing about OneNote is, of course, that it can contain anything -- text, images, audio, video, files, links -- so that you can really direct folks to the exact content you want.  Objects in OneNote are in containers (you see them as light grey lines when you select them) and so when you RIGHT-CLICK on the object, you get the option to "Copy Link to Paragraph"
Paste that link in an email or on the web ... if they have the OneNote Notebook alre…

OneNote Binders for all! Well, one step closer, at least...

We got great news today... Microsoft Office Labs  have released an app for Sharepoint2013 that will create a OneNote notebook for your class very similar to what we use at Appleby!

The direct link to the Store is http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/store/onenote-setup-tool-for-teachers-WA104313551.aspx

This is a great first step forward -- it brings the collaboration and planning to any teacher with access to a Sharepoint2013 server.  Our next goal is to make it work on Sharepoint Online (it works on Sharepoint online, too!)-- and distribute it in a way that doesn't require purchase and maintenance of an online space by the teacher.  Our pitch at the 2014 Microsoft Global Forum is, piece-by-piece, slowly coming to fruition.

OneNote! "What are you waiting for Math Teachers?"

So this post is prompted by Dave Sladkey's post earlier on using Google Drive, namely Google Drive! What are you waiting for Math Teachers?

Now Google Drive/Google Docs has much greater visibility than Microsoft OneNote and even though I'm a long-time GDocs/Drive user I would likely recommend the OneNote Notebook approach over the GoogleDrive.  But I realized that maybe folks didn't know how easy it was to set something up.

Thus...

Go to OneNote.com and, if you don't already have a Microsoft account, sign up for one.

Click on CREATE and choose OneNote Notebook

Now, you can think of a OneNote Notebook as a "Google Drive Folder".  It has Sections (like Google Drive Subfolders) and Pages (like Google Drive Files).  But these pages can contain anything.  And I mean anything.  They're like wiki pages in that you can drop text, images, links to other pages, you can embed files & videos... you name it!

After you're done playing with it (and you should p…