Wednesday, August 6, 2014

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: 

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 problem and then I either write or  screencast a response for feedback.  There is a large emphasis in our assessment from our government on communication so this really helps both strengthen and document their progress -- and you have a bunch of exemplars you can then share back with the class since you don't assign the same problem to the all the students :)

Each of the students' section has a special section called "R" ... everything I put in there the students can see but can't edit, so that creates a digital portfolio of all their assessed work. So if they submit an assignment (in OneNote) I mark it and drag it into R to hand it back.  They can see all my comments and their marks but can't change anything although they can create a copy and do corrections.

If I hand back a test there's no more having their work disappear into their backpack; they can always go back and see what they did wrong on major tests.  It is a bit of pain to scan them (tests are the only paper we use) so I don't do it for everything and everyone but for some students (and parents) it's a really important step.   Since parents have read-access to their student's sections, they can see everything their student has done -- for some students, this means I can send a link to their homework page to their parents reminding them that it was due the previous day :) 

OneNote also has a record audio and video function so you can give audio/video feedback; now, I don't use this a lot but the English/Social teachers do when they're giving feedback on student essays and presentations.  They've found that the students are more likely to listen to the video than read the written comments on their academic work and they feel (no proof) that it lessens the emotional impact of receiving criticism when the teacher's voice/face is visible and all the subsequent non-verbal communication is in play. 

So, we're married to Microsoft OneNote for most of our feedback but we've found it to do most everything except time-stamp student submissions.

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 & Collaborate with Microsoft OneDrive

Here is the online power of OneDrive... anything you put inside your OneDrive folder is shareable to anyone on the internet, either as VIEW or EDIT.
Sharing is relatively easy.  Select the file (and it could be anything) and click the SHARE button that shows up along the top of the window.  
You'll get the sharing options:
You can invite specific people by email (or, as you can see, by connecting your Facebook account, to your Facebook friends); they'll need to get a Microsoft account.  You can also just provide a link for general sharing (again, editable or read-only) that does not require a Microsoft account.  
This has been really handy for working with groups of teachers and/or students.

2. Comments & Suggested Edits

When you're in your Word document that you're working with online (inside the browser, which is powerful enough for day-to-day editing), you have access to a conversation-space next to the document where you can engage in chat with your co-authors.  As you may already be used to in desktop-Word, in the browser-based Word through OneDrive, you have the COMMENTS button on the INSERT or REVIEW ribbons... click it and you'll be able to provide feedback on the document.

3. Revision History

While it doesn't display the same granularity of editing history that GoogleDocs presently has (yet), by going to the FILE button you can get at the document's INFO and see major revisions of the document to see how the document has developed over time and then either revert to them or download them as a separate file.
I say "yet" because Microsoft is continually updating the options available on the browser-based Word inside of OneDrive, so capabilities you may be missing right now will suddenly show up the next time you start editing.  

4. Printing

The OneDrive-based Word-in-the-browser has a really nice printing method... you get a nice preview of the first page and then it automatically opens up your printer dialog from which you can print.  You can also download the PDF that it has created if you want to distribute the document separately from the Share process mentioned above.

5. Microsoft Clip Art

As we've come to expect from Microsoft Office, you have access to Microsoft Clip Art.  Choose the INSERT ribbon and when you click on Clip Art you can do a search by topic and insert your clip art into the the document.  You don't get a lot of image-editing tools after you insert the image (you can scale, wrap or assign styles like shadows)
You can can also upload your own images from your computer but not yet insert by web-address.

6. Insert Tables

You can insert Tables into your documents - but you do have access to some of the more common Table Designs you find in desktop Word.  While you don't have formulas, you have a lot more options for shading and border.  No merge or split, though.

7. Open in Word

If you have Word installed on your desktop, you can jump out of the browser-based Word and edit your document in the fully-powered desktop Word -- and still keep the collaborative and shared environment with other people.  Your SAVE button in desktop Word takes on green "sync arrows"
to show that you're updating a shared document.  You can use all the options on your desktop Word, although the folks using browser Word won't be able to edit them, only view things like Equation Editor.

8, 9 & 10. More Than a Word Processor - Excel Spreadsheets & Surveys, PowerPoint & OneNote

OneDrive allows you to share folders and also create & collaboratively edit & view Excel spreadsheets and a rudimentary online survey tool that will fill your spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations and, in what is ground-breaking and competition-killing, OneNote Notebooks -- you  haven't exercised the power of technology until you start working with OneNote Notebooks.