OneNote in the Creative Arts

We have spent the summer thinking about how we used OneNote last year with our A Level students (16-18 year olds).  I just wanted to share what we have set up ready for this new academic year and to see if other people have any suggestions or approaches that we can share with each other.

Why OneNote?

We want to give the students the opportunity to develop their creative portfolios independently reflecting industry practice.  OneNote allows us to teach students how to plan and structure their learning at their own pace and to work on their portfolios with comprehensive resources all embedded within an accessible digital hub.  It is a fantastic tool that empowers both students and staff.

Combining OneNote, Microsoft PowerPoint and OneDrive

Due to the requirements of the A Level Photography course we want students to create digital portfolios that we can export and then present for assessment as flipHTML5 eBooks.  Currently OneNote doesn’t support this so we use PowerPoint as a way for students to create their digital portfolios then at the end of the course the PowerPoints are converted into PDF files and exported to FLipHTML5 creating the flip eBooks

The students are expected to use the following digital workflow –

OneNote – Open every lesson to access course resources, examples of student work and all the assessment and progress tracking.  This includes written and verbal/video recordings of feedback.

PowerPoint & OneDrive – Created in Microsoft 365, located in the students OneDrive area and shared via the cloud with staff.  We can differentiate our feedback by adding comments to the PowerPoint portfolio and/or the OneNote depending on the students needs.  PowerPoint also allows the student to design the look of their portfolio and develop their own layout using the presentation and word processing options.

FlipHTML 5 – When the work is completed we create the flip eBooks for the final assessment and examination board moderation.

Student A Level Example –

A Level Photography Flip eBook Example

What this look like in practice –

Our A Level OneNote’s are structured as follows –


Collaboration Space – Shared collaborative area and we will use this to launch our Photography student agency – APERTURE.  The A Level photography students will be able to photograph school events and gain experience of working as freelance photographers.  Last year we also linked this section an American School in Seattle Washington Lynwood High School and we will develop this link again this year.


Content Library – View only area for students contains both AS and A Level resources.  This year we have developed a STAFF ONLY area that is password protected and contains Excel spreadsheet mark books and individual support case studies.  We have included a University guide this year and ex-students have kindly passed on their advice for interviews which we have profiled.  We encourage the students to use the OneNote app so where ever they are photographing they have access to the resources direct from their mobile phones.

Within the Fine Art OneNote we needed to differentiate the content as students are working practically on their artwork and not in front of the computer.  So we embedded a Sway presentation that we can project in lessons as staff and students can use via their mobile phones or tablet devices.

Student NoteBooks – Contains the student Progress Tracker and Lesson by Lesson area for written or recorded feedback.  We have also developed a Fine Art OneNote and added a new page ‘Feedback Canvas’ in which we can as staff use our Surface devices to photograph the students artwork and give feedback using digital ink.

We love this development as we can see the progress the student is making as the feedback is secure on the OneNote canvas.  Different teachers can see what the other has suggested and support is much more co-ordinated.

The student Notebooks are a fantastic resource to use at Parents Evenings and in meetings with Line Managers when discussing individual student progress.

We are sharing our approaches with OneNote with other departments and faculties in our school, for example the Design Faculty is using OneNote with their A level Graphic students and we regularly swap notes!  It would be great to get some feedback on our approaches with OneNote.  We have really loved using it and it has had a real positive impact with the attainment and exam results for our students.





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