Evolving OneNote

We are now in the middle of the winter term and it is a good opportunity to look at how the first few weeks have progressed in the way we have used and structured OneNote across the faculty.

When I first started on the MIEE I often found I was building and creating OneNote content from the ground up discovering how OneNote works and can support my teaching as a classroom teacher by making content on the fly.

This was great for me as I was able to make a lot of mistakes and refine the way I added pages and used the 3 different sections,  I learned how to best create content as I needed it.  I like this approach as being an art teacher I tend to work in this style of trial and error however we are all different and this way of working may not the best way for others.

The problem it did create was how to engage and bring on board other staff who may not have the support of the MIEE program, the MEC and are not aware of OneNote in the same way.

Building on my first year as a MIEE in which I learnt so much from other MIEEs my second year focus is to train other staff members to develop their confidence in using OneNote working within a secure and proven structure.

We have thought about the different requirements for the groups of people who would benefit from what OneNote has to offer.

Example of my own OneNote planner – Markbook and seating plan pages



What we did to support effective use of OneNote


This was step 1 – creating an A-Level Photography course OneNote

  • Visual and interactive resources, consistent in layout and style, canvas size manageable to reduce scrolling to encourage quick and easy use.
  • Linked sections within OneNote for ease of access and directed resources.
  • Set up pre-defined pages in individual Notebooks for formative and summative feedback
  • Created an OneNote display above the computers with screen shots of the key work areas
  • Past student examples page with digital work to view
  • Grouped sections organised to reflect course content and Assessment criteria
Teaching Staff Planner (Day to Day classroom use)

This was step 2 – learning from the  A-Level OneNote, I developed my own OneNote teacher planner

  • I created my own ‘staff OneNote planner’ and shared this with the staff in my department.
  • Staff meetings to train how to create pages etc and to review the benefits I had found and also some of the troubleshooting issues.
  • Brought together assessment within OneNote – embedded Excel markbooks, OneNote seating plans that link students Medical Plans, School Focus Plans pages etc.  These were printed into OneNote from emailed Word documents.
  • Open door policy in which staff can visit classrooms and see the OneNote being used in practice day in day out.
  • How to use desktop OneNote to move between different OneNotes
  • Created Case Studies for students and linked the use of the OneNote case studies to Lesson Observations, Learning Walks and Appraisal evidence.
  • Shown how the digital planner brings together a teachers toolkit into one hub and links to other aspects of the job.
  • Not an addition to an already full workload but a way to work more efficiently, hopefully smarter not harder.
  • Art staff using Surface in the classroom.
Subject Leaders Creative Arts Faculty

Step 3 – involved building upon the teacher planner and creating a faculty OneNote

  • Rather than be focused on the individual we wanted a strategic faculty digital hub.
  • All student department Assessment Points tracking/reviews completed in the Collaboration Space.
  • All staff can add to, view and edit content so we can share approaches.
  • Meeting information, timetables, school training and faculty meetings all recorded and shared in one hub.
  • As with student OneNote designed to look visually interesting and easy to access and navigate.
  • Used in department/faculty and SLT meetings to quickly show student progress for any discussions.
  • Photograph student work from across teaching groups and moderate the work visually to help staff with assessment.
  • Department handbooks

Successes to date

Areas to consider

Staff OneNote planner used day in and day out by staff and as Lesson Observation evidence.  Brings together markbooks, seating plans, student specific notes and student case studies in one holistic digital hub How we can further support another faculty and differentiate the OneNote to fit their needs.
Staff using the OneNote to diffuse, plan and keep track of key dates/information from the wealth of emails we receive. Keeping track of the number of pages and content.  The potential is so large that we could create too complex a structure and too many OneNotes.
Staff that I have trained are now training others staff from different departments.  Training is cascading down as staff can see how OneNote is used practically by teachers which is much more powerful and accessible than if I was to give a presentation. Keep the focus on Teaching & Learning. What is the benefit to the student in the way we use technology, how can we ensure the technology is always used to enhance learning?








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