Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Useful Microsoft in Education posts this week #86

The Internet is currently full of posts about using Microsoft products effectively in the classroom. Here are a number of them from this past week. The list is embedded below but can also be found at http://bit.ly/2jT0Pcshe link to the back-dated posts is http://bit.ly/1GVLTUZ 

Friday, 13 January 2017

Useful Google in Education posts this week #88

After looking through all the Google posts that were shared to various subscriptions recently, these are a selection that look useful for teachers https://goo.gl/SN9shr    (The link to previous posts can be found here https://goo.gl/CNO3M2)

Why not register for the Open Education Global Conference in Cape Town this year?

The Open Education Global Conference is being held in Cape Town this year! The Open Education Global Conference is the annual opportunity for researchers, practitioners, policy makers and educators to deeply explore open education and its impact on global education. Conference participants engage with thought leaders in open education and have the opportunity to share ideas, practices and discuss issues important to the future of education worldwide. The Open Education Global Conference is the largest conference devoted exclusively to open education, attracting participants from more than 30 countries around the world.

The Open Education Global Conference 2017 is organized jointly by the Open Education Consortium and the University of Cape Town.

8-10 March, 2017


Provisional program will be available during the week of 16 January

How to register
http://conference.oeconsortium.org/2017/ The early bird deadline date is 31-Jan 2017

The first keynote speakers have been announced. More to follow...

The keynote panel has been announced

Other interesting information

The organisers say on their website: "We’re particularly excited to have Cape Town as the venue in 2017 conference, since it marks the 10 year anniversary of the Cape Town Open Education Declaration. 2017 actually marks several important milestones in Open Education, including the 15 year anniversary of the term “Open Educational Resources” and the 5 year anniversary of the Paris OER Declaration. For those who remember the start of the movement, we’ll have the opportunity to celebrate and reflect on these and other achievements, reconnect with colleagues and friends, and learn about new ideas and initiatives. New to the Open Education Global Conference? A special welcome to you, and an invitation to join us to hear about what’s going on around the world, share your experiences and ideas, meet some really dynamic people, and help us realize the open future of education.

"The Open Education Awards for Excellence will be presented during the conference. These awards recognize distinctive open education projects, technological innovations, notable open courses, and exemplary leaders in Open Education worldwide. We encourage you to participate in the awards process by nominating your favorite people, projects and ideas. Call for nominations will open on September 05, 2016. Learn more about the awards and make your nominations here."

Thursday, 12 January 2017

MIEExpert Spotlight #20: Freddy Chireka: Explore OneNote and OneNote Class Creator

This is the 20th post in the series "MIEExpert Spotlight" for South Africa. The tab with all the posts can be found at: 
http://bit.ly/1ZYy8Z7. Today we focus on Freddy Chireka. Freddy is passionate about training teachers in South Africa in the use of Microsoft applications. He taught in Johannesburg for nine years. His turning point came when the Gauteng MEC for Education, Mr. Panyaza Lesufi, launched the ICT Integration Project. Freddy then became effectively involved in the training of teachers and served as an ICT Co-ordinator, championing the adoption of the use of ICTs in learning. As an ICT Coordinator he worked closely with the District’s E-learning Unit in implementing various E-learning Projects. In 2015 Freddy joined Vastratech Professional Development Academy and Thandulwazi Maths and Science Academy as a Technology Coach.

Microsoft tools in education
Freddy states that,“Microsoft’s tools for education, to me, are vital in assisting teachers to move away from the 20th century type of education that prepares students for routine and general recall skills to the excitement of implementing 21st century thinking,” He maintains that he is driven by the desire to play a meaningful role in society through effective education that fosters the development of 21st century skills such as critical thinking, collaboration, communication and creativity. “At Thandulwazi Maths and Science Academy under the leadership of Ronelle Klinck, we train teachers from under privileged communities on the use of ICTs in education in digital literacy and from 2017 we will be training all the teachers on the use of Microsoft Tools for Education.  By training teachers, I am thrilled that I am contributing to the goal of preparing learners for the future.”  Freddy is also a Professional Learning Specialist at Vastratech where he is tasked with running professional development activities across the country. 

The OneNote Class Notebook Creator
Microsoft offers extensive Professional Development on the use of its products. There is an abundance of short videos and tutorials that can be easily followed and understood by the average teacher. Freddy loves using OneNote Classwork Creator.  When asked how he got started with OneNote and OneNote Classwork Creator he said, “OneNote is a great tool to use in the classroom with learners, but when I noticed the risk of learners tampering with original notes and other learners’ work, I realised that this was going to present me with big challenges in managing my learners. Upon research I realized Microsoft has introduced OneNote Class Notebook to solve that challenge. It should be very easy for an average teacher to download Class Notebook using the OneNote Class Notebook creator. It is basically an easy to follow wizard.”

How the OneNote Class Notebook Creator works
A teacher can easily manage all her classes effectively with OneNote Class Notebook. When asked to expound this Freddy explained that In OneNote Class Notebook creator you create a Class Notebook with three main sub-notebooks namely student notebooks, content library and collaboration space.  In the Student Notebook only the teacher and the individual learner have access to that folder. A teacher can then share individual handouts, class notes, homework assignments and quizzes. The teacher is able to monitor, in real time, the individual progress of each learner and give feedback only to the learner concerned. In the Content Library space teachers are able to add relevant content or edit content for their learners. For the learners this material is read-only. This is useful to avoid students tampering with original materials. This is the same concept as a paper-based library where students are not allowed to cut or edit books in the library. In the third space, the Collaboration Space all learners have editing rights and can also add any materials of their choice. This allows sharing, trying new ideas and collaboration. The teacher is able to monitor and control activities in this space. Freddy adds, “The OneNote Class Notebook Add-in, which can be opened in OneNote 2013 or 2016, enables teachers to save time and work even more efficiently with their Class Notebooks. It has many additional very useful features for teachers.”

A Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert
As a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert Freddy likes to share his experiences with Microsoft tools with other. He uses various online media for this. He says, “Recently I had a skype session with teachers in India and I encouraged them to teach mathematics using OneNote. I always encourage fellow teachers to join the Microsoft Educator Community.” 
He concludes, “I would like to see teachers embracing technology as a tool to better education practices. Microsoft offers great tools that would enhance teaching and learning but teachers and learners have to be shown how to  effectively tap into that advantage. In South Africa there is need for an urgent solution to the connectivity issue. Most of our schools in South Africa are poorly connected especially in remote areas. Once that happens the sky is the limit. "\

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

10 great ways for teachers to use Microsoft OneNote

Submitted by Fiona Beal
Teachers, have you tried using OneNote? Once you do you'll be hooked! OneNote is a digital tool from Microsoft that allows you to type, write or draw your notes and store them in an organised fashion in a digital notebook. You can access your content from anywhere on any device. I am a keen OneNote user and this year I plan to explore all the possible features of using OneNote in teaching. In this post I will discuss some of the the benefits of OneNote to teachers. Really, it is a must!

Which version to use
My school doesn’t subscribe to Office 365 but we do have a licence to use Microsoft products at school. We have Windows 10 desktops so OneNote is available to use. The OneNote 2016 version of OneNote on the desktop has so many incredible options to use. At school I let the learners use OneNote online and I use that too for demonstration purposes. It doesn’t have as many features as OneNote 2016 on the desktop, but it syncs with my home version of OneNote 2016 which is great! In the features that could help teachers, mentioned below, I’ll note which version of Onenote this refers to if it is only found in one of the two versions I am referring to.

1. Make a TO DO list for the day
If you go to Home >To Do tag you can easily create a TO DO list. This can be created on a separate page or it can be added to any page of notes. 

2. Use page colours and lines if desired (OneNote 2016)
You can choose different page colours (Go to View > Page colours) and you can also add a variety of line templates in OneNote 2016. (Go to View > Rule lines). Since you can write anywhere on a OneNote page the your typing fits beautifully into the lines.

3. Insert documents or add saved files into your notebook
You’ll see that you have a place for SECTIONS and PAGES in your OneNote Notebook so that your OneNote Notebook is always clearly laid out. In OneNote online these pages are stored in OneDrive. In addition to taking notes on the page you can also insert documents such as PDFs, Word documents, PowerPoint slides etc.

a) Insert documents
If you just wish to add a downloadable version of a document stored on your computer you can easily do so. Click on Insert > File Attachment

Add the document of your choice from its saved location. It will be added to your OneNote as shown. 

b) Add notes in the form of print outs
In a Word document use the PRINT icon and then select SEND TO ONENOTE. You’ll notice a message comes up in OneNote asking where you would like to add this. In OneNote 2016 these open when you click on them. In OneNote online you have to download the document and then open it. 

Select where you would like to add the notes. Below is an example of a Word document that I have added. I cannot make any changes to the wording but I can write on the page. 

4. Use inking (OneNote 2016)
Inking (drawing) is a great feature to use. You'll find this feature under Draw in the menu bar.  Any touchscreen device or a computer with a mouse can take advantage of OneNote’s inking feature. Hand write notes, draw diagrams, or annotate notes and images with the freehand drawing tools. You can also annotate on a page of existing notes.

5. Easily capture your web research (OneNote 2016)
I love this feature in OneNote. I have created a SECTION called RESEARCH in on of my notebooks and as I surf the net and find interesting articles I would like to keep I send information to OneNote. This could be a whole page or part of a page sent directly to OneNote. Click Ctrl +P on your keyboard (or choose File > Print), select Send to OneNote 2016 from your list of printers, and your page is sent to wherever you wish to file it.

6. Clip from the web with the OneNote Clipper (OneNote online)
Since I often use the Chrome browser, I have installed the OneNote Clipper extension
The OneNote Clipper can be used to save any page directly to OneNote without the clutter. All of your clips are saved to the Quick Notes section of your default notebook. You’ll need to install OneNote Clipper and sign in.

 Once you have clipped something it appears in your OneNote. Here is an example:

7. Use Templates (OneNote 2016)
OneNote has a a selection of templates which can help teachers (and students) create better class notes. Go to Insert > Page Templates.

You can also create your own templates as follows:
  • Design your template on a blank page. Select the Insert tab.
  • Click the Page Templates button. The Templates pane appears on the right side. 
  • Select Save Current Page as Template on the Templates pane. Name the template in the dialog box.
  • Click Save. A new category called My Templates holds all your templates.

8. Use Voice Notes to capture thoughts about learners’ work 
(OneNote 2016)
OneNote’s recording facility is a great advantage. You can combine it with text on the page. To start recording on the web, click Insert > Record Audio. Once you’re finished recording, click Stop. You can play the file by selecting it and then clicking the Play icon that appears.

9. Use video with OneNote (OneNote 2016)
Click a location on the page in OneNote where you want to place the recording. Click Insert > Record Video.

Recording starts as soon as OneNote adds a media icon to the page. When you want to stop the recording you press Pause or Stop on the Video tab. To play the recording, click the media icon on the page and then click Play.

10. Prepare lessons and keep organised

a) Create lesson plans on OneNote
This video shows how to use OneNote to record lesson plans using the LEARN format, including how to insert a table, hyperlink to a document, and insert a screen clipping.

b) Use OneNote as a Classroom planner
OneNote Planners can be individualised, adding a page (or starting a new workbook) for items such as a term calendar, your weekly work program, student comments, assessment schedule, curriculum documents or meeting notes. Take a look at this video:


c) Use OneNote as a Digital daybook
The following video shows you how to create a teacher's daily diary of lessons and notes using OneNote.


OneNote is a must for all teachers who want to go paperless with many aspects of their teaching.  Give it a try. Visit http://www.onenote.com/ and download OneNote today!

Monday, 9 January 2017

Useful Microsoft in Education posts this week #85

The Internet is currently full of posts about using Microsoft products effectively in the classroom. Here are a number of them from this past week http://bit.ly/2juu9Wd  (The link to the back-dated posts is http://bit.ly/1GVLTUZ )

Friday, 6 January 2017

Useful Google in Education posts this week #88

After looking through all the Google posts that were shared to various subscriptions recently, these are a selection that look useful for teachers https://goo.gl/1o0FAs    (The link to previous posts can be found here https://goo.gl/CNO3M2)

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Teachers plan for 2017 using OneNote Online – keep everything well-organised and accessible on any device

Submitted by Fiona Beal
Have you explored Microsoft’s free digital notebook – OneNote? Basically OneNote takes the place of paper notebooks. It can be used for everything you need to remember at school. Your learners can also use OneNote in place of their classroom notebooks. It’s an amazing program – a must for any teacher, I feel.

Introducing OneNote in its full functionality
There's so much you can do with OneNote. You can type, write or draw as though you were using pen to paper. OneNote lets you add photos, files, text, ink, recordings, and tables wherever you want. You can even take handwritten notes and convert them to typed text later. You can highlight what's important and express your ideas using colours or shapes. You can search and clip from the web to save your findings. Best is that it’s easy to pull up your content from anywhere as OneNote works on any device or platform. 

Where you will find OneNote
There are different versions of OneNote, some with full functionality and other with less functionality. OneNote is free for everyone and can be obtained in several ways:
  1. Our school has subscribed to Microsoft for their Office products but we do not have Office 365. However OneNote is available on our Windows desktops. If it is OneNote2013 or OneNote2016 it has full functionality. 
  2. OneNote can be downloaded from OneNote.com
  3. If your school subscribes to Office 365 you will find OneNote with some additional advnatges. 
  4. If you create a Microsoft account and sign in to Microsoft OneDrive https://onedrive.live.com/ you’ll find a free Office Suite plus OneNote Online available to you.( OneDrive is Microsoft's service for hosting files in the "cloud", that's available for free to all the owners of a Microsoft account.)  I use OneNote Online with my Grade 6s and 7s.
I thought I would explain how I plan to use OneNote Online at school this year. This post highlights some of my ideas.

Sign in to OneNote Online
Go to OneNote online https://www.onenote.com/. You’ll need to create a Microsoft account to access OneNote online which, as mentioned, is part of OneDrive.  If your school has subscribed to Office 365 you'll use the option 'Sign in with a work or school account'. Otherwise use the option shown below 'Sign in with a Microsoft account'. 

Create your Notebooks
Once you’ve created your Microsoft account and you sign in to OneNote, you’ll notice how OneNote is constructed. OneNote uses Notebooks. The first thing you’ll come across is the blank Notebook section. You’ll need to decide how many you would like to have. You can have as many of these as you like. These are just like physical notebooks. They consist of a collection of note pages. For example you can create a Personal Notebook, a School Notebook and maybe a Professional Development Notebook. Everything will be in one place and easily accessible on every device you use.
Notebook examples
Start by creating a Notebook of your choice, then build from there. This year I have created three Notebooks - Planning 2017, Professional Development 2017 and Personal 2017.
School Planning 2017:
This is where I keep a record the following items for school:
  • My year plan 
  • My Term plan
  • My daily plan
  • My classroom timetable
  • The school calendar
  • Additional school information
  • Assessment plans 
  • and more…
Professional Development 2017:
This is where I record the following:
  • Planned school professional development session with notes
  • Notes from webinars that I listen to
  • Conference notes
  • Ideas from books and e-books
  • Ideas from web articles that I read.
  • and more…
Personal 2017:
I put most the information I want to keep for future here, and that includes:
  • Ideas that come into my mind
  • Links that I am interested in, or those I want to read later
  • Book lists for reading
  • Goals
  • Recipes
  • My TO DO list
  • and more...
You'll notice that any Notebooks that have been shared with you are also listed with your Notebooks. Notebooks are displayed in alphabetical order.

Create Sections in your Notebooks
Once you get going, you may find the need to create topical breakdowns for better organisation. OneNote uses the word ‘Sections’ for these breakdowns. Sections help you arrange ideas by topic or a range of dates. You'll notice some of my Sections in my School Planning 2017 Notebook in the image below: The Sections appear on the left and this keeps everything very orderly.

Create Pages within your sectionsThe next step will be to create your Pages within each Section. The Pages appear in the middle column of the OneNote. You can have as many named Pages as you like for each Section. For example under the Year Plan Section I plan to add a summary of the four terms of the year in a table format.

I’ll then add a detailed plan for each Term with links where necessary.

In the Daily Plan Section I will have a page for each day.

Reorganize your Sections and your Pages
One of the great things about OneNote  is that you can reorganize your Sections and Pages in the order you would like them to appear.

No saving is necessary
You don’t have to save your notes as OneNote does it automatically. It’s only when you need to save a Notebook, Page, or Section, under a different name, you need to use the Save As function.

Share Notebooks
Once your Notebook is completed you can share it with others. All your OneNote Notebooks can be located in your OneDrive account where you can rename them if desired. (If you want to share your Notebook it might be an idea to add your name to it as well.) 

In conclusion, I am sure you'll agree that OneNote is a great way to plan for your year at school this year. You might have a different idea to mine for setting out your year. Perhaps you would prefer to just have one Notebook called School 2017?   Why not give OneNote a try?

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Useful Microsoft in education posts this week #84

The Internet is currently full of posts about using Microsoft products effectively in the classroom. Here are a number of them from this past week http://bit.ly/2iHkZZG  (The link to the back-dated posts is http://bit.ly/1GVLTUZ )