Why Google Apps Must Needs Die

There are two pillars in the education sector right now, Google and Microsoft.  Google has Google Appsfor Education which is made up of Google Drive (a file system), Google Docs, and a variety of other applications that work relatively well together.  Microsoft, on the other hand, has OneNote Class Notebook along with the rest of the Office suite, OneDrive (a file system) that also work relatively well together.

There is, however, an important distinction between the two.  Google Apps, with Google Drive & Docs at its core, is the last, desperate breath of the GutenbergParenthesis… the final phase of the (relatively) brief time in human history where knowledge, information, imagination, thought and creativity were held subservient to the linear progress of typeprint.… Visit the author's original post

Five reasons to learn Math with OneNote

So, Alice Keeler - @alicekeeler- who is an amazing blogger and an incredible resource for those using Google products, posted 60 Ways Math Teachers can use Google Classroom last April.  It came across my desk the other day and, since school hadn't started yet, I thought it might be a good reflection for me on how one could do similar tasks with OneNote Class Notebook.

I went through the list and checked that I could accomplish them all with OneNote and re-wrote her post with those modifications ...… Visit the author's original post

"So you’ve sold your soul…"

While at the Bringing-IT-Together conference (one of the best gathering of learners in North America) in November 2015 I had the opportunity to present at a few sessions, mostly on OneNote (of course?) but I also got to work with some folks from Microsoft and, in recognition of being a Microsoft Education Fellow and Innovative Expert Educator and my school being a Microsoft World Tour School, they gave me an amazingly red t-shirt with the image below on the back.… Visit the author's original post

Auto-Grading an Office365 Excel Survey Assessment

So it's pretty common that folks use Google Forms to create an automatically graded assessment.  Now, I have to admit, as a mathematics teacher I don't do a lot of fixed-response assessments like this that need automatic grading.  But that doesn't mean it isn't a useful option.

In fact this post arises not from automatic grading but rather a situation in our Psychology course.  The teachers were doing a study with their students and wanted to collect the data easily and run a T-Test with as little work as possible.Visit the author's original post

5 things about the Microsoft Band

(So I ran into Minnia Feng, the Community Organizer for the Microsoft Expert Educators when I was in Redmond last month and she mentioned I'd taken her "5 item listicles" by the horns.  Long story short, I believe than when I'm faced with a constraint, I become more creative and prolific viz. Twitter.  So I'll continue with the idea of keeping it, or pushing it to five)

Everyone was in a hullabaloo about the Apple Watch recently but I have to admit I'm not a great fan of the Apple ecosystem.… Visit the author's original post

Yammer : 5 reasons to explore a new space

Continuing on the Microsoft Expert Educator suggestion to make 5-tips-articles here's one on Yammer.

Yammer is part of Office365 and is free to schools, faculty and students as part of their free Office365 subscriptions.  On first glance, and in general discussion with faculty and students, its best approximation is a social networking conversation space like Facebook.

So why not just use Facebook?  For Facebook there is the explicit danger of using a personal space for professional work between & amongst students and teachers, Instead, Yammer is built in to the Office365 structure (so security and consistency of passwords).… Visit the author's original post

Art and #OneNote ? My 5 responses

So a colleague posted this on a Yammer conversation the other day and I didn't want to try to post to it without some explanations, for which Yammer did not provide sufficient space.  And since Microsoft encouraged us to post "5 point articles" I feel constrained to continue in that fashion :)


I'm not sure I ever would have suggested digital inking to create art in OneNote... there are FAR better tools for that!  Brief sketches, initial designs perhaps but a full art curriculum deserves far more than OneNote can offer (and that's OneNote's biggest advocate talking!)

Amongst OneNote's strengths (see a 5-point rundown here) are its sharing abilities and ease with multimedia.… Visit the author's original post

Top 5 reasons to use #OneNote in your classroom

Microsoft asked if we could put together 5-point tip lists.  As it happens, I had started to scribble down some thoughts on a recent snow day (a Rumspringa for teachers) and never got it completed so while I'm on March Break I have the time to finish it up.

This is just basic, free OneNote -- without any special add-ons like Onetastic or the OneNote Class or Staff Notebooks.

Screenshot of shared Notebook for the 3-week PCMI PD workshop.
Since we didn't use paper, everything was continuously updated
 and accessible by the participants
1.Visit the author's original post

The 5 Next Steps a Teacher takes with the #OneNoteClass Notebook

We've had almost four years with our OneNote ClassBinder, having rolled it out to every class from 7 to 12, math to languages to phys-ed every year.  In the first year we had 85% of classes voluntarily use it -- that's the power of handing teachers the open structure of OneNote!  (People always ask about training... here's my notes on that topic.)

The easy part is already done by OneNote and the OneNote ClassNotebook Creator (get them both free here http://www.onenoteforteachers.com/ !) OneNote gives you a wide open canvas for any type of content and the ease of automatically syncing across any device.… Visit the author's original post

Hacking the OneNote Class Notebook Part III : Planning in _Private

I realized the other day while writing Parts 1 (link) & 2 (link) that I'd never talked about the Private Teacher Section Group in our OneNote Binders...

During our first year with the OneNote Binders (our initial design that ended up becoming the OneNote Class Notebook) we quickly realized we needed a private space in the _Teacher section of the Notebook... teachers were having to create additional Notebooks to do their planning and then copying the material into the class Notebook for students to get access to.… Visit the author's original post

Hacking the OneNote Class Notebook Part II : A digital portfolio

So as soon as I posted the previous blog on changing permissions, I was asked how I would create a Digital Portfolio section inside the student's section; that is, a section that the teacher can add content to but the student can't change.  (Yes, it's not the full spirit of a DP but it has aspects of the footprints of a DP.)  It's a bit of a challenge to get at the files (and there's likely a quicker way) but here's how I get at it...… Visit the author's original post

Hacking the OneNote Classroom Notebook

So the amazing Marilyn Steier, an educator from Alberta I met while in Barcelona for the Microsoft Global Forum last year, asked a question on Microsoft's Canada Education Yammer group (Link) about removing students and teachers from the OneNote Class Notebook.  And it got me thinking ... we've been using the OneNote Binders at Appleby College school wide for the past three years -- it's a pretty sophisticated tool.  We happily showed Microsoft our framework and they created the OneNote Class Notebook Creator ...… Visit the author's original post

I felt this tingle while shoveling snow…

So we had a snow day Monday.  I won't go in to the gloriousness that a snow day is here in Canada.  Suffice it to say that they're as close to heaven as you can get without dying.
It came at a cost; there was 35cm of snow across my neighbourhood.  My neighbours are not teachers, they tend to be young families or retired folks -- so when I get a snow day, I grab my shovel and start clearing the snow from their driveways and steps.… Visit the author's original post

There’s no I in TEAM (there’s an _A, _M and _R though!)

When we first introduced the OneNote Binders, amongst the immediate requests was for group collaboration spaces.  For the first year, we had the teachers request them through our IT request system and manually created them and assigned the permissions.  But, given the convenience of OneNote, we knew we wanted a dynamic solution... and so we rolled out a webapp that would create groups of any size or shape!


The teacher goes to the webapp and decides on a name for the Project and then assigns students to groups.… Visit the author's original post