OneNote Class Notebooks helps teachers and students create e-Portfolios

Kit McDonald

The OneNote Class Notebook has been revered by educators as an exceptional learning tool for teacher/student collaborations. It has made classrooms easier to manage and helped combine entertainment with learning. The growing list of achievements in education continues according to the guest article written on the Microsoft Office blog today.

Edita Rabizaite from the Kaunas Kazys Grinius Progymnasium School in Lithuania first began using OneNote in 2012. Because it was easier for both teachers and children to learn, she was determined to make long-term portfolios for students that emphasized individualized lesson plans and set a path towards higher learning. Her first experiments led her to a messy OneDrive filled with 24 different OneNote files for each student. While it was a roundabout way, she found that it was a success. The OneNote portfolios had a positive impact on students’ learning, creativity, and motivation.

It wasn’t until 2015 that Edita installed the OneNote Class Notebook add in with the 5th-grade class. Along with the teachers’ leadership group from across 35 schools in Lithuania, they began experimenting with the Notebook through a variety of teaching styles. Testing it through experience, the group’s goal is to make e-portfolios last at least four years, organizing the data and making it easy to access digitally after the student has finished a school.

There are six elements of an e-Portfolio that should be followed to turn the OneNote Class Notebook into an e-Portfolio:

  1. It should be digital.
  2. It needs to include learning evidence.
  3. It has to possess structured content and the student‘s reflection on the learning process.
  4. It should reflect a student‘s authorship, meaning a student has the choice whether or not to share the contents of the portfolio.
  5. It should demonstrate student reflection.
  6. It should showcase student work.

The e-portfolios built with the OneNote Class Notebook have basic spaces in which the student can interact and learn. Every student has access to personalized learning plans, feedback from peers, teachers, and parents, and showcase achievements. The Collaboration Space area acts as a forum for students to share ideas, create, reflect, and interact with other students and teachers. Using the Collaboration Space, the students will receive feedback on their projects, homework, and ideas. With the Student’s Notebook, students are able to write notes, save work, record lectures, and save assessments. This is the focus of work as the student can submit revisions to the teacher repeatedly as needed. The Content Library acts as a full storage of all the materials and resources that the teacher needs to share with their class.

Teachers have begun implementing this strategy with e-portfolios by having students fill templates for their goals, the tasks at which they currently excel, and what they desire to learn. Afterward, students choose a method of self -assessment such as performing tasks or types of work. Teachers take the template and personalize a learning plan to meet their educational needs giving both the student and the teacher an interactive and personalized method of improving their learning.

Teacher's strategy for applying individualized lessons in OneNote Class Notebook.
Teacher’s strategy for applying individualized lessons in OneNote Class Notebook.

The lesson plans can be adjusted several times when a point of struggle is noticed. This helps the student always stay on track with improving. The self-assessment sheets (which can be made through Excel) are used by the student throughout the process to add notes of when they have worked towards their learning goals. The spreadsheet is stored on the OneNote learning plan page for future use. Students are able to upload work multiple times, correcting it as many times as the teacher deems necessary until the subject is a success.

The student self-assessment sheet is placed into OneNote Class Notebook to track struggles.

Edita emphasizes in her article that the ability to work on a task should be fluid. The portfolio should offer clear navigation, make finding resources easy and efficient, and be clear and concise to all users. Teacher should be able to to use OneNote Class Notebook to build their learning plans, assess learning strategies, and take action all in one place. Ultimately, thanks to the structure and easily comparable evidence provided by the portfolios, students can receive individualized lessons that build them up into higher learning.