Back in July I attended my first ever Microsoft 365 course. During that course I got excited about the possibilities of using OneNote Class Notebook to help me meet some of the teaching targets I’d set for myself earlier in the year. I’ve been using OneNote Class Notebook with my students (EDUC9404) for the last 3 weeks and it’s been an amazing experience. In the following post, I will explore the what, the hows and the whys of the ways in which I’ve been using this tool and some targets for me going forward.
Getting Data and responding to it.
One of the biggest frustrations I have as a tutor in a university settings, is the complete lack of data I have at my disposal. In order to be responsive to my students needs and strengths, i need to understand what those needs and strengths are in the first place! As a tutor in a university I am given a list of student names and not much else. No data on the modules they are or have completed, no map of where they’ve come from academically, what they’re interested in, where their strengths lie. That, I have to learn as I work with them. I get 10 weeks to do this and deadlines are tight. They have 4 weeks with me until their very first assignment needs to be written. That doesn’t give me long to get that data and to use it to help them. Not long at all. It’s not the time that’s the biggest factor in this difficulty though, it’s the blindness. The lack of information.
As an experienced teacher, I have a range of formative assessment strategies up my sleeve but these have never been sufficient to see if what I’m doing is having an impact before I read their final assignment. In a high school setting, I can use data to change seating plans, personalise learning pathways and much more. That is what I want to be able to do for my students in their masters topic. I want to teach them as best I can, model some strategies that they themselves might use when they teach in a classroom themselves. When I sat at the 365 workshop with the teachers and Troy in July, I could hear an opportunity to do this using One Note and so, for the past month I’ve been working on it.
I’m still not sure I’ve got everything I can out of it yet but, my goodness, i’m getting something and I’m pretty sure that, that something is good.
In my post in July, I set myself a target to use the collaboration and class notebook tools to share a rubric that my students could then heat map in their class note books. We would do this regularly and, as a result, I would have some basic data I could use
“to inform group configurations, resources, readings etc. It could make the formative assessment process much more useful!”
Well, I did that. I also did a bit more…
Setting Up the Class Notebook
I quickly discovered that it was really easy to create a set of class notebooks and that, sticking to the plan of just a rubric was thinking a little small. Of course, OneNote Class Notebook creates several pages in each students’ book. I created one new section called “Assessment Rubric” but I left the other sections there too. Just to see what happened.. I’m glad I did.
The Heat Map
In the “Content Area” I left a copy of the blank rubric and asked the students to copy and paste this into their class Notebook under their Assessment Rubric section. This wasn’t as straight forward as I’d hoped. I think, because we’d brought our own devices and were running OneNote on lots of different versions of the app, the instructions for following this simple procedure were different on lots of different devices. As we moved forward, we will rely more on OneNote online than the native apps or desktop applications; giving us a consistent version of the software (regardless of what we were running it on)..
Once we’d all got that rubric in place, everyone was left to get acquainted with the drawing tools and asked to heat map the rubric. The only issues we had here were when the rubric was accidentally moved – without the colours attached to it! It didn’t take us too long though to get to grips with this way of working 🙂
At the end of each session, I asked students to go and re-highlight their rubric. I was keeping a record in my own mark book of the colours they were choosing and how they were changing. This, i hope, gave the students the chance to think, reflectively, on where they were at and to see the colours moving and progressing. Their learning was more visible to them and constantly connected to the main outcome we were all hoping to achieve at the end. I only got to take a record of these changes twice (as we were only working with One note for 3 sessions) but, for those who chose to take part, I could see some significant information and use that to plan my groups, tasks and more.
The colours (as you can see in the image to the right) were moving in the right direction. Students were able to give me (and themselves) some feedback about their confidence level at each stage of the rubric. Reds (I don’t have this) slowly gave way to amber and green and I was able to start grouping students together according to the information they were giving me.