OneNote Staff Notebook – Lessons Learned, Part 1

In this post, I shared my attempt at using the OneNote Staff Notebook for technology professional development.  The experience was an eye opener for me, mostly because there were a few logistical issues that I hadn’t thought about.  As I reviewed last week’s experiences, I made notes on a few ways to tweak the process going forward.  Here’s what I found – use what you can and toss the rest!

    • Start with a face to face session.  Instead of simply sending out an email that pointed teachers to the task in their OneNote Staff Notebook,  I should have had a whole group session showing teachers what to do, then allow those who are independent learners to complete the tasks at their own pace.  Teachers didn’t know how to get to their notebooks any other way except from my email and once they deleted it, they were lost.  So funny how many teachers responded with “What’s due?!”  when I sent out deadline reminder.
    • Modify tabs before you share.  When you open the notebook, the sections you see are Welcome, the Collaboration Space, and Content Library.  Each of those have generic info created by Microsoft, and it’s not obvious where teachers should look for their own content.  I streamlined the info so it was a little less confusing.
    • Add explanation of tabs and sections.  I went in and modified tab names and created a page in Welcome section that explained each item they saw across the top, as well as the tabs in their own notebooks.  (See my example below) I also put tip on how to see sections that were not showing up.

onenote sample

    • Create a few generic comments and modify as needed.  It was easy to personalize when only handful had completed session, but became harder to do when 50 – 60 had completed assignments!  I was able to copy and paste my generic comment and make changes, which saved me a tone of time.  I also found these really cute QR Codes by Heather Kaiser on Teachers Pay Teachers to use.
    • History feature is even more awesome than I thought!  I panicked for a second when I started thinking about how to monitor the completion of multi-level tasks by the 50+ teachers whom I had made users of the notebook.  Thank goodness for History!  Not only does it allow me to decide the timeframe in which I need to review changes, but it places the name of all users who have made modifications in bold text.  It even bolds the section of their individual notebook they worked on!Well, there you have it.  I’m sure there are many other things I haven’t even come across yet, but I’ll gladly share as I go.  What lessons have you learned using OneNote Staff Notebooks?Happy Tech-ing!

One of Those Days…

Image     Today I did (another)  one of those things that makes me question my abilities as a Tech Specialist.  Typically, it’s small stuff, like mentioning an item in an email and then forgetting to attach the item, or drawing a total blank when asked how to fix a problem that occurs on a daily basis and that I’ve fixed at least a hundred times.

But today’s blunder took the cake.  While making modifications to a list I created for teachers on our portal using Sharepoint 2010 – my favorite program (read I HATE this program!!!),  – I forgot that the Alert feature was enabled.  So, as I worked with a colleague to modify the existing list, I inadvertently sent out emails to all those receiving the alerts for every single item on the list – a whopping 170+ emails!  I probably wouldn’t have even noticed this until tomorrow since I wasn’t really checking emails today, except when I picked up my iPhone, I had 170 new messages!  Imagine my chagrin when, after muttering not so nice words about the culprit of these emails, I realized it was me!  I hastily sent out an apology email to all my coworkers – again, nice work Tech Specialist!  Many of them bounced back because the recipient’s mailboxes were full.

Oops!

Happy Teaching!