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Monday, October 26, 2015

Digital Journaling

Seventh and Eighth graders in Ms. Brown and Mrs. Bush’s Pre-AP Language Arts classes have taken their notebooking to a whole new level. This year, students are utilizing OneNote as an alternative to traditional pencil paper notebooks. OneNote allows users to collect and organize resources in once place. Notes (handwritten or typed), drawings, documents, and audio files can be uploaded and shared collaboratively with others online. In these classrooms, digital notebooks are used daily for note taking, goal setting, progress monitoring, class assignments, completed student work, reading logs and much more.

Ms. Brown and Mrs. Bush set up the initial notebook and had students make a copy that would become their own to maintain. That allowed for some consistency amongst students as far as tabs and organization were concerned. Students were then free to add additional tabs to customize their notebooks. Springboard lessons and other resources are housed on the teacher’s Moodle page and students are instructed to add them to their individual notebooks as necessary. The expectation is that students will maintain their notebook to reflect work they’re doing in class. Teachers conference with students once a six weeks and do a “OneNote Check” to ensure students are successful with digital notebooking.    

Kat was excited to share her experiences with using OneNote in the classroom. “We are more engaged in our learning. Everything we need for class is on our tablet. You don’t have to worry about leaving your homework at home because it’s always on your tablet and you should always have your tablet with you. It [OneNote] was hard at first, but once we learned how to use it, it became easier.” She goes on to talk about how she found herself able to be more efficient when using OneNote. “It’s easy for me to work on my digital notebook. It keeps me organized, and I was not organized with my notebooks last year. Everything is typed and it’s quicker and easier than actually handwriting it out.” In the video below, Below Kat uses Screencast-O-Matic to share her OneNote journal and highlights the things she likes most about using it in class.


Anna is quite impressed with her OneNote digital notebook as well. She points out how the tabs at the top of her notebook keeps things organized and accessible for class. “In my Reading Reflections tab, I use the check marks to mark off assignments that I have completed. I can keep track of the goals I am working on or have met.” Anna also mentioned how she is much more organized this year. All of her lessons, notes and charts are inserted into her notebook and says she is encouraged to use those resources while completing assignments. To preview Anna's OneNote journal, check out her screencast below.


Although these students have not published their notebooks to the web (requiring a Microsoft Live account), they have them set to sync automatically with their h:drive. Both students like having their reading logs digitized and made reference to how it easily allows them to keep up with their reading for this year’s campus book challenge. They also value the annotation feature available through their notebooks. Using OneNote has brought about a new excitement for learning for these students.

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