One of the handiest programs I’ve used in a long time happens to be one of the programs I’ve had for a long time: Microsoft’s OneNote.
OneNote has been around for a couple of incarnations of MS Office. I remember seeing it as an option when I installed Office 2003 and thinking “sure, I’ll add it, maybe it’s cool.” I remember opening it and thinking that it was indeed cool, but I had no idea when I would use it. Then came Office 2007 and I again installed OneNote along with the other programs, again thinking surely I would use it for something. Well, better late than never. Here I am, some six years later, to tout the powerful, educator friendly tool that is OneNote.
Essentially all my lessons, notes, activities, handouts, etc. are digitized and categorized in folders on my hard drive. Although this system works, I have found some huge limitations. Take my Great Gatsby resources for example: I literally have have hundreds of files related to this unit. The problem comes when I want to give a quiz, or quickly find a handout, I have to wade through all the folders and files to find just the right one. This is where OneNote comes in.
Think of OneNote as one huge box. Now within that box I can hold my 3-ring binders, or “Notebooks”. Then each notebook is set-up just as I would use a traditional paper 3-ring binder. Each notebook contains sections that are tabbed at the top and then within each section I have my individual pages. Here, look at this example:
The tabs on the left are my 3-ring binders, or notebooks. The top tabs are my sections within that binder (in this picture I am using the 11th grade notebook, turned to the Gatsby tab). To the right are all the individual pages stored within that tab.
Now I can quickly and easily go through the content without opening multiple folders and files.
OneNote is extremely versitale allowing multiple types of files to be inserted. Movies, songs, pictures, etc. can all be inserted with ease. In the picture below I have inserted some .pdf files:
And here is an example showing a video:
I understand that many of you are probably thinking “wow, I have thousands of files, it would take me forever to add them all to OneNote.” Well, maybe yes, maybe no. It depends on how you add them. You can copy and paste the information within each file (what I have done with many of the pages), or you can simply drop the entire file onto a page (the much faster way to go).
BTW…OneNote can be downloaded as a standalone application. Meaning you do not have to have the full suite of MS Office.
Either way OneNote is a powerful organizational tool that I am glad to have finally “found”.
P.S. I’ve made my OneNote notebooks available to share. I am in the process of updating them and hope to have them complete by September, so check back!