OneNote…The Swiss Army Knife of Education

Fall is my favorite time of year to get outdoors and spend some time hiking and backpacking. No matter if it is a day trip or overnight I always pack my little Swiss army knife. One tool with sooo many uses.
This time of year also involves my favorite education tool… OneNote. Like my Swiss army knife, OneNote is one tool with sooo many uses. A virtual notebook, reminiscent of my old Trapper Keeper.  It can organize by sections or group sections with unlimited pages packed with documents, photos, emails, spreadsheets, recordings, inking and so much more. It gives me the ability to collaborate with colleagues and students and best of all I can access the most current version of my notebooks from my phone, my tablet, my surface, my desktop or laptop.

Take a look at how OneNote is organizing the Cherokee County School District.


MY PERSONAL SCHOOL YEAR NOTEBOOK


I start the year with a personal School notebook. This includes group sections for each school that I service with sections for logistics, schedules, training materials and communication. There is a section for Conferences, Special Projects, Staff Meetings, Instructions and MIEE. This notebook is synced to my iPad, phone, desktop and laptop giving me quick access to anything and everything related to my job.

TECHNOLOGY STAFF SERVICES NOTEBOOK


Each member of our department has access to everything we could ever need in our department notebook. All school floor plans, workflow for our projects, our organization chart, resolution to issues, leave and our performance appraisal forms. Project management and evaluation information all in one notebook where changes made occur in real time.

GRADE LEVEL NOTEBOOKS

Our lead teachers create a notebook for their team allowing for collaboration of lesson plans, storing communication from parents, organizing the many events that take place throughout the year. Having the ability to access all of this information in one place has proved to be an invaluable tool for the teams.


SCHOOL LKES (
Leader Keys Effectiveness System) NOTEBOOKS


The Leadership Keys Effectiveness System is an evaluation system that allows the state to ensure consistency and comparability across districts, based on a common definition of leader effectiveness. Our leadership evaluation documentation has gone from spiral bound paper copies to OneNote.

Our Principals share their notebooks with the Superintendent’s office providing a record with meaningful feedback supporting the continuous growth and development of each leader by monitoring, analyzing, and applying pertinent data from multiple sources toward attainment of established performance goals.

LKES offers clear and precise indicators and resources to leaders throughout the process. OneNote provides data and information that is always current.

SCHOOL HANDBOOK AND TKES NOTEBOOKS


Every school has a handbook with all of the information for the school year from discipline to leave information and everything in between. The OneNote Staff Notebook Creator proved to be the perfect match for this task. The principals created notebooks sharing admin rights with the assistant principals including all school data in the content section. Being able to update in real time to all staff members make it the perfect tool.

The Collaboration section is used for various meetings, leadership, technology, hospitality and staff meetings all give attendees the ability to contribute to the recording. This section is also a great way for Principals to gather information quickly from the staff.

Each Staff member also has their own private notebook which have a section for each of the Teacher Keys Evaluation standards including. Professional Knowledge, Instructional Planning, Instructional Strategies, Differentiated Strategies, Communication, Assessment Strategies, Positive Learning Environment and more. Teachers upload their lesson plans, communication tools and professional development records. This process keeps all of the information in one spot making it a professional and easy medium for the evaluation with administration always having access.


CLASSROOM NOTEBOOKS

Many of our teachers are creating notebooks using the Class Notebook Creator for our students from 4th to 12th grade. The Content area provides the perfect place for subject textbook information, assignments and resources.

Collaboration content can include a yearbook space for each student, essential question of the day or a discussion space for a class topic. Each student has a private space to turn in assignments and homework and journal. Grading papers from one location make this seamless for class management.

Introducing our students to OneNote has been incredibly rewarding and exciting. They moved to this environment easily and have been respectful of the collaboration space, a great introduction to appropriate use of digital citizenship. Turning in their homework, maintaining their journal and having access to all of their content make this the perfect classroom tool.

Additional uses for OneNote include Notebooks for our Professional Development classes, notebooks for our Innovation Zones, Lesson Plan notebooks, notebooks for our EdCamp and for our Office 365 Swat Team.


Daily new uses and Avengers are discovered for this versatile “Swiss army knife-like” tool which is saving time and organizing our district one notebook at a time.

For additional information on OneNote check out these resources:
OneNote for Teachers
OneNote

And You May Ask Yourself Well…How Did I Get Here?

The lyrics are from a song by the Talking Heads titled Once in a Lifetime…. They describe my thoughts as I over pack and unpack (an obsessive compulsion I have had for a lifetime) in preparation for the Microsoft in Education E2 Global Educator Exchange. Thinking back to last June when I attended my 2nd Microsoft Innovative Educator certification workshop where my tech twin, @fredawilliams and I were introduced to 21st Century Learning Design. Josh Sawyer was the lead trainer and did an enthusiastic job of challenging everyone with new material, rubrics and a sneak peek at some new Microsoft tools.

July brought ISTE to Atlanta, and we became Microsoft stalkers, attending every session they presented and meeting Kelly Green, Helen Gooch and Kelli Etheredge.  Office Mix, OneNote, Office 365 and more. We began to plan our 2014-2015 school year. August brought a Microsoft teacher workshop to Atlanta where we were officially identified as groupies, met Robyn Hrivnatz and saw our first glimpse of SWAY. (Oh how this right brain girl loved the concept of SWAY!)

The school year began with intensive training on our newly adopted Office 365IMG_7238 to staff and students, our first 1-1 initiative in a new middle school, more training and plans to certify an entire 78 member staff at Holly Springs Elementary Stem Academy. After achieving the Microsoft Innovative Educator trainer status and a little nudge and encouragement from a friend (RH :),) I submitted the application to become a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert. Notification that I had been selected came early November while I was presenting at the GaETC conference on Office 365 in the Classroom and so began an entirely unexpected and wonderful journey.

This year marked my 15th year working with the Cherokee County School District as a Technology Project Specialist. This role includes researching new and emerging technologies, training teachers on new tools and integration in the classroom, training students, evaluating hardware and other duties as assigned. The MIEE path was energizing. Attending and listening to each monthly webinar, beginning to blog again, stopped lurking and started tweeting, trained and trained and trained. Communicating with program managers, resolving challenges in our district, receiving a Surface Pro 3, establishing an entirely new PLN becoming a part of the Surface Expert team, and Sway Champion was just part of what made the experience so amazing. Applying to the E2
Global Educator Exchange, presenting the year in two minutes was a challenge but a reminder that this was a year of growth.
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Meanwhile, we graduated our first professional development class of certified MIE’s as the process of certifying the school continued. Changes started almost immediately from the top down, the administrators started using OneNote, students used Office 365 to collaborate with each other, teachers starting Mixing and Skyping, first graders learned to Sway and everyone learned the definition of BING!! Each session introduced a new learning dimension and Microsoft tool which would inevitably lead to someone trying it in their classroom! Late February led us to the culmination of all of the hard work. Holly Springs Elementary STEM Academy became fully certified as Microsoft Innovative Educators!

Early March brought the email that I could hardly believe. I had been selected to attend E2… What?!   This recognition also had a personal side to it. Shortly after being selected as an MIEE my father was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer. He was so proud of me and even though this was a man who worked with his hands and had no interest in technology, he loved hearing my stories and watching videos of the students in my school. He approved my application video and watched it several times. I received the email that I had been selected to attend E2 sitting by my fathers bedside and he was the first person I shared it with… Sadly, he passed away on March 30th. I’m so thankful to have had the legacy of a strong work ethic, integrity, character and his encouragement and support throughout my lifetime and hope to represent him well.

This journey has just begun in many ways, learning so much, being in awe of what fellow educators are doing in their schools, following new friends around the globe through our Facebook group, the presentations, the tweets and meets, blog posts and messages. The support offered by Robyn through this entire process has been so appreciated and is something I hope to pass on to others who find themselves blessed enough to be identified with such a talented and incredible group of individuals who are passionate about students.

It is with great excitement and anticipation that I prepare for E2, but as my husband said, this is the icing on the cake. Once in a lifetime….
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Differentiation in the Classroom…When it is Filled with Teachers…

I LOVE teachers……. kindergarten teachers, middle school teachers, teachers of students with special needs, high school teachers, math teachers, science teachers, language arts teachers , teachers who are small, teachers who are round, teachers who are tall, teachers who are thin, I like them all. I am in awe of them.  They are right brain, left brain and both brain. They are sensitive and tough and proud. They are passionate, creative and resilient. They are hard workers, resourceful and gritty.

FullSizeRender (2)Teachers are all different …just like our students with different gifts and different learning styles. So when it comes to professional development there can be challenges. Often when immersed in a program like the Microsoft Innovative Educator Experts, (and how did I get here?!)  it is easy to forget that for every amazing, gifted technology wizard there are twenty teachers who struggle with integrating technology in the classroom. Some don’t have time, some are afraid it won’t work and for some it just doesn’t come easy.

It is important to be an advocate for these teachers. The black birds, the blue birds, the red birds. My goal is to NEVER make anyone feel inferior because they don’t Sway or Mix, but to LISTEN TO THEM and to lead them, starting with their abilities, to another level. I could never be a math teacher (right brain alert!!!) and I most likely would be unable to manage 25 kindergartners scampering all over the place on a daily basis.  That this is my THING, it is intuitive to me. That my desire is to help with their comfort and skill level.  I LOVE watching teachers bloom into technology users and excitedly share their first notebook, movie or mix.

We live in such an amazing time. Where augmented reality can let you fly into the aurora borealis, where information is literally at FullSizeRenderour fingertips, where we can collaborate on presentations in Office 365, or Skype with a classroom around the world, where we can print BODY PARTS in 3D, where there are apps that allow us to share how a machine or a heart works, where we can wear computers on our arms and cars can drive themselves. In the famous words of Bill Gates… “Ten years from now we will wonder why we were so limited…..”

We will wonder why we were so limited…

So today, show a little love to those teacher birds, they all tumble out of the nest at different rates.

Learning Agility and the 21st Century Work Force

steIn early March I attended and presented at The Georgia Scholarship of STEM Teaching & Learning Conference held at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, Georgia. Participants included educators, students, industry professionals and research institutions who were invited from all USG colleges and universities, private higher education institutions within the state, industry, research institutions, and local area K-12 schools. The conference focused on STEM Initiative whose goals include: promoting K-12 student preparation for and interest in majoring in STEM fields in college; increasing the success of STEM majors in college; and producing more and better science and mathematics teachers for K-12 schools.

I was particularly excited to meet and hear the keynote speaker. Shan 11043252_10206196555535695_2324334824400984796_nCooper is Vice President of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company and General Manager of the company’s Marietta, Ga., facility, (which is also where my husband David has worked for the past 35 years!) She is responsible for the company’s operating locations in Meridian, Miss., and Clarksburg, W.Va. and serves as the company’s Vice President of Business Ethics.

Her keynote was titled “Educating the Future Work Force”. I listened carefully as she shared the difficulties of finding a work force with the skill set needed to design and build some of the world’s most recognizable military aircraft. She stressed the need for technically-educated, employees to sustain the company and industry. She shared that not every employee needs to be an engineer, that Lockheed had welders, aircraft technicians and mechanics making healthy salaries. She shared the difficulty the company had finding 400 employees that could pass the math portion of their application process. She empathized with the profession of teaching that has their game plan changed almost annually, unlike aircraft and security corporations which have five and ten year business plans.

Three key points stood out in her passionate and lively message. She was insistent that students needed these three skills in order to find success in today’s global workplace.

  • Critical Thinking –the ability to apply reasoning and logic to new or unfamiliar ideas, opinions, and situations. 
  • Problem Solving- The process of working through details of a problem to reach a solution.
  • Learning Agility……..hmmm what was the definition of learning agility? (I had to research the exact definition.) The concept of “learning agility” has been used to describe individuals who possess skills such as openness, willingness to learn, and flexibility. In addition, a learning agile person is curious about the world, has a high tolerance for ambiguity, good people skills, vision, and innovation.  In general, learning agility relates to adaptability and willingness to explore the unknown and learn from experiences. (I like this skill!)

As she spoke I couldn’t help but to relate these points to 21st Century Learning Design which is the platform of the Microsoft Innovative Educator program.
Knowledge Construction, Collaboration, Skilled Communication, ICT, Real World Problem Solving and Self-Regulation, tools to help our teachers challenge and guide our students. All involve critical thinking, problem solving and my new personal favorite, learning agility.

Ms..Cooper stressed the need for industry to join together with educators and schools in partnerships. Her belief is that corporations can help guide curriculum improvements by sharing information with educators regarding emerging trends, industry practices and technologies, and skills and competencies needed from future employees.

She ended her keynote by coming out into the audience and answering numerous questions. Once again the passion, commitment and caring of individuals who work in education was evident. Each question centered on the students and how best to serve them. It is always a renewal of spirit to see such fine examples of servant leadership. The combination of the keynote, the conference attendees and sessions renewed my belief that we are steering our ship in the right direction and our students will have the opportunity to be successful in a global environment.

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