OneNote Shared Sessions for In-Class Groupwork

10/06/2007 - 20:44

Last semester I used OneNote's shared sessions as a way for my class to collaborate among groups during an in-class group exercise. If you're not familar with this feature of OneNote, it's basically a way to share the same notebook with multiple computers. Any of the participants can modify the notebook, add new pages, etc. and the results are broadcast to all participants in near real-time.

It's pretty easy to set up. More information on setting up shared sessions is here:

My class was pretty small, so I broke the students into three groups. Each group appointed a "scribe" who was given a tablet PC and had the job of taking notes and writing down progress on their exercise (which happened to be some code review and design of a user interface). Each group had a separate page in OneNote upon which they wrote down their solutions.

There are a couple of cool things here:
1) I was able to track the progress of each group by clicking on their pages to see what they were working on and how they were doing.
2) Upon completion of the exercise it was easy to share each group's work with the entire class since all of their work was synchronized with my tablet connected to the projector.
3) Groups were able to "spy" on each other by peeking at their pages. For some exercises this might be a bad thing, but in this case it was fine since it made groups think about things they otherwise would have missed early on in the exercise. It also spurred on a bit of competition, as groups would check to see how far ahead another group was. Finally, one pair of groups actually asked questions of each other by scribbling questions into each other's pages. If privacy is required among groups then this could be accomplished by having each group put their work into a private notebook and copy it to the shared notebook when it is ready to be made public (or use a different tool, like Classroom Presenter).

Overall, I thought OneNote's shared folders worked pretty well. I think there are a lot of other possible applications in the classroom. For example, it can be used in non-edit mode where the instructor broadcasts to all students. When the shared session ends, all the students have their own copy of the material. Unfortunately though, OneNote doesn't seem to allow users to make local annotations to shared notebooks. It's also an excellent tool for brainstorming.

With a large number of users editing a notebook at the same time the result will be chaotic though, unless the instructor imposes some rules of order. The only permissions are for everyone to have write access, or only the session moderator to have write access. Mischevious students could erase the work done by other students or even the instructor!

Technology is one of the

Technology is one of the most crucial factors contributing towards education at this time. Aiding not only the teachers but the students at the same time. With the internet accessible to a majority of students, learning takes on a completely new turn. Both learners and teachers are able to utilize resources on the internet. Many schools with some form of online publications like websites and stuff provide good education related stuff for students to look at, thus helping them in choosing the right careers. This is just not the only form of technology, GOOGLE's applications for education is another contribution. Followed by many others of which ONE Note is also a factor, and a good one if i may add at that.

I perfectly agree with the

I perfectly agree with the above answer. Technology especially tablet pc, laptops and other latest equipments can help us in teaching our students in a far better way.