OneNote Class Notebook Collaborating

Another major feature of a OneNote Class Notebook is the ability for students to collaborate together on a Page. I have found this most beneficial as a learning tool and it has solved so many problems that I had experienced in the past. Most collaboration tools are limited by either being a “word processor” or only available via a webpage (which severely limits functionality). OneNote provides an endless digital piece of “butchers paper” or digital “whiteboard” if you prefer. They can write, highlight, mark or insert images, movies and links. If they have a touch input device (Windows, iOS, Android) they can use a pencil/stylus/finger input to draw and write. This can all be achieved via the Collaboration Space

The Collaboration Space

collaboration space

As you see in the image above, the Collaboration Space can be used very effectively for students to work together on a task. I use this extensively in my Engineering class where many activities follow the “engineering process” of design, production and evaluation (plus the rest).

Though the Collaboration Space provides much of the functionality required for collaboration it does have some issues. One of which is that you cannot change the rights of this area – basically it is a free-for-all and could be used negatively by some students. OneNote attempts to minimise this issue by tagging added content with initials of who ever added the content (including the teacher). As a teacher you will need to monitor the Collaboration Space for anything untoward. One classroom management strategy could be displaying Pages on a projector – it won’t take long for someone to point out in appropriate use. In the worse case you can delete this section – but hopefully it doesn’t come to that.

Perhaps in the future there may be a way to lock pages from being edited or see a log of any changes. Another strategy could be to assign smaller groups of students to edit certain pages, rather than everything being editable.

Overall it is a fantastic way to collaborate in your class and it certainly has changed my classroom having this tool available.

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