Last week at residential, the students from my virtual school got a tablet to take home. (Thanks HP). This meant they all had access to Office365 and I decided to go with OneNote Class Notebook as our unified learning management system. We had previously been using Moodle. I had used OneNote before as part of the introduction of laptops through the Digital Education Revolution funding in NSW schools. I had my students organise their work using OneNote. This still required me to put content on Moodle for them to download or I had to have the whole course ready to upload as one file. Students still had to email their completed work. It was impossible to give feedback electronically in real time.
This is the first time I have used OneNote Class Notebook and it is definitely easier. It was so easy to set up. Just add the email addresses of my students and they have access to the online version to download onto their tablet device. I can upload content the minute before class starts, sync my Notebook and then have my students sync theirs and presto. Course work delivered. This of course is not ideal as there can be internet issues and besides, I am far too organised to leave such things to the last minute. But just in case I need to this is an option. I also have almost immediate access to my student’s work and can provide feedback just as quickly, just like being in a real classroom. I am looking forward to using the collaboration space for group work. Something that I assumed could not happen when teaching remotely.
The best thing this week has been being able to provide links for students to watch videos and do some virtual experiments using mirrors and lenses interactive sites. This is much easier than having student take control of my room in Adobe Connect, one at a time. It also solves the NSWDEC blocking of YouTube and the lack of another appropriate video player on AdobeConnect (which resulted in me MacGyvering up a speaker to play through my microphone while sharing my screen scenario) Now I can provide the link and students can all access it independently.
Next week, I am attending some professional learning and will miss class. So this weekend I am recording voice and video to be put into my OneNote Class Notebook. Another teacher will keep my Adobe Connect classroom open to take questions. But essentially my students will watch my pre-recorded lesson and work independently. I will drop in via my mobile phone to check work and take questions when there is a break in my learning. All of which is possible thanks to Apple, Office365 and DECNSW getting the acts together. I thank them all. And I am one step closer to truly flipping my classroom. Necessity has certainly been the mother of my reinvention. I’ll let you know how it goes.