Microsoft has updated its OneNote Class Notebook add-in early into the school year, giving a highly-requested feature to teachers who use iPads.
OneNote Class Notebook turns Microsoft's notetaking app, OneNote, into a collaborative learning environment for their students. Teachers can create interactive lessons, manage course content and distribute assignments, among several other classroom-related tasks.
Now, educators who use iPads can access a popular feature that's already present in Class Notebooks on the PC, Mac, Windows 10 and the web-based versions of OneNote. "With today's update, we have started rolling out the Class Notebook toolbar for the iPad, adding teacher time-savers like page distribution, reviewing student work, and shortcuts to quickly launch and manage the Class Notebook," wrote Mike Tholfsen, principal product manager for Microsoft Education, in a Sept. 19 blog post.
Additionally, iPad-toting teachers can now place personalized stickers on students' assignments, another capability that's already available in other versions of the OneNote app. They'll also have some new whimsical sticker packs to choose from, including "Dinosaur Sports" and "Unicorns," two of the leading requests from the user community.
On the PC, the updated add-in (version 18.104.22.168) now offers an improved assignment and grade experience when used with the Skooler learning management system. (OneNote Class Notebook integrates with several student information systems and learning management systems.) The software's student-mapping feature has been fixed to accommodate larger class sizes and several other bugs have been addressed.
The update is one of a string of moves Microsoft is making to appeal to the education market.
On Aug. 30, the technology giant rolled out an improved Immersive Reader mode in Word, Outlook Online and OneNote. Immersive Reader, a part of the Learning Tools collection of school-themed software helpers, organizes written content into a neat column for a focused and clutter-free reading experience. Other Learning Tools include a Read Aloud function that highlights words as they are spoken by a PC and a Syllable feature that separates words into syllables to help students sharpen their reading skills.
Even Microsoft's Windows and hardware divisions are getting in on the act.
In May, the company rolled out Windows 10 S and the Surface Laptop to win school sales. Windows 10 S is a slimmed-down version of the company's desktop operating system that only works with apps from the Windows Store, a limitation that enhances security and makes the devices easier to manage, according to the company. Serving as a Windows-based alternative to Chromebooks, the Surface Laptop ($999) runs Windows 10 S right out of the box and features a 13.5-inch touchscreen display, 4GB of RAM, 128GB of storage and an Intel Core i5 processor.
Google, meanwhile, continues to make it's own inroads into the classroom market.
On July 26, company announced 10 new Google Earth Voyager stories and classroom activities that teachers can use with Chromebooks and other browser-capable devices to explore the globe. Google also unveiled new STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) bundles for Chromebook, including a Dremel 3D40 3D Printer or littleBits Code Kit, that schools can purchase at a discount.