Microsoft's portfolio of educational products keeps evolving and growing. To help teachers keep up, the company has launched a new resource Website called OneNote for Teachers.
"The goal behind OneNoteforTeachers.com, a new site developed exclusively for educators, is to take a completely new OneNote user and magically turn them into a 'OneNote Ninja' in about an hour without any cost to them or their school," boasted the OneNote team in a statement. "Once a teacher masters the OneNote Ninja arts, adding the Bing in the Classroom lesson plans provides a new level of expertise that even Jackie Chan would envy."
The site offers beginners free, guided lessons—each roughly five minutes long—on using OneNote that ramp up to more advanced scenarios like incorporating Office 365 and OneNote Class Notebooks. In October, Microsoft launched the OneNote Class Notebook Creator app for SharePoint, a teaching tool for managing assignments, test-taking and charting a student's progress.
Microsoft is planning to expand the service into other regions and even get students on board.
"We are heavily investing in making OneNoteforTeachers.com even better, with translation of both the site and guides into additional languages. We are also creating a companion set of interactive OneNote guides for students," said the group.
On a related note, Microsoft announced that the OneNote Class Notebook Creator tool is now available in more languages.
"Last month, we added a number of new features, including new language support—10 languages across 21 markets. We promised more languages were coming very soon and now we have delivered 29 additional languages in the SharePoint Store," stated Microsoft.
To help teachers create engaging experiences, the company has integrated its Bing in the Classroom (BiC) service. Bing in the Classroom is Microsoft's ad-free, safe-search and rewards program.
And it's catching on. Last year, a Microsoft spokesperson told eWEEK that the offering had "served more than 35 million ad-free queries to 4.5 million students in more than 5,000 schools, and people have also donated more than 2 million Reward credits to schools."
"BiC lesson plans started with Word documents and then moved to PowerPoint decks. Each day there are three lessons for grades K-4, 5-8 and 9-12. Each lesson is focused around an essential question to answer," said Microsoft. "Now, with the power of OneNote to add screen clippings, voice and/or video commentary and the ability to digitally write, draw or annotate in a digital notebook you have a winning combination."
Microsoft isn't the only tech giant that is wooing educators.
In August, the launch of the first-ever Google for Education Blog revealed some of Google's plans for improving education and sparking curiosity among young students. "Through programs like Made with Code, Doodle 4 Google, and the Google Science Fair, we strive to help students discover the problems they are passionate about solving. Time and time again youth prove that you don't always have to be a grown-up to bring forward extraordinary solutions," wrote Megan Smith, a vice president of the Google X research unit.