Microsoft's educational push continues today with the release of OneNote Staff Notebook for Education, a Web-based Office 365 application for SharePoint 2013 (Service Pack 1 and above).
The app builds on the company's classroom-themed offering, dubbed OneNote Class Notebook, and provides teachers and school administrators with free tools that track student progress, smooth the transition between grades and manage school projects like fundraisers. Moreover, it provides a mobile-enabled software platform that helps educators teach each other a thing or two.
"District administrators, school leaders and staff can now save time, share ideas and collaborate more easily across any device and platform," said a Microsoft spokesperson in a statement emailed to eWEEK.
There are early signs that extending the note-taking technology into the educational arena is paying off. "Teachers have created three times as many OneNote Class Notebooks on Office 365 in the last month than the previous months combined since launch—resulting in more than triple the number of students using OneNote in their classrooms this semester," stated the Office 365 Team in a Feb. 24 blog post detailing the new, faculty-oriented product.
OneNote Staff Notebook, on the other hand, allows "an education staff leader [to] quickly set up a personal workspace for every staff member or teacher, a content library for shared information and a collaboration space for everyone to collaborate—all within one powerful notebook." Microsoft envisions that beyond teachers, other school staffers including principals, superintendents, department heads and leaders of a professional learning community (PLC), will use the tool to not only keep each other in the loop, but also leverage technology to improve the classroom experience.
For example, private staff notebooks can be used to evaluate lesson plans. "The staff leader can easily give feedback in real-time or while offline, and can use any form of feedback, including text, picture, ink, audio or even video," wrote Office 365 group. "The rich page surface of OneNote allows a much more flexible way to gather and share feedback."
In related Office 365 Education news, the company announced that students worldwide can now check to see if they are eligible for free software.
"Millions of students around the world are eligible for free Office from their school and today we are announcing that we've made it easy for all eligible students globally to sign up themselves to get Office 365 and install free Office," said the company in a Feb. 23 announcement. In general, Microsoft provides the students of schools that buy select Office 365 plans free access to the cloud-enabled productivity suite.
Millions of students, including 1.1 million in New York City, are eligible. The total number of those qualified also include "5.5 million eligible students in Australia, the nearly 5 million eligible students in Germany, 7 million more in Brazil, 1.3 million at Anadolu University in Turkey, every student in Hong Kong and millions more," according to Microsoft.