Microsoft Updates OneNote and Teams to Aid Teachers, Students

Microsoft updates the OneNote Class Notebook add-in and the Teams collaboration tool ahead of the back-to-school season.

Microsoft OneNote

School has barely let out in many parts of the United States, but Microsoft is already looking forward to the start of new classes. The software giant today began distributing an update to its Class Notebook add-in for OneNote.

The add-on software extends Microsoft's notetaking app into a platform that teachers can use to manage assignments, quiz students and track their progress. It also integrates with several student information system (SIS) and learning management system (LMS) solutions, including Canvas, Edmodo and PowerSchool, among others.

Now, in version 1.7 of the add-in, Microsoft has added new assignment and grade integrations with the Edsby learning platform. The company also improved the compatibility of Class Notebook's assignment and grade management tools with both Schoology and Skooler, the company announced.

Teachers looking to reward students for a job well done on an assignment or test now have more stickers to choose from, as Microsoft today also launched two new Class Notebook sticker packs, Silly Supplies and Cacti Friends. In addition, Microsoft is now enabling students and teachers to save class notebooks to their personal or work OneDrive accounts so they're not lost forever when they switch schools or complete the school year.

Also receiving updates today is the Desktop Learning Tools add-in for OneNote, used to help improve reading comprehension. The new version (1.4.0) offers improved accuracy in the Syllables feature in English. Additionally, Syllables now supports four more languages, namely French, German, Italian and Spanish.

Chinese and Japanese word detection and highlighting have also been improved, claims Microsoft. Later this summer, the company plans to release the feature for nouns, verbs and adjectives in the French, German, Italian and Spanish languages.

Meanwhile, the core OneNote app has been redesigned and now performs better with assistive technologies. The interface has been tweaked and now features more streamlined navigation and shares a more consistent look and feel between the various versions of the app across devices.

Finally, Microsoft is borrowing one of Word's newer features for OneNote on Windows 10.

"Researcher is now rolling out in OneNote, making it easy for you to research your essay topic, create outlines and add sources—all without leaving the app. This means you can stay focused and save time, all while researching your topic," stated Scott Shapiro, product marketing manager of OneNote at Microsoft, in a June 26 blog post. "Researcher in OneNote for Windows 10 requires an Office 365 subscription, and is also available in Word on Windows desktops and Macs."

Debuting last summer, Researcher is a cloud-enabled intelligent service that offers Word users research recommendations from credible sources while they are authoring papers or reports. If users like what they see, they can incorporate the information into their documents along with the proper citations.

After unveiling the so-called "classroom experiences" for Microsoft Teams last month, Microsoft announced on June 23 that the company had begun rolling out the education-themed features to Office 365 for Education customers worldwide.

Teams is Microsoft's answer to team chat and collaboration platforms like Slack. During a media event in New York City on May 2, the software giant demonstrated how schools can configure Teams to provide a conversational space for classroom—with teacher supervision, of course—along with quick access to shared files, quizzes, assignments and OneNote Class Notebooks.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the Internet.com network of...