Microsoft has launched a new tool that offers educators some of the benefits that real-time collaboration software has brought to the business world.
The OneNote Class Notebook Creator app for SharePoint extends Microsoft note-taking software, turning it into a teaching tool that helps educators streamline test-taking, better manage assignments, track their students' progress and provide feedback. The touch-friendly app, according to Microsoft Fellow Helen Gooch, answers the pleas of teachers that have added OneNote to their repertoire.
In a Microsoft in Education Blog post, she claimed that teachers have been clamoring for "the ability to easily roll up multiple student notebooks, great for lessons, grading and collaboration, into a single class OneNote notebook for the teacher."
OneNote Class Notebook Creator is Microsoft's response.
Microsoft's OneNote team said in a statement that the app enables teachers to "quickly set up a personal workspace for every student, a content library for handouts and a collaboration space for lessons and creative activities—all within one powerful notebook."
Student notebooks are private workspaces that are shared between teachers and individual students. Teachers can access these notebooks, but students cannot see each other's, according to Microsoft.
A content library serves as a repository for course materials that teachers hand out to students. Finally, a collaboration space is open to the classroom at large, allowing students to work together on lessons.
In addition to promoting classroom collaboration, the software, developed in partnership with Microsoft Research and Microsoft China, can help teachers maximize their time at school, the company said.
OneNote Class Notebook Creator makes "it easier to collect homework, quizzes, exams and handouts," stated the company. Similarly, all work and feedback is consolidated into a single workspace that is accessible at any time and from virtually anywhere. Finally, teachers can provide "real-time, individualized coaching" by leveraging OneNote's collaboration features and digital handwriting support.
Often overshadowed by Office's well-known applications, namely Word, Outlook, Excel and PowerPoint, OneNote is getting more attention.
On Sept. 16, Microsoft released a free OneNote for Android Wear app on the Google Play Store. The app, requires OneNote for Android on a companion device, allows Android Wear smartwatch users to dictate notes and later view them on their smartphones.
In August, the company added handwriting support to the Android version of the app. "With this update, you can take handwritten notes, draw with your stylus and even with your finger," said Microsoft Program Manager Ayush Rastogi in an Aug. 19 statement.
Microsoft also enabled printing for Windows Store version, which was "the single biggest feature request," said the company. And in June, Microsoft released its OneNote Clipper Chrome Extension, allowing users of the popular Web browser to collect content as they surf the Web.
OneNote Class Notebook Creator is available now and supports SharePoint 2013 or later.