MIEExpert Spotlight #23: Tracy Heath enjoys using OneNote at Brescia House

This is the 23rd post in the series “MIEExpert Spotlight” for South Africa. The tab with all the posts can be found at: http://bit.ly/1ZYy8Z7. Today we focus on Tracy Heath. Tracy is an MIEExpert Edycator in South Africa, and she is the ICT teacher for the Primary School at Brescia House School, a Microsoft Showcase School, in Johannesburg, Gauteng. She has been teaching ICT for more than 13 years.

Tracy attends the Global Teacher Exchange in Budapest

In 2015 Tracy was one of the three South African teachers selected to attend the Global Teacher Exchange (E2) in Budapest, Hungary. She says, “Going to the E2 was fantastic! It not only exposed me to global education trends, but I realised that in South Africa we are not behind world education trends. I was surprised to find that several of my European colleagues do not have connectivity as readily as we think, and that many schools around the globe do not have the technology we presume they have. The teachers were so willing to learn and share. As a result of the experience I am more willing to try new things, and if I don’t know how to do something, I find out through the ME Educator Community or the MIE Facebook or Twitter groups.”

OneNote at Brescia House

Tracy enjoys using OneNote with the girls at school. She says, “OneNote has opened a whole new world for our girls. They like that idea of notes being available 24/7 on any device that they choose. Those who are generally disorganized have seen the most use for OneNote. I now put all assignments and notes into an ICT Notebook and where applicable work or links to work are submitted in their Notebooks. We are also starting to use OneNote in other subject areas at school. As our girls do not have their own devices we cannot move fully into going paperless in OneNote, but in our high school, where girls have their own devices, we are moving towards paperless learning using OneNote.”

OneNote Class Notebook

Initially Tracy used OneNote for her own purposes. She started using it to take minutes at meetings, and for personal matters. Towards the end of 2015, through the MIE program she became aware of the OneNote Class Notebook, but it was really only once she had attended the to E2 in Budapest earlier in 2016 that she was fully exposed to this fantastic tool and that saw the uses for it in teaching. Tracy recalls the first time she assessed work in OneNote and the impact this made on the girls. “I got the Grade 6 girls to insert a spreadsheet into their OneNote Notebook. I then marked it in the Notebook. The girls thought it was like magic to open the Notebook and see that I had assessed it without them printing the work. It was then we both realized the full implications and benefits of paperless learning.”

Using OneNote for a project

Tracy explains how she typically uses OneNote for a project. She introduces the project to the learners and then takes them to OneNote to show them the notes, links, rubrics and requirements. The learners then get busy with the project. Depending on the project they are doing they then submit their work by pasting it into their ersonal section of the OneNote Class Notebook, or inserting a link if the project is in Sway or on YouTube. Tracy then assesses the project, wherever it suits her, through the Class Notebook.

Motivating colleagues to use OneNote

Tracy has spent a lot of time teaching her colleagues how to set up OneNote and their own Notebooks. She constantly shows them tips and bits to motivate them to use OneNote to its fullest. Some have already moved across to putting all their notes into a note book and others plan to start using it next year. 

Why not try Sway as well?

When asked what other Microsoft applications she likes using Tracy said, “My new favourite is Sway. The girls enjoy the simplicity of setting up presentations and the speed at which a professional presentation can be made. The content becomes more important than spending time setting up animations, transitions and themes.”

Find out more about using OneNote in the classroom

You’ll find the OneNote website at https://www.onenote.com/ Microsoft OneNote is a free must-have classroom or individual application from Microsoft, available online and offline as well as cross device. It is useful information gathering and multi-user collaboration application. OneNote can be used to gathers users’ notes (handwritten or typed), drawings, screen clippings, document attachments, videos and audio commentaries. You will find tutorials shared by teachers around the world about OneNote on the Microsoft Educator Community. Take a look at http://bit.ly/1QXY0jG for an example

Get involved in the Microsoft MIEE program in 2017

If you are a teacher who likes to be innovative in the classroom, think about entering Microsoft’s Innovative Teacher MIEExpert program in 2017 when applications reopen later. You can learn more about the program at this link: http://bit.ly/1H4gKcB on the Microsoft Educator Community.

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