Microsoft makes life a bit easier for teachers with new Class Notebook Add-in for OneNote

Last June, Microsoft launched Class Notebooks for OneNote, making it easy for teachers to create compelling lesson plans, share digital handouts with students, and offer students themselves a personal workspace, along with a 'collaboration space' for lessons and lectures. Teachers can even create interactive lessons with multimedia features, and assign and collect homework from students - all of it through OneNote.

Since launching Class Notebooks, Microsoft says that over 400,000 teachers and 3.5 million students have been using the feature, and now, the company is expanding on it further, with the launch of a new add-in that should make things a little bit easier for educators, as it explained today:

Over the past few months the OneNote team has worked very closely with Microsoft Innovative Educator Experts and other educators around the world to imagine, design and build a powerful new OneNote add-in. We've put teachers at the center of the experience, and many of the exciting ideas came directly from them. That's why we are thrilled to present the customer preview of the Class Notebook Add-in for OneNote.

Microsoft says that the new add-in was "imagined to fundamentally rethink document and workflow in the classroom", adding that it's already "received rave reviews" from teachers who have seen it in action. The first customer preview is available today in 43 languages and in 61 markets around the world, and works with OneNote 2013 and 2016.

Key features include:

  • Easy and quick distribution of pages or new sections to students in one or more classes.
  • Individualization through distribution of pages to specified students or student groups.
  • Ability to distribute a single chunk of text, an image or an ink selection to all or specified students in a Class Notebook.
  • Easy and quick copying of sections to the Content Library of one or more Class Notebooks.
  • Rapid sequential reviewing of student work (homework, assignments, quizzes, etc.) in one or more classes.
  • One-click launch of the Class Notebook app, including Create Class Notebook, Invite/Remove Students, Add/Remove Teachers and Get Notebook links.
  • Quick links to useful Professional Development and community resources.

Microsoft says that the ability to easily share a OneNote page with students was one of the most highly-requested features among teachers. Previously, teachers would have to send the page to the Content Library, and then get the students to copy the page themselves from there; now, with the new add-in, teachers can distribute pages with just two clicks.

The ability to easily review students' work was a further area in which teachers said there was room for improvement, and Microsoft has streamlined this process too, as it explained today:

Another common request we heard is that while the ability to look into each student’s private notebook is wonderful, the time it takes to review and give feedback is not always efficient. Now teachers can do rapid sequential reviewing of student work (homework, assignments, quizzes, etc.) in one or more classes with the Review Student Work pane that pops up. Clicking on a student brings up the student page without having to navigate back and forth in the Notebook pane.

You can find out more about the new Class Notebook Add-in for OneNote on the Office Blog.

This latest addition comes just a few weeks after Microsoft launched new Learning Tools for OneNote, including features designed to help people with learning differences, such as dyslexia.

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