Tuesday, 1 December 2015

OneNote - the first app of Christmas

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I have posted the picture above so you can see what this blog is going to be all about for the next 12 days. You can join in too!

I'll be blogging (briefly) on each app as a way of a) remembering them all and b) reflecting on how they could be used in my teaching practice.

So, OneNote.
I've actually been using OneNote since 2008; you know, back when things were called 'programs' rather than 'apps'. At that point I didn't use it for any of the collaborative features or any of that jazz. I used it for one reason only - you can write anywhere on the page! You just click and start writing, and if you get bored you click the cursor somewhere else and write something else (this was pretty exciting in 2008, well, to me, erm...I can't make this any better. I liked it, alright!) The other cool thing about it was the autosave. No more forgetting to save your work and losing it when the computer froze. It just saved automatically.

The flexibility of being able to jump around the page so easily I found really useful primarily for writing fiction and poetry. Somehow, this helped free up my creativity and I enjoyed writing on the computer a lot more than I had previously. As I worked on my novel (a yet unpublished document, although sure to be a posthumous masterpiece) I found the ability to create pages really helpful, and I made a page for each chapter. Eventually I had a tab for each new story I wanted to write, and now I have a whole notebook for poetry, one for fiction, one for life stuff (notes, pictures, to do lists etc) and one for non-fiction writing.

The best thing about it now is the cloud element, and the fact you can download it for free. It's so useful to be able to jump on any device and find all my crazy writing just there. Even if the PC I'm on doesn't have it installed I can login online. Perfect.

I can completely see how many learners, frustrated with using traditional word processors but needing to capture their thoughts electronically, would find OneNote much more freeing and useful. And the fact you can share notebooks really opens up collaborative possibilities both for students working in groups and for me thinking about ways to get students to work together and engage more flexibly with a task. As we have it here at UEA as part of Office 365 I shall have to give this some serious thought!

And just for fun, here is a poem I wrote very many years ago now, courtesy of OneNote:

Tide clock

Time passes in the wave of grass, the sweep of rain across the bay, the meticulous chewing of the cows in the field. I watch the shifting clouds, feeling the wind whipping over my skin and blowing holes in my lungs.
The flecks of air flick sand and salt into my face, into my eyes.  I hear the endless waves. For them time is a monotony of breaths drawn in and out, never ceasing, ever.
I breathe in sympathy with the long ravaged sea, and feel myself melt into the earthy wildness, an insignificant second rhythm tapping lightly along with the rest, unheard by most, and short-lived.

Lying here  in outward harmony, I count time, crash by crash.

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