Cutting out paper – send your lesson notes home electronically

Cutting Out Paper icon

Continuing the month’s worth of ideas to support a New Year Resolution to cut paper use in education…

Send homework assignments electronically

You know that your students now have enough electronic devices in their pockets to sink a Sydney Harbour ferry – so how about using that as an excuse to cut the cord on paper-based homework assignments? If you’re a teacher using OneNote, then it’s one very small step to share your OneNote documents (eg homework assignments, tests, lesson plans or revision materials) with your students on the web – and because OneNote is also on the web, on the Windows Phone, and available as apps on iPhone and iPad, it means that your students can access it whether they are at home or on the bus home from school.

I wrote an example scenario last month of how teachers and students could use OneNote to remove the need for paper. Here’s an extract:


The teacher can then share the OneNote notebook with their students, for them to use afterwards

  • If they do this in SkyDrive, they can just set the default for all of a particular notebook to be shared, and keep all their lesson materials in that notebook
  • If they don’t want students to see next week’s lesson, they can set a password on each new lesson page as they start to create it, and then remove it when they teach that lesson – meaning that it’s closed to students all the time they are creating it and until they want it to be available

The teacher can also publish the homework assignments on the OneNote as well

  • Using the password trick above they can ensure students do see the assignments until it’s the right time
  • They can also set groups in the class differentiated assignments by creating multiple homework pages – and give each group a different password to get to their assignment page

Students can access their assignments and lesson notes wherever they are

  • The super-keen ones can access it on their iPhones and Windows Phones on the way home on the bus/train (how cool would it be to get your homework sorted before you’ve even reached home?)
  • At home they could access it on their iPad (or more likely, on Dad’s iPad), or their home PC or school laptop with Office installed, or over the web on any computer using Office Web Apps on SkyDrive
  • If they don’t have internet access at home (eg they are one of the 6% of school students without home Internet access) they can use their school laptop with OneNote offline – they just need to sync their laptop before they leave school – eg in the lesson – and then they have all the files available at home, including any embedded videos and graphics

How easy is it to share a OneNote notebook with students?

OneNote sharing screenshot

Just pop into the FILE menu in OneNote and click the Share option. That’ll sync your OneNote to your Skydrive (the free 25GB storage folder on the web). And then you can either set it to be shared publically, or just with your students (to do that you’ll need to list the email addresses of the students). And you can either allow them read-only, or give them the option to edit the files.

That’s it. Now your students can either access it over the web, or use OneNote installed on their phone to read their homework assignments.

And another trip to the printer or photocopier saved.

Read more ideas to help cut out paper