The first app to unwrap is...


Students: Are your class notes all over the place? Are some of your notes handwritten in notebooks or sheets of paper and even post-its while other typed notes are saved as different files in various folders on your PC? Have you photos of whiteboards taken during class lurking useless and forgotten about somewhere in the photo gallery of your phone or tablet?

Educators: Would you like to create a shared class interactive workspace for you and your students that encourages personalisation?

Yes? Then OneNote might just be for you, so keep reading!

OneNote is a digital notebook you can use to gather and organise your class notes and your research notes, even your old paper-based handwritten ones! You can also take and insert photos of whiteboards straight into your notes, as well as creating and inserting audio recordings.

If you are a Windows phone user, OneNote should be installed already on your phone. iOS and Android users can install OneNote for free from iTunes and Google play. You can also install it for free on your PC or laptop from the OneNote website or else log into OneNote Online and work there instead. You can choose what you wish to share across your devices too so you could have access to your class notes no matter where you are or what device you’re using.


What does OneNote look like & how does it work?

Within OneNote, you decide how many ‘notebooks’ you want you create, for example, one for each module or course you are taking. Within each notebook then you can create a number of different sections, maybe one for each topic you've covered within that module or course. And finally, within each section you can create as many pages as you need to hold all of your notes, research, photos, recordings, and drawings etc.


Onenote screenshot 

* The tabs make it easy to access different sections of your Onenote account and makes note-taking more efficient and flexible.


 A Video about OneNote

To get some more great ideas about how you can use OneNote watch this 1.17min video from the Microsoft team. 

If you’d like to learn more about how to setup and use OneNote, click here for a series of tutorials created specifically for students. If you want to share one of your notebooks with a friend or with a teacher/lecturer, find out here how to do that.

*DIT staff and students, you can log into Onenote using your usual DIT username and password.  


How can OneNote help you personalise your learning?

The following sections explain how OneNote can help Visual learners, Auditory learners, Read/Write learners, and Kinesthetic learners access  and engage  with information, and express  understanding. If you do not know what your preferred learning style is yet, go to the student page and take the short questionnaire linked to there and read how understanding your preferred style can help you personalise your learning.  

Visual learner

OneNote will really help you, a visual learner, access and engage with information as you make and gather notes and undertake your research etc. Even the layout of OneNote itself will appeal to you as you’ll be able to ‘see’ exactly where you are working at any one time in relation to the other notebooks, sections and pages that you’ve created. For you, OneNote could become a complete visual representation of your entire programme showing the different modules/courses you’re undertaking, the topics you’re covering within them, as well as the projects and assignments you’re working on at any given time.

Being able to use the camera function from within OneNote itself means you can:

  • insert a capture of the whiteboard during class straight onto a page in OneNote. Then you can write and/or draw on top of that image (using your finger or a stylus for finer work) to add further detail to it as necessary

  • you will also be able to take a photo of any notes, diagrams, doodles or mindmaps that you may have drawn on paper or on flipcharts during class and insert those right into the OneNote page too

  • if your teacher/lecturer hands out handouts during class, you can take a photo of those as well, insert them on your OneNote page and then use the different coloured highlighters to highlight the important bits.

Furthermore, like word, OneNote has a styles function on each page so you can use that to format headings, normal text, citations and quotes etc. which all help to create visual cues for you as you review text based notes. You can also change the colour of the pages themselves.

Auditory learner

To learn how Onenote can benefit auditory learner, just press play on this audio.
Click here to download a transcript of this audio segment.

Read and write learner

As a read/write learner you tend to be more comfortable reading and working with text rather than deciphering or drawing diagrams or listening to audio clips. As such, OneNote should appeal to you and can help you access information and engage with it effectively. For example:

  • you’re likely to generate a lot of written/typed notes but with OneNote it’s easy to find again whatever you’re looking for. There is a search function within OneNote that lists for you all of the pages that contain your search word and it even highlights that word for you on the pages. This will make revision a lot easier.

  • using the camera function from within OneNote, you can scan in important sections of text from word documents, books and articles. OneNote makes the text in that scanned image searchable too which is a very valuable feature.

  • from within any page in OneNote you can insert To Do lists. Once you’ve completed any item on the list you can check it off.

  • OneNote also provides a long list of suggested ‘tags’ and using this feature you can select and ‘tag’ any text on any page as ‘important’ for example, or as a ‘question’ or as a ‘definition’, or as a ‘critical fact’ etc. You can then search all of your notes later for certain tags and combine that information into a notes page. Click here for more information on this tagging feature.

You can send important emails straight to OneNote too and choose to which section in your notebook that email will be saved to. This could be very handy when your lecturer emails you detailed feedback on an important assignment that you need to act on.

Kinesthetic learner

OneNote can help you as you access  or ‘take in’ information, and engage with it to study. As a kinesthetic learner sourcing demonstrations, case studies, simulations and videos of real life practice around a particular topic or concept can help you learn and make sense of that topic or concept. Gathering pictures and photographs to illustrate topics or concepts also helps. Using OneNote you can store, organise and review easily all of these different types of research materials. From within any OneNote page...

  • you can insert pictures and photos already in the photo gallery on your device, or using the camera feature with OneNote, you can take, crop and insert photos

  • again using the camera feature in OneNote you can scan in a page from a document or case study that illustrates a point for you. OneNote makes the text in that scan searchable and so a quick search of any keyword later will bring up a list of the pages that contain that search word with that word itself is highlighted for you on each page.

  • the OneNote tagging feature explained in the previous section above will also appeal to you. Being able to tag your content in this way will make it easier for you pull relevant content together later.


 For the Educators…

Did you know that you can set up a shared notebook for your class? The free OneNote Class Notebook Creator provides you with “a personal workspace for every student, a content library for handouts, and a collaboration space for lessons and creative activities”. Interactive guides for educators can be found here.

Also, consider signing up for a free Office 365 account and getting access to a wide variety of services that allows you to collaborate and share such as Office Mix and Sway.

Watch this video and learn a little more about what OneNote could do for you.


OneNote in Education

 Does OneNote provide opportunities for you to communicate and/or collaborate?

Absolutely!  From within OneNote you can choose which of your notebooks you'd like to share with others. Once those people have access, and depending on the settings you choose, they can edit that notebook and work collaboratively with you in there. This feature could really facilitate the development and write-up of group projects and assessments.

Alternative Apps to check out

  1. Have a look at Evernote. This app will also help you organise and store written and typed notes, photos, audio files and documents. It’s available for free from iTunes and Google Play.

  2. If you go on field trips as part of your studies, then take a look at FieldNotesLT.  It’s designed to “collect time stamped, geolocated notes and geotagged photographs in a single file with address or GPS coordinates”. Basically, it makes the collection and sharing of geo-referenced data really easy. It’s free from iTunes but costs €0.75 from Google Play.

  3. If you’d prefer a digital notebook into which you can hand-write everything and that those handwritten notes will be searchable afterwards, then look at MyScript Smart Notes. It’s available from iTunes and Google Play for free. The free version only gives you one notebook of ten pages but if it works for you it might be worth the €1.99 to be able to create unlimited notebooks with unlimited pages and have the ability to import PDFs that you can annotate.  

Optional Task

Optional Task

  1. Install OneNote

  2. Set up a notebook called The 12 Apps of Christmas

  3. Create a section called ‘Apps for Learning’

  4. Within that section create a page and call it ‘App 1 OneNote’

  5. Copy any of the information given above on this app that you want to keep and paste it into that OneNote page called ‘App 1 OneNote’, or create a weblink on that OneNote page to this page on the 12 apps website.

  6. Take a screengrab and tweet it to #dittelta saying ‘I did it!’

If you like OneNote, consider creating a page everyday in OneNote for each new app reviewed during this apps project. That way not only will you get familiar with all that OneNote has to offer, but you’ll have a great resource built at the end of the project too.

Don’t forget to tweet comments, tips and hints about OneNote to #12appsDIT