Staff Collaboration and Communication with OneNote and OneDrive

By Dianne Krause, Instructional Technology Coach, Wissahickon School District, Pennsylvania

Collaboration seems to be a magic word in education these days. And the most successful teachers are integrating activities and projects that allow their students to collaborate with their classmates and experts, both near and far.

The most effective collaboration, though, occurs among teachers and staff. It’s about not only sharing teaching resources and lessons, but also professional engagement and lifelong learning. With the use of OneNote and OneDrive, collaboration between faculty and staff is not only efficient and easy, but also streamlined and engaging.

As an Instructional Technology Specialist in support of a 21st-century teaching and learning, 1:1 laptop initiative, OneNote and OneDrive are a part of my daily life – both in and out of school. Teachers, students and administrators in my district view OneNote as the backbone of our 1:1 initiative and our digital educational lives. And when it comes to the "business" of school, OneNote is the primary organizational tool in my district for faculty manuals, collaborative project and lesson planning, data collection and team meeting notes.

Our faculty manuals — three-ring binders in the past — are all now fully housed and continually updated through a combination of view-only and collaborative OneNote notebooks and Staff Notebooks. Almost all communication and collaboration between faculty and staff occurs in these OneNote Staff Notebooks, so much so that this sign is found hanging in one of our principal's offices!

In addition to faculty manuals, we have collaborative planning notebooks available for all departments and teams – 5th grade teachers, 6th grade social studies, 10th grade biology, enrichment/gifted teachers, speech lessons and more.

Anyone and everyone who is involved with teaching and learning has a collaborative planning notebook available to share lesson ideas, resources, projects, rubrics, class materials, etc. And if by chance there isn’t a notebook available for something yet, teachers know it is as easy as going to their OneDrive, creating a new OneNote notebook and inviting in their team, department, or grade-level collaborators.

In addition to OneNote, our educators are also using OneDrive and OneDrive for Business for collaboration and communication. Word , PowerPoint and Excel files are being shared more and more, not only for collaboration, but also for equity in teaching.

Several teachers will work on a PowerPoint presentation or Word document that will be delivered to students, ensuring that our lessons are equitable among classes. And collaborative data collection and analysis is easier than ever with Excel online. Reading specialists, special education teachers and administrators alike are blown away by the efficiency and effectiveness of a shared Excel spreadsheet. We like to reminisce about the past, when emails of files would fly back and forth.

For our school community, OneNote and OneDrive are used for excellence in the practice of teaching and learning. But these amazing tools also strengthen the communication and collaboration among our faculty and staff.

How will you use OneNote and OneDrive for collaboration in your school?

To learn more about how we are using OneNote, OneDrive and other innovative technologies in my school district, be sure to follow me on the new Educator community, Twitter, Facebook, or my blog – Dianne’s Digital Discoveries.

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