flickr photo shared by mrkrndvs under a Creative Commons ( BY-SA ) license

Integrating technology in schools can be challenging. Often it is seen as an ‘or’ rather than an ‘and’. Subsequently, there are some areas where it has become more normalised than others. One such space is curriculum planning.

When was the last time you saw a handwritten curriculum document? Ok, many teachers still print them out and write in their notes, however it seems to have become something of a given that the initial document is typed. The question to be considered is which application best suits the need.

The biggest problem is that there are so many different options. Maybe it is using Evernote, Google Apps, a wiki or a learning management system. Some of the common issues seem to be formatting, collaboration, ease of use and ability to link between resources. One other option that has become particularly popular of late is Microsoft OneNote.

Like Google Apps, OneNote allows users to collaborate without the conflicts created when using applications like Dropbox, includes a wide range of templates and allows the ability to collect and connect different content. However, one of it’s biggest selling points is that for those comfortable with using Microsoft Office, there is little adjustment required. Rather, it adds a certain level of functionality that is not possible otherwise.

For more on OneNote, check out the following resources:

So what about you? Have you used OneNote? Is there anything that you would add? As always, comments welcome.


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flickr photo shared by mrkrndvs under a Creative Commons ( BY-SA ) license

One of the biggest challenges when introducing a new application, such as Google Apps or Global2, is setting up the new accounts. Although programs often make it easy enough to create the accounts in bulk, the challenge is communicating this to students. My answer has been to merge cards for the students using Microsoft Publisher. This involves three steps:

Making a Spreadsheet

The first thing to do is to make a spreadsheet in which you collect all the information required. I find that it is always good to have a document with all this sort of information in one place. I use a few ‘concatenating‘ tricks in Google Sheets that I picked up via Alice Keeler to help combine different pieces of information and then download as a CSV to turn formulas into text and numbers. It is important to use clear headings for each of the columns.

Create a Template

The next step is to create a template. For this step, I use Microsoft Publisher. I begin by choosing a business card template and then enter all the appropriate information. This can include name, website, username and temporary passwords etc …

Produce the Merge

Once I have something that looks like a finished product, I click on the Mailings tab and work through the Step-by-Step Mail Merge Wizard. This includes selecting the appropriate spreadsheet (choosing comma), inserting the various fields and checking through the previews.  Once satisfied, I then print the merge.


Although I have come to use Google Apps for for many things and could possibly use Autocrat, this is still one thing that I still find easiest to do with Microsoft.

So what about you? What steps do you take to support students with new programs? Feel free to share below.


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