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Views & Opinion Ask Charlotte!

This month, regular Education Today ed tech columnist, Microsoft Educator Expert, and Assistant Head Charlotte Beckhurst takes an in-depth look at OneNote.

I was recently working with two Learning Support Assistants who run a nurture group, and we were discussing targets and evidencing the learning and development in the nurture sessions. They told me they were capturing evidence in the form of photographs, but they were unsure where to store them and where to write anecdotal learning. I suggested OneNote. Not only can they store all the photos in one place, they can annotate the photos in real time, and they can also share the OneNote with parents/carers so the children can share their experiences at home. OneNote notebooks can be set up however you want and are not

specifically designed for classes. Classroom Notebook, on the other hand, enables teachers to set up their classes in four easy steps. In less than 2 minutes you can have your entire class set up in a notebook and begin thinking about the learning. Each notebook has three sections; a collaborative section, a Handouts section and the student section. Each student can see all three sections however they can only access their own notebook pages in the student section. The collaboration section is the place where your students can work together on their learning. Everyone has access to the Handouts pages. This is where you store pictures, text, tables, videos, audio recordings and so on which your students will need for the lesson. The students do not have permissions to edit this section so everything is safe. Once the OneNote is set up with your students, it is time to think

about how your students will use it in the lesson. I have recently put some videos together on my ITEACH with Charlotte channel on YouTube on how to use the collaboration section and I will share those ideas now. As all your students can access this section, it provides a great opportunity to assess prior learning at the beginning of a lesson. In a science lesson I was able to ask my students to write down everything they knew about bones. Once I had collected this information, I then used their answers to group the children, to differentiate and to ensure everyone was challenged. I was also able to get other children to share what they knew with their peers, giving the students more control over their learning. Another useful way of using OneNote is to create revision guides.

Revision time starts now, and OneNote not only provides a great place to store everything they need, but allows them to work together on their revision. The collaboration section enables you to set it up how you wish so you could have small groups working together, pairs or even just have students working independently in their own sections. And of course, OneNote allows you to give feedback in real time. So you can access the learning, leave comments or ask questions to further their learning – instant assessment for learning! I will be sharing more OneNote ideas with you in the future but

that is all for this month. So have a go, and let me know how it works in your classroom. As you can see, OneNote really is one of my favourite tools. I even use it to organise my own life but that’s another story! Remember, I do love to hear from my readers so please tweet me or send me an email at

12 The Big

Bang Fair This month, regular Education Today columnist and STEM ambassador Kirsty Bertenshaw reflects on the Big Bang Fair.

The Big Bang UK Young Scientists & Engineers Fair ran from the 16- 19th March at the NEC in Birmingham and is the largest celebration of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) careers and information for young people in the UK. It was attended by over 70,000 people over four days, including some I met who had flown in from Geneva to visit for the day. This year I ran a workshop at the event, so got to experience the fun from behind the scenes! These events have been running since 2009 with interactive

workshops such as kite building, exciting exhibits such as a 2000-year- old skeleton found in Roman Chester or even theatre shows such as “The Hollywood Special Effects Show”. The aim of the event is “to show young people (primarily aged 7-19) the exciting and rewarding opportunities out there for them with the right experience and qualifications, by bringing classroom learning to life.” This means showing pupils how the things they learn about in

school are relevant to the real world around them, and possible career paths. This includes careers such as being a nuclear scientist or, of course, an astronaut! Space was a prominent theme this year with Tim Peake being on the ISS during National Science week. Crucially, it also includes careers with less academic achievement but

still focused on STEM. JCB, Rolls Royce and BAE systems all promote apprenticeship programs at the fair, specifically for those who prefer to be “hands on” in their learning. This really is vital, as not all students will achieve A grades (or the new grade 9’s at GCSE) and not all STEM jobs require A’s! If there is no one assembling the engines for Rolls Royce, then there is no Rolls Royce or JCB or BAE systems or equipment for the Army, RAF etc. It is important that as teachers we don’t let less academic pupils write themselves off from a STEM career. I actually believe it’s more important to bring these pupils to these events rather than the gifted and talented! Some of the more interesting careers on show include the food

industry, with competition elements such as designing a new biscuit for United Biscuits. There was also a “science of roller coasters” stand (with a large collection of K’Nex that I coveted) discussing the careers available in roller coaster design. NHS careers were also showcased along with information and advice on how to join the NHS. There are several benefits from attending an event like this. Firstly,

pupils are out of the classroom and still learning, seeing the real world relevance of what they’re being taught. Secondly, they might have some ideas about future career or further education paths, as several universities also showcase there. For teachers, there are companies which come out to schools such

as Operating Theatre Live!, Big Heritage and STEMtastic. These can offer an out of school education experience without the paperwork required to take a school trip! If you missed the national event but it sounds interesting, then you’ll

be glad to know that there are regional events called The Big Bang Near Me which take place later in the summer term. I can’t recommend events like this highly enough to motivate students and make them realise that there is a career out there for everyone in STEM!

If you would like to see any issue explored in a future article,

or you have any questions for me, please get in touch with me at

April 2016

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