Friday, October 22, 2010

One Note on OneNote

So, I was debating spending a cool $200 on LiveScribe's Pulse SmartPen to bring to graduate school and my FYW composition class until a good friend recommended that I try Microsoft OneNote. That good friend deserves a huge hug because Microsoft OneNote is AWESOME!

Microsoft OneNote allows you to create new notebooks, new pages, and new tabs, and chock them full of text, pictures, links, documents, etc. Now, instead of lugging around four different notebooks and textbooks, I have all of my notes neatly stored in OneNote (and my PDFs and eBooks on NOOKstudy). I never have to fumble through sheets of paper to find my class notes, and I can actually keep up with the rate of lecture speed.

This is a screen shot of my class notes from one of my graduate courses:

Click to see a larger view.

As you can see, I was able to take notes, separate them into subjects, and even draw diagrams.

What makes it different than writing in a notebook or typing them in a word processor is that OneNote acts like a digital scrapbook. I can paste in pictures, links, tables, documents, etc. Plus, when I copy and paste information from the web, it automatically adds source information to the bottom. On top of all of those cool features, you never have to hit a save button. It automatically saves everything at every step, so that you can never lose your work. Once it's typed, it's stored.

The best feature though is its link to WindowsLive (you can create an account for free). I can have all of my work automatically uploaded to my account so that even if my computer crashes all of my notes are stored. I also have sharing capabilities with networks and friends.

I use OneNote for everything now! I keep my class notes there. I keep my story notes for my creative work there. I have my lesson plans stored there, as well as my class roster, student-teacher conference notes, and a teacher log.

Some great possibilities for students using OneNote:

  • use it to take notes in class
  • share notes with classmates or get notes when you're absent
  • keep a class notebook (something like a private wiki) where everyone can add text, pictures, links, etc. 

Some great possibilities for teachers using OneNote:
  • create student reading journals or class scrapbooks using OneNote that can be uploaded and shared via WindowsLive
  • outline units and lesson plans, linking in readings, websites, pictures, etc. (automatically backed up)
  • keep a teacher journal
  • have your notes linked to WindowsLive so that you never lose them
  • share your plans and research with other teachers via WindowsLive

Some great possibilities for writers:
  • create a wiki for your work that can be easily shared with publishers via WindowsLive (plus, no one can erase your information or add their own incorrect information)keep all of your research in one place
  • copy and paste blogs, articles, documents, stories etc. from the internet and have the source information automatically saved so that you don't have to initially cite every source, but can cite them properly as they are used instead
  • treat it like a scrapbook for sources of inspiration
  • keep all of your research in one place (rather than napkins, scraps of paper, and t.p.)
  • keep a publicity journal once you become a published writer
  • have your story notes automatically backed up on WindowsLive


Tara said...

The question is ... do they make this for Macs??

NP said...

Sadly, Tara, there is no OneNote for Mac =(

But this website has some OneNote alternatives for Mac:

NP said...

Tara, Live Binders seem to be a cross-platform option, though I have no experience using them (yet). You can learn more about them at