How OneNote/SkyDrive revolutionised our planning

I am fortunate enough to teach in a team of dedicated and innovative teachers, with whom I plan my weekly work programs/planners.

For the first half of the year, this is basically how we functioned:

1) Allocate planners (I might have been planning the writing lessons, while reading and maths would be planned by the others, for instance).

2) Each of us would plan and email said planners.  Each email would have multiple attachments – a word document for the written planner, and countless additional attachments for each online resource required for the upcoming week’s lessons.  These would be opened separately and saved in folders which we would then need to access for each lesson throughout the week.

Realising we were making things harder for ourselves, we started using Microsoft Skydrive for our collaborative planning and sharing, and haven’t looked back.

What is Skydrive?

According to trusty Wikipedia,

‘SkyDrive (officially Microsoft SkyDrive, previously Windows Live SkyDrive and Windows Live Folders) is a file hosting service that allows users to upload and sync files to a cloud storage and then access them from a Web browser or their local device.’

The benefits and features of SkyDrive/OneNote

1. It can be accessed from any device, as it is hosted in ‘the cloud’.  All you need is your username and password, and you can be accessing your documents from anywhere!

2. It gives you the option of either keeping your files private or sharing them with others.  This is great for teachers, because it means that we can collaboratively share our planning/teaching resources, while keeping certain documents private/confidential.

3. You can upload/link/attach any additional materials or word documents for your lessons, so that they are all located in one place, rather than needing to trawl through (or try to remember which) folders you saved that resource you really need for Wednesday’s decimals lesson.

4. It’s free 🙂

5. You can access it via the web, or using OneNote. To be fair though, it is much more versatile on a PC than a Mac.  As a Mac user, I prefer to create and edit my planning documents using SkyDrive.

6. It is *really* well laid out and easy to navigate, with many features that will be familiar from countless years of Microsoft Word.  I was originally more inclined to use Evernote as a sharing tool, but my team members preferred the linear layout of OneNote when compared with Evernote’s notebooks.