Creative Constructor
Lab Virtual
Leadership Exchange
at ISTELive 21
Edtech Advocacy &
Policy Summit

Create Your Own Interactive Textbooks With OneNote and Open Source

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Participate and share : Poster

Kelli Etheredge  
Textbooks are out-of-date when published and e-texts are rarely more than digitized versions of stagnant information. Why limit students' learning to such materials? Learn how to use open source and OneNote Class Notebooks to create interactive, personalized textbooks to enrich your classrooms and save schools money.

Audience: Teachers, Coaches, Curriculum/district specialists
Skill level: Intermediate
Attendee devices: Devices not needed
Participant accounts, software and other materials: It is not mandatory, but it would be helpful to have either OneNote 2016, OneNote for Mac, or the OneNote app for their respective device. (For Chromebooks, you will access OneNote online.) If you want to begin creating a notebook during the session, you will also need a personal Microsoft account (which you can set up for free by going to, or an Office 365 account through your school. (But this is not necessary for the day of the session.)
Topic: Open educational resources
Grade level: PK-12
ISTE Standards: For Educators:
  • Design authentic learning activities that align with content area standards and use digital tools and resources to maximize active, deep learning.
For Coaches:
Teaching, Learning and Assessments
  • Coach teachers in and model design and implementation of technology-enhanced learning experiences addressing content standards and student technology standards.
Digital Age Learning Environments
  • Coach teachers in and model use of online and blended learning, digital content, and collaborative learning networks to support and extend student learning as well as expand opportunities and choices for online professional development for teachers and administrators.
Influencer Disclosure: This session includes a presenter that indicated a “material connection” to a brand that includes a personal, family or employment relationship, or a financial relationship. See individual speaker menu for disclosure information.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

The time will be very interactive. I will share how I created my own textbook and then how the model was used for the other teachers at my school. Then, attendees will begin exploring the resources and building their own content I will be moving around the room answering individual questions and helping teachers find the resources that they can use for their classroom.

Objectives: Participants will • learn strategies for building their own textbook using OneNote Class Notebook • learn about (and have time to explore) the best open source educational content they can use to create their own textbook • learn how to manage content creation/curation as well as how to share content with students • discover time saving techniques for crucial day-to-day processes, including grading and giving timely feedback to students.
OneNote is available on all devices, so it works well with any classroom, including 1:1, BYOD, or cart or lab access to devices. To receive new information, devices will need to be connected to the Internet, but students can work on their assignments and read content within OneNote even when they are not connected to the Internet. Participants will dive deep into how to use OneNote Class Notebooks to create their textbooks. We will also discuss Office 365, Forms, Flipgrid, and Wakelet as supplemental resources for teachers. This method of content curation/creation is modeled after my classroom, 9th and 10th grade English, in which I abandoned the textbook in 2008 and began building my own textbook in OneNote in 2009. Over the course of the years, my use of OneNote as a textbook evolved - to not only a place where I could share content, but also a place where students could share resources, students could collaborate, and I could provide them feedback on their work. I essentially eliminated the need for all paper (with the exception of exams and other formal assessments). Based on my model, my school created a learning initiative where teachers in 5th and 6th grade followed my procedure to create their own textbooks. The process has "bubbled up" and more and more teachers in higher grades are implementing the process as well. Some have completely eliminated their textbook, and others are using OneNote Class Notebook in combination with a textbook. Everyone who has moved to this process says that they would not want to return to their "old way" of teaching. Students are more engaged; grades have improved because students are receiving timely feedback; and teachers are saving time and resources.


 1. Get to know participants - ask them to share grade levels, content areas, focus, etc. (5 minutes)
 2. Background regarding how I started creating my own content and why I began using OneNote as the content delivery system. (5 minutes)
 3. Explanation of how my classroom model was implemented and developed into the learning initiative in our middle school (5 minutes)
 4. Introduction into OneNote - how it works, where to get it, the basics of how to use it, and the power of the Class Notebook as well as the Learning Tools add-in. (Because the goal is those who attend will have some knowledge of OneNote, this will hopefully only take around 15 minutes.)
 5. Share the SymbalooEdu page that I created for my faculty at the start of our process with the participants and provide them time to find resources that fit their content and meet their educational goals. Participants can begin saving the resources they want to use to a OneNote notebook (or other program if they prefer) (30 minutes)
  a. During this time of research and uncovering by the participants, I will mill around the room answering individual questions and sharing specific resources that I feel they may like to use for their specific content area.
  b. I will encourage grade levels and subject areas to sit together to share resources that they find and are excited about using. If participants are unable to pair up like this, we will pause periodically so that they can share their findings and what they are most excited about.
The session is focused on providing participants lots of time to find resources that will benefit their classroom.

Supporting research

My school's learning initiative model (and the basis for this presentation) is founded on using OneNote Class Notebook and digital inking devices. Dr. Sharon Oviatt, author of The Design of Future Educational Interfaces, has found that digital inking devices have a significant impact on learning. Specifically, using a digital pen "leads to a 9 - 38 percent improvement in students' ability to produce ideas, solve problems correctly, and make accurate inferences about information." Additionally, within OneNote, there is an add-in called Learning Tools that was specifically designed to help students with dyslexia and other learning disabilities. Research, however, has found that Learning Tools benefits all learners. Specifically, Dr. Betsy Doone, professor of Special Education at the University of South Alabama, found: "Although created to meet the unique learning needs of students with dyslexia, [Learning Tools for OneNote] provides access for all learners, ensuring that the tenets of Universal Design for Learning are met. Software programs that provide a range of attributes create accessibility opportunities for a range of learners, increasing functionality and learning outcomes. English language learners, students with disabilities, and students with limited academic opportunities all benefit from OneNote toolbar. Providing access to learning to all students benefits our future." One of the leading resources for math and science is Open Source is still a foreign concept (or an intimidating one) to many educators, but it is the future of education. This article discusses some of the key concepts regarding OER in education - Schools could save thousands of dollars every year if they moved toward an OER model. With the cost savings, schools could use those funds for technology or other needs. Additionally, the Department of Education has started the #goopen campaign - - and more schools will be encouraged to move in this direction in the future. Preparing educators for the change in content delivery makes this an important session topic.

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Kelli Etheredge, St. Paul's Episcopal School

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