Using OneNote in the curriculum – Charlotte Coade (Y5 teacher)

As part of the immersion stage for our latest topic, The Vikings, Year 5 invited Kevin from History Squad to Simon de Senlis as an opportunity to stimulate the children’s interest for the unit ahead. It was a day filled with activities designed to engage the children and encourage discussion, as well as a chance to learn from an expert. Whilst it was a fantastic day, the value and richness of the content could have quite easily been forgotten had it not been for the opportunity to capture it through the Windows 8 Surfaces and OneNote. Below is a snap shot of our journey so far and how technology has been embedded into the curriculum. At Simon de Senlis we plan our curriculum around the process of Design Thinking. (You can read more about this at

During the pre-immersion stage, children were asked what they would like to find out about during the eight week unit. Examples such as ‘When were the Vikings around?’, ‘What did the Vikings wear on their heads?’ or ‘What did the Vikings travel in?’ were common responses and whilst they are important and would give insight into the topic, they would not extend their learning or stimulate further higher order questions. After half an hour, the room was buzzing with excitement and full of curious learners desperate to find answers.

To collate these questions together we used OneNote and as a class spent time categorising them into ‘bingable’ and ‘non-bingable’ groups. The children were asked for the examples where they could find the answer to by simply typing it into the internet. Within an hour, children had answered almost all of their ‘bingable’ questions and provided supporting evidence based around true/ false statements which had been devised.

Planning this in before inviting the ‘expert’ into school allowed the children to enter the immersion day with a level of knowledge and understanding, as well as having a clear idea of the ‘non-bingable’ questions they would like to ask. In turn, this provided a richer outcome and focused the children to think about the higher order questions.

Having already introduced the children to The Viking Project One Note, they were able to capture snippets throughout the day and upload to a central storage document which everyone had access to. At Simon de Senlis we have 60 Windows 8 Surface tablets which can be used either as 1:1 or in small groups to collaborate. Children had a chance to take control of their own learning and capture information that they felt was relevant. This involved pictures, videos of explanations, activities which were completed throughout the day, interviews with the expert as well as links which were suggested to extend learning further. The outcome; an online document which was packed full of richness and most importantly, all completed by the children themselves.

The idea behind using OneNote was to capture the whole journey of a particular unit, to encourage links to be made and to encourage children to become independent learners through the use of technology; giving them the opportunity to refer back to the immersion stage and bring it alive through their writing. The next stage will be using these captures as stimulus for writing and using OneNote to collaborate, as well as up level, their work.