Category Archives: Major Digital Project 832

OneNote, Canva & Minecraft EDU

Before I begin, I really have to thank my grade sixes for their incredible participation and enthusiasm when embarking on this journey of exploring OneNote, Canva and Minecraft EDU all within a matter of a few months. This group of students of mine are so excited when I introduce new digital projects and assessments that it makes it so easy to try new programs with them. Their ability to navigate new programs within a few classes is truly astonishing. I know that both myself and the teachers before me have provided them with adequate media literacy and digital citizenship education to make this possible.

OneNote

This semester I had my students work with OneNote for the first time. We worked on a digital novel study/read out loud instead of working traditionally with pencil and paper. We only have two more chapters left and then we will be finished with the book! The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau has been an engaging and thought-provoking dystopian novel to read with my students. We plan on watching the feature-length film next Thursday before the Easter break. Students completed weekly reflections about the novel and even engaged in using the collaboration space for online group work. Some of the challenges that we faced were accidentally deleting text boxes, images, and even whole pages. We learnt quickly how to lock items so that the students wouldn’t lose their work. Often time because our wifi can sometimes be poor from day to day, students would have to wait a very long time for all of their pages to load when I would distribute them out to the class. I found that I needed to distribute the pages at least an hour before we needed to access them as a class. I will continue to use OneNote with my students and in future years. I want to explore using it in multiple subjects and having them share more with their peers. To wrap up our read-out-loud, students will be creating a digital comic strip using StoryboardThat and then sharing it with our collaboration space within OneNote.

Canva

Canva has been a great tool for students to be able to showcase their creativity while still having that digital component be a part of the process. The eductor version of Canva allows teachers to review, comment and submit student work right within the website. I don’t have to sift through emails or search for documents because it is all in one convenient location. Students have created posters, infographics, and even videos that have been so fantastically done. They created posters about the 7 sacred teachings and infographics about infectious diseases. Once they grasped how the program worked, they were figuring it out quite quickly. Students have learnt what it means to download something as a PDF, PNG, JPEG or MP4. All of which can be very confusing when they don’t know why there are different file types. Most recently, I have a handful of students that are using Canva to create an informational video for their Saskatchewan Virtual Heritage Fair project. I am so proud of these students for choosing a project platform that was new and for taking the risk!

Minecraft EDU

Lastly, Minecraft EDU has been a top hit in the classroom as of late. When students hear that they get to complete an assignment or create a project using Minecraft EDU there is always a celebration. Students have also learnt valuable skills such as screen capturing and screen recording. We have been able to meet speaking outcomes without the intense pressure of a class presentation. Students have created an outdoor campsite for fire safety, a narrative comic strip, and explored a sustainable city. The most recent activity that the students were working on in Minecraft EDU is building their own Catholic church. Being that it is the season of lent, I wanted the students to focus on the actual building of the Catholic church since many of them have not been spending much time in the physical building due to the pandemic. We watched a few explainer videos about the differences between a chapel, church and cathedral, and what gothic and historic architecture has looked like over the past couple of thousands of years. The student’s church has some specific requirements, however, they also could add anything extra that they felt would go above and beyond the expectations.

Creating Beautiful Things with Canva

To complete my personal journey through media, my third digital platform that I wanted to investigate more thoroughly is Canva.com. I have personally been using Canva for about a year now. I have created both personal and professional projects for myself and have found it very user-friendly, full of great templates and inspires my creativity. I have created items such as wedding and shower invitations, seating arrangements, visual graphics for previous classes, classroom decor and posters, personal business advertisements, and a summary of learning video from ECI 831.

Having much success on my own, I wanted to dive into the educational side of Canva that they recently released for educators. I applied for the educator version of Canva which allowed myself and my students access to all of the premium features on Canva for free. The educator version also allows the teacher to add all of their students to the class, and any project that they create they can share with you, receive feedback, and download files to share them on other platforms as well. I have my students download their projects and upload them to Seesaw activities for their parents to view and to include in their digital portfolios.

The first project that I had my students create on Canva was creating their own 7 Sacred Teachings poster. Every month our administration focuses on one of the 7 sacred teachings during our morning assemblies (Love, courage, wisdom, truth, honesty, humility and respect). We often watch videos from the Grandfather teachings by Elder Hazel and discuss how we can incorporate these teachings into our daily lives. Each student chose which teaching they wanted to recreate for their own poster, and explain how they can demonstrate that teaching in their life. Here are some examples of their posters. Each teaching is represented by an animal. The students did a great job for this being their first experience with Canva.

The next project that I had the students explore was creating an infographic. An infographic differs from a poster because the template is longer in size and allows for more space for information rather than just visuals. In health, we have been discussing infectious diseases. I had each student research an infectious disease, and then create an infographic explaining their infectious disease. This time around the students explored with more templates, graphics, text options and information. Again, the students really seemed to enjoy the process of creating a digital project just like I do.

Lastly, my class will be participating in this year’s Saskatchewan Virtual Heritage Fair. The objective is for students to choose a topic related to Canadian heritage and complete a report on this topic and become an expert. Topics vary from the Canadian military to Tim Hortons, the Canadian Goose or even maple syrup. I gave my students the option of choosing a traditional poster, an essay, a PowerPoint or a video. Once students are complete, they will upload all of their files to the Heritage fair website and the committee will judge all of the projects. There is the potential for different age categories to win prizes and be recognized on a provincial level. For the students that choose the video option, I will have them use the video creator within Canva as I have previous experience with it. I showed my students my Summary of Learning video that I created in the fall of 2021 so that they could see what Canva is capable of for creating digital videos. Students will have to endure a bit of a learning curve to learn how to navigate the program however, I am willing to spend some extra time with those students that want the challenge of creating a video and stepping outside of their comfort zone. If you have any comments or questions regarding personal or professional use of Canva, please leave your thoughts below!

Using OneNote in the Classroom

During my personal journey into media, I chose to dive into the world of OneNote with my students. I had very briefly used OneNote with my staff members to book out rooms within my school building such as the library, mini gym and multipurpose room. However, I was merely just viewing and editing someone else’s notebook that they created. My goal for this project was to set up a class OneNote with my students and actively use it for a digital novel study.

To begin, I first reached out to a colleague of mine to help create my classroom notebook. I had to go in and add all of my students using their school email and then choose some different settings such as having a collaboration space and creating a couple subject folders to get started. You can also add other teachers to your OneNote if you have prep teachers that wanted to utilize the same class notebook for your students. The nice thing about OneNote is that my students are already familiar with other Office 365 applications so they have some previous knowledge going into it. They can access it from any device both at school and at home which is helpful when students are away from school. Each student has their own space where only themselves and the teachers can see their work. I create lessons with the content library and then distribute the pages out to the students when I assign them.

For my next class read aloud I chose the novel “City of Ember” by Jeanne Duprau. This novel is dystopian fiction which is a different genre than the other books we have read this year already which have been historical fiction and realistic fiction. The story is aboutĀ Ember, a post-apocalyptic underground city threatened by two-hundred-year-old aging infrastructure and corruption. The young protagonist, Lina Mayfleet, and her friend, Doon Harrow (the second protagonist), follow clues left behind by the original builders of the City of Ember, to safety in the outside world. I have been reading this novel to my class twice a week and on the days that we are not reading, they are completing their OneNote responses. We started out with book predictions and a class, and each week I distribute the two different chapters for them at a time.

This resource is from Tpt by “Nothing But Class” – https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/The-City-of-Ember-Novel-Study-Unit–4317953

While students were completing their weekly responses, they were learning valuable tech skills while using OneNote. I often spent the first few days helping students find different tools within the app and troubleshooting issues that they were having. Some common obstacles that the students faced were bringing their textboxes to the front and setting the picture as the background. Sometimes we had wifi troubles so then the students wouldn’t have to make sure they had a proper connection or else they would lose their work from the last sync. I also had students experiment with the drawing tool as some questions asked to draw a picture. If the drawing tool wasn’t for them, I also gave them the option of uploading images to their notebook as well.

This past week we got to the halfway point in the book. Now that the students have been practicing using OneNote for a few weeks I wanted them to try out the collaboration space by doing a small group assignment. I created a City of Ember Group Work folder within the collaboration space and assigned students to six different groups. Within these, each group had a different task that I wanted them to complete together. I did a class lesson explaining how the collaboration space works and that everyone in the class including myself, is able to see who typed what. I made it very clear that they weren’t to change or modify anyone’s work without their permission. I sent the students on their way to work together on their assignment and these were the results after about 30 minutes.

Some of the challenges that the students experienced were accidentally deleting content within the page. They knew to use the “undo” button however, sometimes they went into slight panic mode and they thought that it was gone forever. The students used different font colours for each member as a visual to see who answered which question. Each textbox leaves the student’s initials with it however, the colours are easier to identify. Another challenge we encountered was having OneNote “Conflicts”. This is when more than one person is altering a page at the same time and OneNote saves more than one copy of the original due to poor wifi connection. I had to go in on my end to fix this problem myself which had a simple fix once I found the solution. Overall, I was please with the online group work that my students were able to experience despite the challenges they had to overcome in the process. I will be using the collaboration space a couple more times within this novel study.

Once we finish our novel, which will be about a week before Easter break, I am wanting my students to do their final project using the website StoryboardThat which is a free online platform that allows students to create a digital comic strip using scenes, characters and objects that are all animated to tell a story. I will have my students choose a specific chapter from the book and have them recreate that chapter using this website. Then, I will have them upload their storyboards to the collaboration space on OneNote where we can share and view them with the class together. StoryboardThat has so many different tutorial videos as well that I plan on using to show my students what the program is capable of creating.

In conclusion, I will definitely plan on continuing the use of Class OneNote with my students. I hope to use it for some different subject areas and units before the school year is over. I know that the grade 7 and 8 teachers at my school also use OneNote, so I will be sending them students next year already having some understanding of how the program works. If you have any questions or comments about my experience with OneNote please feel free to leave a comment below!