OneNote Tips: Syncing

A OneNote Notebook is a bit like a whole website in a notebook. That’s great. It means it’s packed with a variety of content like text, photos and video but when one syncs a notebook it checking every page on a website for changes and downloading all the pages at once. That can take a while. Here are some tips to make it less painful.

If a notebook is slow to sync or appears to not be syncing at all there are three systems that could be causing the problem:

  1. Microsoft’s servers
  2. Your internet connection
  3. Your device–your iPad or laptop.

Microsoft’s Servers

Occasionally Microsoft does have problems with their servers and systems but it’s not common and there’s nothing you can do about it so we’re  going to focus on to the other systems that might be causing your syncing problems.

Your Internet Connection

  • Do you have an internet connection? Open a web browser and see if you can connect to other websites. If you can connect, how fast are they?
  • If you’re at home, is someone else in the house playing online games, streaming movies or music? In other words, are they hogging all the bandwidth? If so, ask them to pause what they’re doing and see if it helps.

Your Device

  • Quit unnecessary programs and close unnecessary apps. If you have a bunch of tabs open they are probably using your bandwidth even when you aren’t using them. If you’re in the habit of keeping a bunch of tabs open you might consider using a browser add-in like OneTab. (This tip is for laptop users running Chrome or Firefox.)
  • Restart your device. As we move around from school, to home or to restaurants our devices get “clogged up” with all the network settings. Restarting your device can help. It gives your iPad/laptop a fresh start.
  • “Close” old notebooks you’re not currently using. “Closing” notebooks doesn’t delete them. They stay in your OneDrive or your teacher’s OneDrive if it’s a class notebook. “Closing” a notebook means OneNote won’t try to sync notebooks it doesn’t need to.

One More Thing

If you’re adding content to a OneNote notebook, think about the size of what you’re adding. Text is fine but think about the size of the photos and other files you’re adding.

  • Re-size photos in apps like Preview or Photos before you add them. It will speed up syncing and the images will still look good on screens.
  • Rather than putting pdf’s or other docs in the notebook, put them in OneDrive and add a link to the notebook. That way people only have to download the file when they need it.
  • If you’re in a class trying to sync your notebook with 20+ other people, it’s going to be slow. Move somewhere so you’re using a different wireless access point. As a student you might sync your notebooks when you first get to school. That way they’ll be up to date and ready to go when you get to class.

Microsoft Translator

This is a follow up to the demo Rob and Alex gave at Wednesday’s Bayside Faculty meeting.

Microsoft Translator has potential to be very helpful. In addition to helping us with taxi drivers and buying groceries, it will be very helpful for our work with individual parents and when presenting to groups of people who may be more comfortable using a language other than English. Here are a few videos and links that may be helpful as you get started with Microsoft Translator.

Finally, here’s a link to the Microsoft Translator page which has links to the various app stores so you can download it for your phone.

Grade 4 Dot Art Stop Motion Videos

SIS Art Teacher Katie Hobbs’ grade 4 students used their study of contemporary artist Yayoi Kusama and the technology of stop motion to create dot art videos.

Yayoi Kusama is famous for her use of simple symbols to create complex pieces of art. One aspect of her work that grade 4 students examined was using dots to create values of light to dark shading.

The idea to combine Kusama’s style of art with stop motion technology was inspired by her interactive art piece, Obliteration Room at the Tate Museum, where visitors were allowed to add stickers to a white space set up as a living room.

Here is a time-lapse video of the results…

Mrs. Hobbs’ grade 4 artists worked in collaborative groups to create their own dot art videos using iPads with Stop Motion Studio app and then importing their video into iMovie to edit and add music. Creativity is evident in the completed pieces where dots were used to create abstract and concrete patterns. Through this unit, students were able to learn about and demonstrate several concepts and skills as part of the art curriculum including: creating art with a variety mediums, understanding art in context of history and culture and using composition & principles of design to communicate ideas. Additionally, some students have taken what they’ve learned about creating stop motion movies to start creating them outside of the classroom. 

Here are a few examples from the grade 4 artists.



All of the grade 4 dot art videos will showing at the Shekou International School 2016 Elementary Art Show on May 4th.

More on Yayoi Kusama
Yayoi Kusama (Artsy)

More on Stop Motion Animation
What is Stop Motion Animation
Easy Stop Motion Animation for Beginners
Engage Elementary Students with Stop Animation

On Risk & Resiliency: Where Language meets Illustration

Innovation can be defined as the process of translating an idea into something that creates value or satisfies a specific need. Framed in this way, innovation goes beyond technology and emphasizes underlying concepts such as risk and resiliency – two words that are often not associated with the acquisition of language.

With that said, Sophie Delaporte and her French language students just completed a project on idioms that embodies this spirit of innovation. From an instructional lens, this project was risky because it went beyond her students’ intermediate level, and the task was more than just a word for word translation project. Although idioms are interesting because they give us insight into cultures, add meaning and color to languages, they involve transposing cultural concepts into a new context. If you speak a second language or are in the process of learning one, you know how difficult this can be.

As educators, when we know more about our students we are able to make more informed decisions. Ms. Delaporte, in this case, not only knew her students were a highly visual group with great artist ability, she understood they had a good sense of analogy. When interviewing her, we talked about her students’ “grit” and how they would be up to the challenge because of their complex thinking skills. Interestingly, Ms. Delaporte and myself saw this first hand and learned alongside students because the task was so specific. We appealed to other language teachers and wider community to verify idioms and their accuracy. Others got involved and produced gems like your “rice cake is bigger than mine” (the grass is always greener on the other side) or this piece by Anna D – “Tomber de Charybde en Scylla” which translates to “Out of the frying pan and into the fire”. Her digital drawing below does an amazing job of illustrating where idiomatic expressions and art meet.

Anna image

Lastly, although presented as an option technology was not ignored. All students used Storehouse in one way or another to tell a story, reflect, present. Here are a few examples. Enjoy!

Story 1         Story 2          Story 3          Story 4




Formative Assessment using Keynote

Good questioning invites further inquiry from students. As a way to formatively assess learners, it also allows teachers to collect information to make inferences, pique curiosity and create new learning opportunities.  Additionally, when teachers make formative assessment an integral part of their lessons, they are able to benefit from a clearer picture of student understanding and then adjust and pivot to make more informed instructional decisions.

This past week Eddie Bywater approached me with an application that seemed to encapsulate this idea but done in real time and without creating the additional work that would usually dissuade a teacher from trying something new. The software is called Poll Everywhere and as an educator and learning innovation coach, I quickly saw the immediate potential a tool like this would have in transforming a teacher’s learning environment.    

In one sentence, the cool thing about this app is that once you create and invite your students the poll, the information collected is automatically embedded and refreshed directly into your keynote presentation in real time giving you immediate results.

For more information see tutorial.

Stay FITT This Summer

As the school year comes to a close and we spend time reflecting on different lessons and projects this year, it is important to remember that our students are learning all of the time.  Learning doesn’t simply finish with the end of the academic year, and this is especially true when it comes to physical education.  With so many of our HS students taking part in Knoflick FITT this past year, Colleen is continuing the challenge through the summer:

Post Your Pushups Around The World!

Join our P.E. students this summer by taking part in the Summer FITT Challenge.  All you have to do take part is to take a picture or short video of yourself doing pushups with a geographical landmark in the background and post it to the Knoflick FITT page.  We want to see where in the world you are working out.  Students have already been abuzz about where they will be and what pictures they will capture.  John Burns will being doing pushups at the renowned Gold Coast beach in Brisbane.

Here are just a few of the great reflections that Colleen has received from students as they thought back upon this year-long project.

Dabin Song’s PE Radio Show

Why you should buy an @Oculus Rift for your school right now.


The Oculus Rift is amazing. There’s no doubt about it.  Literally every person I’ve seen don the headset drops a, ‘Woah!’  immediately.  It’s unlike anything you’ve experienced and it’s going to have a profound impact on the ways in which we interact and learn through technology.

You encounter a problem though, when trying to explain exactly what the Oculus Rift does.  To invoke Morpheus, “Unfortunately, no one can be told what the Oculus Rift is.  You have to see it for yourself”.  Unless you’ve actually put on the headset, preferably with earphones, it’s difficult to comprehend the level of immersion and realness you feel.  So for the uninitiated, it’s Virtual Reality done right.  Wear the Oculus Rift and you’re transported to another place; the moon, the back of a dragon, or in the Giza Necropolis; wherever.  If it can be simulated in a computer, you can experience it.  Needles to say, gamers are excited.

And while the impact on gaming is clear it’s interesting to see that there are already strong learning applications emerging.  Apps like ‘Titans of Space let you tour the solar system and provide a profound sense of the scale of the universe.  Ocean Rift places you alongside sharks and whales as you glide along the sea floor.  VR Cinema gives you an entire 200 seat theatre to yourself while Street View takes advantage of Google Maps letting you tour the world.  And we haven’t touched on the innovations to storytelling and film.  You can even spend a moment as the star of one of Japan’s most successful films, Spirited Away.  Soon there will be movies where YOU play the lead role.

It’s not all beer and skittles though.  Some games make you sick.  You literally need to develop ‘VR legs’ for these.  I was heavily nauseated after 30 minutes of Half-Life 2.  Apparently, the new Oculus Rift dubbed Crystal Cove, alleviates some of this this with a HD display, reduced latency and motion tracking.  I’m hoping to get sick playing GTA4 soon but I can’t get it working yet.  That’s the other bit, you’ll need to be prepared to troubleshoot and explore (which you’ll probably enjoy anyway).

What’s most exciting though are the implications for inclusive settings.  People with physical or mental disabilities will have access to learning experiences and scenarios that were previously difficult to establish.  Learning will become more accessible to all.

So, if you’ve got the budget (around 300 bucks plus a hefty PC or Mac) get your hands on an Oculus Rift.  It’s going to influence the way we interact with technology (check out the minority report style computer in The Cave) and become an integral part of any blended learning environment.  It won’t be too long before it has the form factor of Google Glass.  That will certainly make things interesting.

Follow @Oculus for more information


Feedback Loop


Both Hillary Lauder and Meaghan Wilson wanted to be able to make an impact on their students they teach every week. They wanted to view their thought process and make authentic comments on their work, to provide a value learning experience. Both of these teachers wanted something that would be a game changer in students’ assignments, reflections, and assessments. A feedback loop if you will.

After a couple of weeks I followed up with Hillary and Meaghan and asked if anything developed from our conversation on using Moxtra. This is what they shared with me.


Hillary Lauder :

What is so important about using this tool as apposed to sitting down with each student individually and conferencing with them? 

“First of all this is a paperless process, so making a conscious effort about environmental awareness.”

“Second, my commenting is so detailed that typing out my comments on their science inquiry reports would actually take more time. With Moxtra I am able to record my voice and annotation and keep that private between myself and student. I am able comment on their work while I am working outside of school hours and this done in real time. So the learning actually never stops. I’m really happy with how this also eliminates a lot of wasted time because time is so important in education.”

What is the feedback that you are receiving from students, since using this tool?

“I have received positive remarks on using this tool to make a bigger impact on assessing their science inquiry reports.”


Meaghan Wilson:

What is the biggest change that you have had in your curriculum this year?

“Reflection is critical in PE or in any subject for that matter because it means so much to learning. It was a tedious process in the past because students would email me their reflection and I would reply with my comments. This year I needed something more and Moxtra has been that for me.”

Do you and you students go beyond reflecting through Moxtra?

“I use Moxtra throughout the entire block. I prep my students with a document, video, or recording that they have to view. I then document what every student is doing and upload that content to their binders. Before class is over, I give the students ten minutes to go to their Moxtra binder and reflect on what they have accomplished in PE that day.”

“What I have started to see is that many of my students go beyond my simple reflection prompt. I have students critiquing their skills through more writing in their Moxtra binder. I now get a chance to hear students that I normally don’t hear on a regular basis through voice recording or video they capture and load to Moxtra.”

What kind of impact do you feel this has on your students?

“I feel that they are able to speak to me everyday even if I don’t get a chance to speak to them in person. I feel like I am able to make an individual impact because I get to comment on their work in real time, there is no waiting.”


Since then, the use of Moxtra has started to disseminate into other classes. So, is this the game changer?

Why Twitter?

The use of Twitter is an acquired action. It certainly takes some time to make it a habit to ones life and when structured to your liking, it is easily will be your number one tool to use for consumption and sharing throughout the day. Below are some key points to help you get started on enhancing your personal learning.

How to get started, hashtags to consider, the use of Tweetdeck, and how to save resources from Twitter.

Who to follow in order:

  1. friends & family
  2. colleagues, or people in the same workforce.
  3. hobbies you enjoy ~ i.e. technology @cnet
  4. celebrity athletes, news anchors, comedians, cooks

What is a hashtag#sisrocks

Educational Hashtags

TweetDeck App on MacBook Pro  – Requires Sign-up. TweetDeck on Browser ~ Chrome (ONLY)

Adding Columns on your TweetDeck to follow Specific hashtags, subjects, or people.

TweetDeck Add Column


To save links from Twitter, Pocket & Evernote are your best third party applications. This makes it easy to not have to favorite( Yellow Star) everything on your Twitter feed.

If your stuck here is a beginners guide to Twitter otherwise share what you are doing class and resources via Twitter and don’t forget hashtaging #sisrocks


Redefining Mining @ SIS

Over the past two and half months our fourth grade instructors took it upon themselves to dive into Mojang’s game, Minecraft, with their students. Their first lesson was to have students collaborate with each other to succeed in one common goal in the game, building a shelter. Collaborating proved to be difficult for some students; however, the lesson gave teachers valuable feedback that allowed them to create authentic lessons using Minecraft for learning. This video clip gives you an insight on how teachers have taken this simulation game from entertainment only to an authentic collaborative experience, simulating real world learning.

Additional resources: Lesson Plan