Student OneDrive Adoption Rates Climb

At the end of October, we noticed that many students had very few files in their OneDrive. The percentage of students with fewer than six files in their OneDrive reached as high as 66% for some grade levels. Since OneDrive use is critical for students’ abilities to create and collaborate, the English and Chinese departments collaborated with Matt K to create a 15-minute lesson on syncing with OneDrive, using the Outlook app on phones, and accessing the school calendar at

As of November 29, OneDrive use has climbed steadily due to most students using the OneDrive sync client to store and back up files from their Macbooks to OneDrive:

% of students not actively using OneDrive (have <6 files)

​Grade Oct 24​ ​Nov 29
​12 ​47% ​26%
​11 ​46% ​21%
​10 ​66% ​28%
​9 ​25% ​6%

We hope this is making it easier for students to collaborate and work productively in your classes. Thanks again to the courses and teachers in the Chinese and English departments who contributed their instructional time to make it happen!

Share OneNote student notebooks with parents

If you’re using OneNote Class Notebooks, you’ll be pleased to learn that you can mass-generate private links for parents to see the notebooks of their children:

This will let you and the students share evidence of their learning with parents without letting them change anything in the notebooks. You can use an e-mail merge to send out all those logins automatically to parents. Get step-by-step instructions straight from Microsoft:

Selective Sync with OneDrive

A great feature of the OneDrive sync client is that it lets you sync your group files to your laptop. But you may not want to sync all the files in your groups or individual ​OneDrive, for example to save hard drive space. In these cases, you can choose the folders you want to sync:

Find step-by-step instructions in the OneDrive for Mac FAQ.

Sway Your Audience with Sway

Sway is an app in Office 365 that we haven’t covered here before, but it’s worth checking out. It goes beyond Powerpoint by letting you create online presentations/websites that look great on mobile phones and computers. This means that Sway goes great with QR codes. We tried this out at the recent Student Leadership Summit, where participants used QR codes to access content in a Sway on their phones. See the Sway below for more information…


…and learn more at​​​​

Don’t Use Forms to Create Forms

Yes, the best way to create forms is to first go to your individual or group OneDrive and click the + New button, then choose Forms for Excel:

This creates an Excel workbook in your OneDrive that you can use the share the results with collaborators. You’ll notice a new Forms button in the toolbar:

If you create a Form using the Forms tile rather than by using the + New button, you won’t see it in your OneDrive and you won’t be able to share the results spreadsheet with collaborators or store it in a Group. So remember: to create forms, don’t use Forms.


E-Mail Merge with Excel, Word, and Outlook

If you need to mass-email parents, you can save a lot of time by using Word’s e-mail merge feature!

To do this, you need to

  1. ​Create a spreadsheet containing the students with incompletes, the name of the assignment, and their parent email, each in its own column. You can download this information from sqlReports 4.
  2. Set up your mail account in Outlook for Mac​.
  3. Make sure Outlook is your default mail program – use Apple to change it if necessary​.
  4. Write your form letter in Word.
  5. Do a mail merge​ by telling Word to look at the spreadsheet you created in step 1, and then inserting merge fields.
  6. Use the Merge to E-Mail button to send out all of your emails.​


See the video below to see all of these steps in action.


Share Files Outside Your Group

​Many thanks to Pearson who figured out how to enable additional sharing permissions in Office 365 Groups! This exciting development means that you can now share files in your Groups with external users (i.e. people without an NCPA account). ​When sharing, simply choose the “Anyone” option (and uncheck the “Allow editing” box if you don’t want them to change it). The resulting link will be accessible to people outside NCPA.

OneNote Class Notebooks in Ten Steps

The English and Chinese departments and MS STEM have been using OneNote Class Notebook distribute files and give students feedback. If you want to set up your own, it’s easy! Follow these steps:

  1. In Canvas, go to Class Notebook
  2. Follow the prompts to log in and set up your first class. You’ll get a chance to add any co-teachers or TAs. Make sure you choose the option
  3. Ask students to go to Canvas and click on Class Notebook, they will be added to your notebook and you will see a new section with their name appear in your notebook.
  4. Keep documents that student can read but not edit in the Content Library.
  5. Keep documents that everyone can edit in the Collaboration Space.
  6. Ask students to keep private work in their personal section. You can still read and edit anything they put there, but other students can’t.
  7. Collaborating with another teacher? Go to Class Notebook > Manage Notebooks, find your notebook in the list, and then click Enable Teacher-Only section group. This will create a section that only you, and other invited teachers, can see.
  8. To invite other students or teachers, use Class Notebook > Add/Remove Students or Add/Remove Teachers. Do NOT use the “Share” button.
  9. You can copy a page or section to all students’ private sections in the notebook! Use Class Notebook > Distribute Page or Distribute New Section.