Category Archives: Education News

Education Industry News from Tony Phillips

How to create topic notebooks in OneNote

OneNote can be used to create and organise digital learning content for students – that can be shared in a centralised area. Teachers can create a mini-website/digital topic notebook for each topic that can then be shared via a link or in Teams.

Important: This is not a tutorial on creating Class Notebooks. For more information about Class Notebooks see this guide.

Example of a topic book in OneNote

In this guide, learn how to: 

  • Create a new OneNote file. 
  • Add and edit pages and sections. 
  • Edit the colour coding of your OneNote. 
  • Break sections into subsections.  
  • Add and format text in OneNote. 
  • Insert images, tables, links and other resources to a OneNote page.  
  • Change the appearance of a OneNote file.  


Create a new OneNote file.

  1. Head to the student resource folder in which you want to create your new OneNote notebook. 
  2. Select New and then OneNote Notebook. Select New and then OneNoteNotebook to create a new OneNote in a student resource file.
  3. Add a name for your new OneNote notebook and select Create.

Note: You can edit your OneNote in the browser view, but some features may not be supported. Access the full range of features by selecting Open in the desktop app. 

Open in desktop app

Add and edit sections/pages in OneNote.

A OneNote notebook consists of sections and pages, just like a traditional ring binder folder.

  1. Rename a page/section by right-clicking and selecting Rename Section/Page.
  2. Add a new page by selecting Add Page at the bottom of the page list.
  3. Add a new section by selecting Add Section at the bottom of the page list.

Adding and editing pages and sections in OneNote

Edit the colour coding of your sections in OneNote.

  1. Alter the colour coding on your sections in OneNote; simply right-click the section and select Section colour. 
  2. Choose which colour you wish to set for the section.

Editing the colour coding of your OneNote

Break OneNote sections into subsections.

Sections can be broken down into subsections, which is excellent when you need to split up chunkier topics and make them more digestible for students.

  1. Right-click on Add Section and select New Section Group.Add new section group
  2. Name your new section group.
  3. Add sections into your section group by selecting your section group and Add Section.

Subsections and section groups example in OneNote

Add and format text in OneNote.

  1. Tap the place you want the text on your OneNote page and start typing to add text.
  2. Format the text – change the size, colour, font etc. – with the text toolbox at the top of the screen.

Text formatting in OneNote

Insert images, tables, links and other resources into a OneNote page.

The Insert tab – found on the top navigation bar – allows you to insert a range of resources to a page, including:

  • Tables
  • Pictures
  • Links
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Files
  • And more!

Insert pictures, tables, links and other resources into a OneNote page

Change the appearance of a OneNote file.

The View tab – found on the top navigation bar – allows you to alter the appearance of your OneNote file. From here, you can:

  • Set a page colour.
  • Insert rule lines.
  • Check accessibility.
  • Use the Translate tool.
  • And more!

Change the appearance of your OneNote via the View tab

The final result is a fully interactive, read-only topic book for students to use and revise from. Students can use the colour-coded sections to find the information they need or use the search bar to type in keywords.

Additionally, with our Cloud Box solution, long-term learning resources like this one can be easily shared across departments and even entire schools and trusts and be reused for future academic years.

Book a demo to find out exactly how we can help your school, academy or multi-academy trust today. Give us a call on 01482 688890, or send us a message

 

How to get students more engaged outside of the classroom

Getting students engaged outside of the classroom can be difficult. While most students understand that they must complete homework and assignments for their classes, creating homework assignments that are engaging helps to reinforce learning and development.  

Below, we have some ideas on how you can use some of the tools in Microsoft 365, Teams and SharePoint to create brilliant and effective homework assignments.  

Use the Reading Progress tool. 

The Reading Progress tool in Microsoft Teams is a great way to liven up reading tasks, comprehension and language learning.  

Students can record video or audio of themselves reading a passage and submit it to their teachers for feedback or grading.  

What’s more, Microsoft picks up on any mispronunciations, omissions and repetitions – which is great for saving teacher time when marking.  

Students are also likely to feel more comfortable reading a passage in their own home, rather than aloud in front of their classmates.  

Grading a reading progress assignment in Microsoft Teams

Add audio clips into Class Notebooks and Assignments. 

It’s easy to add audio clips into Class Notebook and we know that some teachers have been using this feature to set learning objectives and instructions for homework tasks.  

Not only does this save the teacher time, but it also injects a bit of life into homework tasks.  

A new feature in Teams allows you to add video instructions directly to Assignments, while students can submit videos of themselves speaking a new language, practising a presentation, reading a passage or playing an instrument. 

Create revision videos that can be used again and again. 

Video is a great way to engage your students outside of the classroom as it’s a lot more engaging than sending over blocks of text and worksheets to revise from.  

You could keep a library of revision videos in SharePoint for your classes to access, or even embed videos into Class Notebook to compliment revision guides.  

As an additional bonus, when it comes to the end of the year, you can reuse the content you’ve created for your new classes – so there’s no duplication in work.

Get creative with whiteboards for assignments. 

A relatively new feature to Assignments, the whiteboard allows you to integrate a virtual board into Assignment tasks.  

You could either assign a previously created whiteboard (i.e. one that you created during a lesson) or add a blank whiteboard with students to work on.  

Another great idea is to create a whiteboard where students fill in the blanks. It gives your class something different to do than work in Word or their Class Notebook.  

Attaching a whiteboard to assignments in Microsoft Teams
Source: Microsoft Tech Community

Test knowledge with quizzes and forms. 

Quizzes and forms can be easily set up in Microsoft 365 and work great in and outside of the classroom.  

One idea is to use a form to quiz your students on their understanding of a previous lesson. Or, you could incorporate a quiz into a reading comprehension task.  

Not only are quizzes and forms more engaging than filling out a Word document, but it also gives you as a teacher an almost instant overview of whether the learning has been understood and what areas you may need to recap during the next lesson.  

onenote quiz

If you would like to learn more about how we can help your school or trust achieve more with Microsoft 365, please contact a member of our team today.

How teachers can save time creating learning resources with Microsoft 365

We know that time is precious when you work in education; whether you’re marking, planning, or delivering a lesson, it can be tricky to find the time to get back to what you love about teaching.  

While we can’t increase the number of hours in your day, we can give you some ideas on saving time when creating learning resources with some essential tools and features in Microsoft 365.   

Centralise resources.   

Create a centralised, long-term resource bank in SharePoint for teaching resources, policies and other documents that can be reused and repurposed every academic year.   

With Microsoft 365, you can create designated areas in SharePoint that only users with the correct permissions can access. For example, only one department, only certain classes or students or only staff members.   

Not only does this save time each year by not having to replicate or reupload resources, but it also means that everyone has access to everything they need to work – whether that’s a student or staff member.  

We provide automation services to create centralised resource areas automatically from your school’s MIS data. Find out more by chatting to a member of our team.  

“Everything we need is in the cloud, so we don’t have to worry about losing paper worksheets. Pupils can also use SharePoint and Teams to download assignment tasks, refresh their memories, take quizzes and be in touch with the teacher in between lessons.” – Whitely Bay High School 

Co-author documents with colleagues.   

Word Documents, PowerPoints, Excel Spreadsheets, and more can be co-authored in real-time with your colleagues.  

Co-authoring is excellent if you need another staff member’s import on a document or if you’ve agreed to share the workload by co-creating learning resources for your department.   

Why spend hours creating a resource from scratch that your colleague has already spent time making?   

Instead, easily and securely share, edit and co-create documents with others in your school, academy or trust.   

Sharing is caring.   

By centralising your resources and co-authoring documents, you can begin to build a powerful library of learning materials that can be shared across an entire department, the whole school or even your trust.   

So, instead of ten teachers creating ten versions of the same document, you can pool together your resources and free up time to spend on other areas, like grading, working with students or professional development (or even just taking a break!). 

“Cloud Box has been transformational in the way we work and create learning content. We are now beginning to create revision resources that can be accessed by our pupils at any time on a connected device. Not only is this brilliant for the students, but also for staff who can dedicate more time to sharpening their message and delivery.” – The Ashcombe School.   

Rollover resources to the next academic year.  

With our Cloud Box solution, there’s no need to start from scratch when a new academic year rolls around.   

Instead, everything – your resources, classes and student information – is cleaned up and rolled over automatically, ready for the start of term.   

We use Microsoft School Data Sync (SDS) to start a rollover and clean-up process, our centralised resource areas allow you to reuse resources year on year, while the Class Dashboard enables students to easily access archived Teams from previous academic years.  

Already have Microsoft School Data Sync? Talk to us about how we can extend this to provide central resource areas, SharePoint intranets, Class Cover tools and much more  

Not set up with Microsoft School Data Sync? We can help you get started and future-proof your Class Teams setup. Contact us for a friendly chat with one of our Education Experts.    

Meet Cloud Design Box at EdTech’s biggest reunion

UPDATE: Bett has moved to Wednesday 23 – Friday 25 March 2022
Cloud Design Box is attending Bett 2022 – which returns to the ExCeL London from Wednesday 23 – Friday 25 March 2022. 

The most prominent international EdTech exhibition is back, and we’re thrilled to be a part of it for another year.  

You can find us at Stand NN42 – next to our partners SalamanderSoft – where you’ll be able to meet our team and talk one-to-one about your blended learning needs as a school or trust.  

We're at Bett 2022 - come down and meet us!

The long-awaited Bett 2022 – dubbed EdTech’s biggest reunion – provides a unique chance for educators to explore innovative product demonstrations, access CPD seminars and network with thousands of people in the education community.  

After months of virtual meetups, it’s going to be fantastic meeting you all in person and showing you all the new and exciting things teachers and schools can achieve with Microsoft Teams and SharePoint.  

We know many people will want to plan their visit ahead of time and avoid queues, so we’ve opened meeting slots for you to book a meeting with us at a time that suits you 

BOOK NOW

A photo of a previous Bett show

On the second day of the show, we’ll also be joining in with the first Bett After Hours – designed for visitors who cannot attend Bett during the school day. Open from 6pm-8pm on Thursday 24 March 2022.  

Bett is the first industry show of the year in the education technology landscape, bringing together 550+ leading exhibitors and sponsors and over 20,000 attendees from the global education community. 

It’s the event to attend for the education community…

And we cannot wait to see you there! 

Bett takes place at the ExCeL London on 23-25 March – Register your place here and reserve a meeting slot with Cloud Design Box here 

 

Add students’ upcoming assignments to your school’s SharePoint home page

We have launched a new SharePoint web part exclusive for Cloud Design Box customers called My Assignments, allowing students to see all their current and upcoming assignments from their SharePoint homepage.  

Your school’s SharePoint homepage should give students a quick overview of what’s going on in the school community, and their classroom.  

Popular features of a school intranet include the latest news, an announcement from the headteacher and maybe even a word of the day/week to get students thinking.

But, a common question we get asked by our customers is Is there a way to show upcoming assignments on the homepage? and thats why we created this new web part.  

Schools can now add My Assignments to their SharePoint’  pages 

SharePoint home page with My Assignments web part showing students upcoming assignments.

The student can see what assignments are coming up, what class theyre for and when theyre due. The ones that are overdue are highlighted in red.  

Whats more, the student can click the assignment and be taken directly to that assignment page in Microsoft Teams.  

My Assignments SharePoint web part showing students upcoming assignments.

The My Assignments web part has been designed to make it easier for students to keep track of assignments and take more ownership of their learning.    



If you’re a Cloud Design Box customer, you can edit your SharePoint home page and add the My Assignments web part to the page. Please get in touch with support if you need assistance with this.  

If youre not a customer but want to find out how we can help your school or trust achieve more with Microsoft 365, get in touch with a member of our team right now 

How To Return Assignments To Students For Additional Changes and Revisions

Microsoft Teams has a new feature, allowing teachers to return assignments to students for additional revisions and changes. This feature is highly anticipated by teachers and solves a key problem that many schools have highlighted to us.

The problem:

Previously, students could go into their assignments and submit work, even when the work is missing or not completed the assignment to the correct level.

The assignment would appear to be “completed” to both parents and teachers until the teacher opened up the document for marking and realised the student hadn’t completed the work.

This presented multiple problems for schools – parents weren’t receiving accurate information in their weekly digests and teachers couldn’t undo the action so it skewed the data in the mark books.

A solution:

Microsoft has now introduced a feature that enables the teacher to reassign the work back to the student.

Here is a walkthrough of how you can reassign work back to your students for revision.





As you can see this student has not completed the assigned work, despite handing it in via Teams.

Microsoft Teams assignments saying No work attached.

Add a comment in the comment section. For example, “You have not submitted any work here and this is not acceptable, please attach your work. If you have any issues with completing the task, please speak to me.”

Comments box and marking area for teachers for assignments in Microsoft Teams

Instead of selecting Return, select the arrow and then click Return for revision to return the work to the student for revision.

A dropdown menu - one option is return, the other is return for revision

Here is what this looks like for the student. The assignment appears back into the Assignments tab and is marked Needs revision.

The student can click through, read your comments and attach their work for hand in.

A student's screen stating that their assignment needs more work

A student's screen with the details and feedback from a teacher

Once the student has handed their work back in, you are able to see that they have as the assignment is marked Turned in again in the Assignments tab.

The teacher's assignments tab in Microsoft Teams

Parents can see this activity with the Parent and Guardian Weekly Digest email sent weekly through Microsoft School Data Sync.

The Teams weekly digest for parents

If you would like to learn more about how we can help your school or trust, please contact a member of our team today.

 

 

 

 

How To Create a Group Assignment in Class Teams

Teams has introduced a new group assignments feature, allowing students to work together and submit one assignment for the whole group. Teachers can then provide feedback and grades to either each individual student within that group or give out an overall grade for the group.   

Below is a walk-through of how you can: 

  • Create a group assignment. 
  • Manually and randomly assign groups for assignments.  
  • Complete a group assignment (as a student). 
  • Grade a group assignment.  


Create a group assignment.  

In Assignments, select Create and then Assignment.  

As with any new assignment in Teams, you can enter a title, instructions, attach any documents the students require, add points and rubrics and set due dates.  

To assign the assignment to a group, go to the Assign to section and this will be currently set to the default All students. Select Group of students from the drop-down menu.  

Group Assignments in Teams 1 - Create a group assignment

You have two options – to manually or randomly assign groups for your assignment.  

Group Assignments in Teams 3 - Manually group students or randomly group students

Manually assign groups for assignments.  

Select Manually group students from the pop-up window and then click Create groups. 

This allows you to filter and manually add specific students to a group. 

You can also add a group name for this group of students.  

Once you’re happy with your first group, click Create. 

Group Assignments in Teams 4 - Manually assign students to a group assignment

You can then choose to add another manual group or randomly assign other groups.  

Tip: There is a countdown of how many students are left to be assigned to a group at the top of the group list.  

Randomly assign groups for assignments. 

Select Randomly assign groups from the pop-up window. 

Enter the number of groups you need and select Create groups 

Group Assignments in Teams 5 - Randomly assign students to a group assignment

You can then go in and add/remove students from groups and change the group names if necessary.  

Editing and deleting assignment groups in Teams.  

If you haven’t already set the assignment, you can edit and delete groups by selecting the pencil icon next to the group you wish to edit.  

From here, you can add or remove members and change the group name. You can also delete the group. 

Want to start over? You can recreate groups by selecting Recreate groups at the bottom of your list of groups.  

Group Assignments in Teams 6 - Recreate groups

Assigning a group assignment in Teams.  

Once you’re happy with your groups, click Done to head back to the main Assignments page and select Assign 

Note: Currently, there is no option to edit groups after an assignment is set. You would need to delete the assignment and reassign all the groups.  

Completing and submitting a group assignment as a student.  

The group project is visible in the students’ general channel – they should receive a notification.  

Group Assignments in Teams 7 - Group Assignment student view

Also, if the student clicks on Assignments, they are able to view the group assessment, see who else is in their group, and open/co-author the document with their classmates.  

Once the group work is complete, one of them can turn in the work on behalf of the whole group by selecting Turn in for group. 

Group Assignments in Teams 9 - Turn in a group assignment

Note: If they have forgotten to add something, students can undo the turn in and add further information, attachments and work. 

Reviewing a group assessment.  

Teachers can see which groups have handed in the assignment by viewing the assignment in the Assignments tab in Teams.  

Group Assignments in Teams 10 - Reviewing group assignments

You can choose to give the group an overall grade or grade students individually by selecting the three dots next to the selected group.  

From here, you can add feedback and give points as you would any other assignment. 

Group Assignments in Teams 11 - Grading group assignments

Click Return to return the work back to students for them to view your feedback or make amends. 

Head to the Grades tab to look at a class overview of who has handed in their group assignments.

Group Assignments in Teams 12 - Class overview of group assignments

If you would like to learn more about how we can help your organisation achieve more with Microsoft, please contact a member of our team today.

Cloud Design Box Awarded Microsoft SDS Advanced Partner

Cloud Design Box has achieved Microsoft SDS Advanced Partner accreditation. Microsoft SDS (School Data Sync) simplifies class management in Microsoft 365, reading class data from your school, academy or trust’s MIS and creating classes and groups for Microsoft Teams.  

The Partner Success Series for Microsoft SDS is a brand new accreditation.  

“We’re thrilled to have been awarded these further accreditations. It means that our clients can have more confidence in our abilities to install and manage SDS, ensuring their Class Teams are created seamlessly and correctly each academic year,” explains Tony Phillips, Founder of Cloud Design Box.  

“SDS is recommended best practice when creating and maintaining Class Teams. Not only does it speed up and automate a previous time-consuming task that often took IT managers and staff the whole of the summer holidays to achieve, but it also allows you to create a rich data set of year groups, subjects, schools and more to create future reports across your entire organisation that support the leadership team all year round.”  

You can read more about Microsoft SDS in this guide

The Cloud Design Box team is continuously improving their skills and knowledge on Microsoft 365 for Education and Business, enrolling in Microsoft’s training programmes and courses. We’re proud to add these latest accreditations to our growing list of certifications that includes Microsoft in Education Global Training Partner, Microsoft Partner and CPD certification.

Want to find out more about how Cloud Design Box can support you with your rollover to a new academic year with Microsoft School Data Sync? Get in touch with a member of our team right now 

In the meantime, check out these guides on SDS:

Improving Communication Across a Multi Academy Trust with Microsoft 365 at PolyMAT

In this podcast episode on Microsoft 365 user adoption, we speak with Mark Guest, Director of Innovation at PolyMAT, a multi academy trust in Thamesmead and the surrounding areas.

Mark discusses how the trust uses SharePoint to improve communication across the schools and created dashboards with Microsoft Power Apps to save teacher time.

PolyMAT is a UK-based MAT made up of Woolwich Polytechnic School for Boys, one of the country’s largest boys’ secondary schools and its sister school Woolwich Polytechnic School for Girls.

Watch the full podcast episode here:



“My job as Director of Innovation has so many facets to it. I focus on how we can make the most of data, systems and technology in our schools to become more efficient and ensure we’re getting value for money,” Mark tells us.

PolyMAT has been working with Cloud Design Box since 2020, and they have created staff collaboration sites in SharePoint for each of the schools, plus the main one for the trust as a whole.

“Each page follows a consistent layout and includes relevant news, a calendar, announcements, Quick Links to things like policies, a class cover manager and information about room changes that are all pulled from SIMS,” Mark explains.

“We’ve also got an area where staff can ask questions and share feedback directly to the trust leadership team.”

The three calendars – one for the boys’ school, the girls’ school and trust are synced using Power Automate so that they always contain the correct, up-to-date information.

Staff can easily send out a quick announcement by filling out a form and selecting a target audience – this allows them to publish the information onto SharePoint and have the option to send an email to the right people.

“We’ve created a Senior Leadership Team (SLT) app that teachers can download to their phones. They’ll receive push notifications if a student is removed from a lesson or SLT is required.”

PolyMAT is also taking advantage of the endless possibilities of Power BI dashboards.

“Our various dashboards can be embedded into SharePoint and save teachers loads of time when they need to access information about their students quickly,” he shows us.

“An example is our Tutor Reports – they show things like attendance and punctuality, as well as the number of students who are off due to self-isolation and therefore need work to be provided while they’re learning from home.”

A specific example of the technology reducing admin time for teachers is gathering information about a particular student:

“A Head of Year may need to know who teachers an individual student. This job would typically take around 10-15 minutes to complete. Now, they simply bring up a student profile and can get the information in a couple of minutes.”

PolyMAT is committed to training and continuous development, always seeking feedback and helping teachers use the tools to save time and get back to teaching.

“Regular training is available, and we’ve got a long term plan to increase efficiency even further. For example, bring all our Power Apps into one place and relocating our resources in centralised document libraries that will get shared across the schools and trust,” he adds.

“As the trust grows and more schools join, we need to make sure that they have the same setup. During the pandemic, we’ve had a massive increase in using Teams and Microsoft 365, but if we don’t have structures in place and a long-term strategy, we won’t be able to sustain that level of usage. So we’re working with Cloud Design Box on a five-year plan to make sure we make the most out of this technology.”

If you would like to learn more about how we can help your school or trust, please contact a member of our team today.