Author Archives: Courtney Farrow

Why Should Your School or Trust Use Microsoft School Data Sync? 

When considering Teams for your school, there are several different approaches, you can create your own Class Teams manually, use a PowerShell script or take advantage of Microsoft’s School Data Sync.  

Below, we have rounded up the pros and cons of each method so you can decide which is best for your school, academy or multi-academy trust.  

Create your own classes manually. 

Teachers can create their own Class Teams and manually add or remove students as and when they join or leave the school. 

However, this process is very time consuming and needs to be repeated every new school year, with the teacher also responsible for keeping track of new students and those that may leave the school.  

This is more suited to primary schools or smaller schools where there aren’t that many classes to create and maintain.  

Pros: 

  • Teachers can quickly create and maintain their own Class Teams. 
  • No additional coding or script is needed.  

Cons: 

  • It’s time-consuming. 
  • Whole school reporting is limited. 
  • No standardisation across Teams. 
  • No parental engagement tools. 
  • Manual archiving rollover process each academic year. 

Use a PowerShell script. 

A PowerShell script can be generated to create your Class Team as a one-off or ongoing link via your school’s MIS. This creates the classes and keeps them updated, however, there are limits to using PowerShell, such as some functionality that is provided by Microsoft School Data Sync.  

Pros:  

  • Less time consuming than manually creating your Class Teams.  

Cons: 

  • Limited functionality when it comes to whole school reports.  
  • Some features provided by Microsoft School Data Sync are not available with PowerShell. 
  • Scripts required to archive classes and roll over the academic year. 
  • No parental engagement tools.  

 

Use Microsoft School Data Sync.

Microsoft School Data Sync (SDS) is recommended best practice when creating and maintaining Class Teams. 

Not only are there several APIs and third-party products to help you automate a lot of the process, but there are many added benefits to using SDS.   

Firstly, you’re able to include additional information to your data set, including grades (year groups), courses (subjects), schools and more, which enables you to report on insights across the entire school. These reports help your leadership team improve user adoption and provide support where needed.  

At the end of each academic year, there is a clear rollover and clean-up process, automatically linking up with your MIS and allowing all students and staff  (new and continuing) access to everything they need while removing permissions of school leavers and former members of staff.   

Another useful feature is the parental engagement tools – SDS uploads guardian information to automate weekly email digests of work set through Teams for their children.  

Microsoft is continually working on new features to support the ever-changing landscape of education and blended learning. In fact, it’s going to be rolled up into a bigger Microsoft Data Sync model, so you may see a name change shortly, but the data strategy will still be as powerful, if not more.  

Pros: 

  • Automated creation of Class Teams linked to MIS. 
  • Automated roundup sent to parents/guardians of their child’s work. 
  • In-depth school/trust-wide reports that enable you to provide better leadership, training and support to your students and staff.  
  • Easy-to-use rollover process – no manual set up each academic year.  

Cons: 

  • Third-party products may be required to set up a live link with School MIS because doing it manually with CSVs can be time-consuming. 

Microsoft School Data Sync is best suited to schools, academies and multi-academy trusts that wish to save teacher time, achieve more with their data and support students in a blended learning approach.  

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.  

How To Share Pages From Non-Class Notebooks to a Student’s Class Notebook in Teams and OneNote 

In this guide, we show you how to distribute a page from a non Class Notebook to a students’ Class Notebook within a Class Team.  

Here we have a Notebook that has been stored within an English resources folder on SharePoint. Within the Notebook, there’s a worksheet that we need to distribute to the Year 7 English students’ Class Notebooks. 

Select Class Notebook.  

Note: If this button is not visible, select Open in Desktop App from the top navigation bar. If the button still isn’t visible, it needs to be activated via the three-dot (…) menu and Settings in the top-right corner of the screen. 

Once you have selected Class Notebook, select Distribute page to bring up a number of options. 

Open Notebook Distribution

Choose Cross Notebook Distribution to bring up all the Notebooks of the classes you teach.  

From here, you can select the Notebooks you wish to share it to. E.g. “English Year 11” 

Select Student Section

You must then select a student section in the selected Notebook to share the Notebook to. E.g. “Homework”. This action distributes the worksheet from your Non-Class Notebook to your selected students’ Notebooks. In this case, “English Year 11”.   

How To Share Pages From Non-Class Notebooks to a Student’s Class Notebook in Teams and OneNote

Head to your selected Class Team to check whether it has been shared to the Class Notebooks. As you can see, the worksheet is now in the students’ Notebooks. 

Watch a step-by-step guide on how to lock your collaboration space in Class Teams: 

If you have any questions on how to share pages from non-Class Notebooks to a student’s Class Notebook, please contact a member of our team today.



How To Turn Off The Chat Feature in Class Teams

The chat feature in Microsoft Teams is a useful tool that allows students to communicate with their teachers and peers during online lessons. However, there may be times where the chat feature isn’t necessary and is causing distractions during lesson time.

Similar to the mute feature on Teams, this can easily be controlled and turned off, enabling you to teach without any interruptions. 

There are two simple ways to turn off the chat function, this can be done before or during your online lesson:

Disable chat function in Class Teams before your lesson.

You can disable the chat function before your lesson starts through Meeting options. This can be accessed on the calendar entry for your meeting.

Meeting options is found under Details on the calendar entry. 

Disable chat function in Class Teams before your lesson.

When the Meeting options menu appears, you can disable the meeting chat, along with other options for your meeting, such as who can present and allowing your students to un-mute themselves. 

To turn off the chat feature, change the Allow meeting chat option from enabled to disabled. Make sure to click Save after – this disables the chat function and activates any other changes you’ve made. 

Turn off chat function in Class Teams before your lesson.

Your students are made aware that the chat function isn’t available in the chat window when the lesson starts. 

Turn off chat function in Class Teams before your lesson.

Disable chat function in Class Teams during your lesson.

Teachers can also disable the chat function during the lesson. This can be useful when you want to disable the chat during certain parts of your lesson. 

At the top of your screen, there are a few options that allow you to control your meeting. To disable the chat function, you need to select the more actions menu (…).

When the drop-down menu appears, select Meeting options

To turn off the chat feature, change the Allow meeting chat option from enabled to disabled. Make sure to click Save after – this disables the chat function and activates any other changes you’ve made. 

Disable chat function in Class Teams during your lesson.

Enable chat function in Class Teams during your lesson.

At some point during your lesson, you may want to turn on the chat function to allow your students to communicate again. This can be done the same way by selecting Meeting options and enabling Allow meeting chat

Enable chat function in Class Teams during your lesson.

Using Meeting options is a great way to control your lessons and prevent any distractions during lesson time. The simplicity of this process also allows you to quickly change these options during your lessons giving you the freedom to activate and deactivate at any time and allowing students to contribute and communicate at the right times to enhance their learning. 

Enable chat function in Class Teams during your lesson.

Watch our step-by-step video on how to turn off the chat feature in Class Teams:



How To Review and Lock Pages in Class Notebook

Locking a page within Class Notebook is important when marking and assessing work, to prevent the student from editing the document after its deadline. In this guide, we show you how to review students work in Class Notebook and how to lock a page to prevent further editing by a student.  

How to review pages within Class Notebook. 

Open Class Notebook in Teams and select Class Notebook. 

Choose Review student work to open a menu on the right-hand side of the page. Select the Notebook section where the page we need to review is stored.  

How To Review and Lock Pages in Class Notebook

Select the page you wish to review. The names of your students in the selected Class Team appear in alphabetical order. Simply choose the name of the student whose work you wish to review.   

How to review pages within Class Notebook. 

Select Insert to type any notes or add emojis and sticks.  

The Class Notebook is updated in real-time so students can log in and see comments as soon as they’re written.  

How to review pages within Class Notebook. 

How to lock pages within Class Notebook.

Once the assignment has been graded and returned to the student, the Notebook can be edited by the student. Teachers may wish to lock the page so further editing can not be carried out by the student.   

Open Class Notebook in Teams and select Class Notebook. 

Choose Review student work to open a menu on the right-hand side of the page. Select the Notebook section where the page we need to review is stored. E.g. “Homework” 

How to lock pages within Class Notebook.

Choose the page you wish to lock and then select the Page Locking button at the top of the right-hand side menu.  

How to lock pages within Class Notebook.

How to lock pages within Class Notebook.

A tickbox is revealed next to the students’ name. Select either “All students” to lock all student pages, or select individual students to lock specific student pages.  

A padlock appears alongside the students’ name to indicate the page has been locked. Select Apply to lock the page(s). The student can no longer edit the page. 

How to lock pages within Class Notebook. How to lock pages within Class Notebook.

 

How to unlock pages within Class Notebook.

Follow the same process as above, but uncheck the tick box next to the student’s name. Then select Apply to unlock the page(s).  

Note: When a page is locked for a student, teachers have full read and write access to the page.  

Watch a step-by-step guide on how to review and lock pages in Class Notebook:



How To Lock the Collaboration Section in a Class Notebook 

In this guide, we show you how to lock the collaboration section in a Class Notebook.  

The collaboration space in a Class Notebook is where all students can edit the same pages and work together on projects. After using it, teachers may wish to lock the section to prevent students from editing the page, or so that the work can be assessed.  

When you have finished using the collaboration space, select Class Notebook and choose Manage Notebooks. 

How To Lock the Collaboration Section in a Class Notebook 

Switch the Lock Collaboration Space toggle from unlocked to locked.  

How To Lock the Collaboration Section in a Class Notebook 

Teachers are still able to edit the collaboration space when it’s locked, however, students are denied editing rights.  

How To Lock the Collaboration Section in a Class Notebook 

Students are still able to use other areas within their own Class Notebook, such as the Homework and Class Notes tabs.  

There are a few options for what to do with a locked collaboration space:  

Teachers can move the locked collaboration space into the Content Library and distribute the page to their students’ Class NotebooksFor example, as a homework or revision task.   

Alternatively, teachers can use the page as part of an assignment that can then be formally graded. 

How To Lock the Collaboration Section in a Class Notebook 

Once you have finished working in the collaboration space, set it back to unlocked to allow students to join the next time you need to use it.   

How To Lock the Collaboration Section in a Class Notebook 

Watch a step-by-step guide on how to lock your collaboration space in Class Teams. 



If you have any questions on how to lock your collaboration space in Class Teams, please contact a member of our team today.

 

How To Deal With Unwanted Guests In Class Teams Meetings

In this guide, we discuss how we can prevent unwelcome guests from joining our online lessons in Microsoft Teams.  

Enable lobby for all Class Teams meetings in your school. 

Making sure the meeting policy for teachers within this school’s tenancy is set so that the lobby is enabled.  

Firstly, make sure your meeting policy for teachers is set within the school’s tenancy to enable the lobby.  

By default, all attendees enter the session through the lobby, which means you’re able to accept or reject members coming into the session, allowing you to avoid any unwelcome guests attending your session at all. 

Enable lobby for a specific Class Teams meeting. 

If the lobby isn’t automatically enabled for teachers in your school, you can choose to enable the lobby manually on your meetings and classes. 

Once you set up and save your meeting, you can then select Edit.  

How To Stop Unwanted Guests In Your Class Teams Meetings

Select Meeting Options and then set the Who can bypass the lobby? option to Only me.  

Enable Lobby for a specific Classt Teams Meeting

How to spot an unwelcome guest in your Class Teams meeting. 

As students enter the meeting lobby, you can see their names and icons appearing in the Participants panel.  

One sign of a user who isn’t supposed to be in the meeting is they will usually have (Guest) after their name.   

How to spot an unwelcome guest in your Class Teams meeting

However, it’s crucial to bear in mind that some legitimate students may appear to be guests for several reasons. 

Students may share devices with family members and could be joining on other accounts with names you do not recognise. To prevent confusion, you should remind students to sign into their own accounts before joining Teams lessons. By establishing this rule, you can prevent students from missing out on crucial lesson time and learning resources, as well as keep the class safe from unwelcome guests.  

How to remove an unwelcome guest from the Teams desktop app. 

Select the red cross beside the user you suspect is an unwelcome guest and that removes them from the lobby and denies them access to the lesson.  

Note: They can attempt to rejoin, but they’re flagged up in the lobby area with no access to your online lesson. 

Select the green tick beside your students’ names to admit them to the lesson.  

How to remove an unwelcome guest from the Class Teams meeting via desktop app

How to remove an unwelcome guest from the browser version of Teams. 

As students enter the lobby, a notification shows on the navigation bar. 

How to remove an unwelcome guest from the browser version of Teams

While you can admit students from this notification by selecting Accept, we strongly recommend selecting View Lobby to bring up a list of users in the lobby.  

Alternatively, you can also select the View Participants icon on the navigation bar.  

Show participants

When you can view a list of users who are waiting in the lobby and follow the same steps as you would in the desktop app:  

Select the red cross beside the user you suspect is an unwelcome guest, and that removes them from the lobby and denies them access to the lesson. 

Note: They can attempt to rejoin, but they’re flagged in the lobby area with no access to your online lesson. 

Select the green tick beside your students’ names to admit them to the lesson.  

How to view participants in browser version of Teams  

What happens if I accidentally admit an unwelcome guest into my Class Teams meeting? 

Select the three dots (…) next to the unwelcome guest’s name to bring up several options. 

Choose Remove from meeting to kick the unwelcome guest out of the lesson. 

Removing unwanted guest from the meeting

Watch our step-by-step video guide on how to deal with unwanted guests in Class Teams meetings:



If you have any questions on how to deal with unwanted guests in Class Teams meetings, please contact a member of our team today.