Author Archives: Tony Phillips

A Huge Welcome for Our New Support Technicians

We’ve recently welcomed two new starters to the Cloud Design Box team.

Since March, we have been operating fully remotely, supporting our existing clients, as well as other schools, multi-academy trusts and businesses who need a helping hand transitioning to the cloud.

This increase in demand for remote learning, blended teaching and cloud-based resources has meant a need for us to expand our Support Team.

Abdallah and Steve are our new Support Technicians and will be working to respond and resolve your support tickets.

Abdallah

Abdallah has a passion for learning new technology and, as a good Samaritan, he regularly enjoys supporting deaf individuals at his local youth centre.

“I am excited to work with Cloud Design Box, it’s a great opportunity for me to learn how to build and support this amazing technology,” he says.

“In my previous job, I was a user of SharePoint and it’s simply amazing. Everything you need is in one centralised area and document collaboration makes it a lot easier to create and store files.”

Prior to joining the Cloud Design Box Team, Abdallah worked as an IT Support Analyst for a national care company. He was responsible for supporting thousands of staff across the company.

Abdallah decided to take a break from IT to try and figure out which career path he wanted to take. To his surprise, Cloud Design Box got in touch and we both quickly realised he was perfect for the role.

“The team is fantastic. We’re a small team, but it just goes to show, it’s not about the quantity, but the quality of people,” he adds.

Steve

Steve Hill is also thrilled to jump on board to support schools, academies, multi-academy trusts and businesses.

“I worked in IT support within both education and business for around 20 years,” he says.

“I’m mostly looking forward to learning new things with Microsoft 365, SharePoint and Teams.”

Steve started his career in education in 1999 and moved across to business IT support eight years ago. He’s now supporting both the education and business sector in his role at Cloud Design Box.

Welcoming new members of the team during a pandemic has been challenging, but with the help of Microsoft Teams and SharePoint, we are able to stay connected while working remotely.

Cloud Design Box Team

You can find more about our growing team at www.clouddesignbox.co.uk/about.

Policy Acknowledgement Receipt using Microsoft Forms

It’s important to keep track and evidence who has read policy documents in any organisation or school.

Below, we have created a video on how you can quickly and easily create a policy acknowledgement receipt using Microsoft Forms.



Class Team Cheat Sheet for Teachers

Are you new to Teams or not quite sure about the right places to do things?

We have created a simple overview below for some of your key educator actions!

Class Teams Cheat Sheet

1. Posts

Have group discussions, video calls and praise students. Great for communicating with your class.

2. Files

Individual student work folders for any work that requires constant feedback between student and teacher throughout the academic year (e.g. class work or coursework).

3. Class Notebook

A student exercise book. Each student has their own section and can create pages with content (just like a real-life exercise book). The teacher can see all students section and can virtually stick their head over the student’s shoulder to see what they have written in their exercise book. There is also a content library for the teacher to add notes.

4. Assignments

Set assessed work, hand out work to students, collect submissions and mark.

5. Grades

This is a grade book linked to the assignments. See all the assignments set throughout an academic year or all the assignments set for an individual student throughout the academic year.

6. Long term resources

Access long term student facing resources in your centralised resource bank. Saves time by not having to upload your resources into each class that you teach and share resources with your department. Department heads can check on the quality of these centralised resources.

7. Insights (optional – add as tab)

Measure student engagement with statistics.

8. Breakout Groups (optional – add as channels)

Create breakout groups so students can work together on projects. These can be private channels on visible by the students added or open to the whole class.

Additional functionality

Please note that the student folders and long term resource tab is a feature provided by Cloud Design Box to help save teachers time and make it easier to work in Class Teams automated from MIS (SIS) data. You can contact us here.

Free Online Event for Educators from Microsoft Global Training Partners Cloud Design Box

Book Your Place on our Free Training Sessions for SharePoint and Microsoft Teams

Cloud Design Box Announced as Microsoft Global Training Partners

We’re thrilled to announce that Cloud Design Box is a Microsoft Global Training Partner and CPD Certified.

Microsoft Global Training PartnerCPD certified

To celebrate, we are offering three, free workshops for schools and multi-academy trusts on using SharePoint and Microsoft Teams to enrich learning.

Being named as a Microsoft Global Training Partner is a huge achievement for us – Microsoft chooses companies who share its mission in enabling educators to embrace the power of technology and empower every student to achieve more.

To attain this certification, the team has worked with Microsoft and undergone the official Microsoft Training Programme, learning how to further support schools and helping them to leverage technology.

Cloud Design Box now appears on the Education Training Providers area of the Microsoft website and can deliver services and training on Microsoft’s behalf.

CPD Certified Courses

Meanwhile, we’re equally pleased to be CPD certified. This certification helps us continue to deliver quality and trusted training resources to educators around the world.

Any teachers attending our training courses at school will get a CPD certificate afterwards.

Free Global Training Event 18th June 2020

On Thursday 18 June, we’re offering three free virtual workshops for schools, focusing on SharePoint and Microsoft Teams.

The first workshop takes place at 10am and centres around setting up assignments using Microsoft Teams. Lloyd and Darren will walk you through how to set assignments to your class members, use rubrics and mark work.

Free workshop setting assignments in Teams

After a short break for lunch, we’ll return at 1pm with a session on using SharePoint to organise long-term resources.

Our team will show you the power of centralising your long-term class resources that can be stored, shared, co-authored and added to every year.

Free workshop using sharepoint for centralising resources

Finally, at 4pm, we’ll round off the day with a workshop on getting started with Microsoft Class Teams.

Many teachers have been using Teams to connect with their classes over the past few months. We’ll be showing you how to extend this further and get the most out of the platform with conversations, assignments and online lessons.

Free workshop getting started with Microsoft Class Teams

All workshops will be hosted via Microsoft Teams because we’re passionate about using the products we work with and sell.
To register your interest for any of the workshops, please fill out this form.

Archived Class Teams – Where have they gone?

During the academic year rollover process in Microsoft School Data Sync, schools can choose clean-up actions for their old class teams. The most popular and recommended clean-up action is “Archive”. It’s much easier for teachers and students to see current teams when they login.

The archived teams appear to vanish leaving the user with all the current classes for the new academic year.

However, they have not disappeared, and the teacher/student can still access the team in read-only mode.

In the video below, Darren Hemming from Cloud Design Box shows you how you can access archived classes from previous academic years.



Cloud Design Box customers can benefit from an option in class dashboard to switch back to a previous academic year.

Class Dashboard Archived Teams

Talk to the team at Cloud Design Box if you need help with Teams for education.

Insights and Analytics in Class Teams

In this video guide, we take you through adding the insights tab to Class Teams and how to use it to track student usage, assessment trends, digital activity and much more.



You can find out more information on Cloud Design Box and how we can help your school get the most out of Microsoft Teams on our website.

Office 365 User Adoption Episode 11: Supporting Students with SEN and EAL with Office 365

In this podcast, we spoke with James Emmet, Network Manager at Engineering UTC North Lincolnshire about how they use features in Office 365 to support students with Special Education Needs (SEN) and English as an Additional Language (EAL).




Listen on Spotify

“We have a high number of students who are EAL, SEN, dyslexic and have low reading ages. I passionately believe that – when used in the right way – ICT is one of the most crucial tools to help these students with their learning,” James tells us.

“Our school’s main intake starts from Year 9, so it’s not long after they start before, we have to start prepping them for their GCSEs. Office 365 and key tools like Immersive Reader are essential for helping these students to learn.”

Immersive Reader is a free tool built into many of the Microsoft Products, including Microsoft Word.

“Using Immersive Reader, students can change the style and appearance of the text to help with reading comprehension,” James explains.

“For example, you can change the font, text size, text spacing and even create a virtual coloured overlay.”

Meanwhile, Picture Dictionary, the Translate tool and Read Aloud are particularly handy for supporting EAL students.

Picture Dictionary allows students to select a word they may not understand and view an explainer image, while Read Aloud turns the text on the page into speech for the student to listen to.

Both of these, combined with the Translate tool, are invaluable when it comes to improving reading comprehension in the classroom.

“We have found that Immersive Reader is being used by all of our students, not only those with EAL and SEN. In fact, one of our GCSE students who is predicted a level 7 in English regularly uses Immersive Reader to break down texts and closely analyse them,” James adds.

Immersive Reader also enables students to highlight word types, such as nouns and verbs, as well as break sentences down into syllables, which both students and their teachers have found useful for English and language-focused subjects.

“Because Immersive Reader is already built into many of the Microsoft products, we have not had to spend any extra time rolling it out into classrooms,” he tells us.

“It’s really taken off in our school. For example, we demonstrated the tool to one student and by the next lesson, the rest of their class were using it.”

The great thing about Office 365 and Immersive Reader is that it works on any connected device. Of course, this capability is more important than ever before as we see many children learning from home.

“We love the fact that Office 365 can be accessed via multiple devices and actively encourage our students to use their own devices or one from our bank of iPads. It gives their learning an extra boost.”

To find out more about Office 365 for Education, get in touch with a member of our team today.

An Update From the Cloud Design Box Team on Covid-19

In light of the recent Covid-19 outbreak, we’ve put together a short article on the free resources we’ve been working hard to create and share with you.

Like many businesses, we’re now operating fully remotely and still available to support our existing clients, as well as any other schools, multi-academy trusts and businesses who need a helping hand during this difficult time.

Before the pandemic, part of our team already worked from home, so we have been privileged enough to be able to make the smooth transition to remote working.

We’re also very lucky in the sense that the tools we specialise in – Microsoft Teams, Office 365 and SharePoint – are built for collaboration and keeping people connected.

While we already used these tools in our day-to-day business, they have become even more invaluable in driving collaboration and allowing us to stay connected as a team. Here’s a screenshot of one of our recent Teams calls.

Cloud Design Box Meeting

As you may have seen if you follow us on social media, or have signed up to our newsletter, we have been publishing free resources to help you create virtual lessons, access remote learning and use Teams to stay connected with your class.

We’ve recently published a guide for teachers on presenting remote lessons using Teams.


blog post

On top of this, our Student and Parent Guide to Teams is a great one to share with your class if any families are struggling to get to grips with homeschooling.


another blog guide

And, as always, we’re keeping up with our regular podcast, which offers insights into all the tools Office 365 for Education offers. You can access all episodes via our YouTube channel.

Meanwhile, for the IT teams in schools, we have a blog on useful PowerShell Scripts for managing classes in Teams, as well as a free training Web Part and Teams tab package to guide you through using Teams, SharePoint and Office 365.

free web part and teams tab package

As you can imagine, we’ve been working with lots of schools to ensure their transition to remote teaching is as frictionless as possible. If you have been in touch with us recently, we really appreciate your patience when it comes to resolving issues and providing support. It’s an extremely busy time for us and we wish to continue to support you all in the best possible way.

If you do have any questions, or would like some guidance on using Office 365, SharePoint and Microsoft Teams for your school, multi-academy trust or business, please feel free to get in touch.

Teacher Guide to Presenting Remote Lessons using Microsoft Teams

In this video and guide we show you the best way to start an online lesson in Microsoft Teams. Follow the tips below if you want to control presenters and have more control over the video conference.



Tip 1 – Create your lesson in the calendar view

Creating your lesson in the calendar rather than directly from your class team channel gives you a number of benefits including:

  • Sends out an email invitation to all students
  • If students accept the invitation it will add it to their own personal outlook calendar providing structure to their day.
  • You can stop students from being presenters (and some of the disruption they could cause)

When creating the calendar invite, there is no need to add the students individually, you just need to select the class as shown below.

Schedule Lesson

Tip 2 – Stop students presenting

By default, students are also presenters which means they can share their screens and kick others out of the meeting. This may disrupt the lesson, but you can change this setting!

Save the calendar meeting and wait for it to finish setting up (it becomes bold in the calendar view).

lesson entry

Once you go back into the calendar item, you will see there are additional menu items for controlling the meeting options.

Meeting options

Select “Meeting options” and then change the presenter to “Only Me” and press “Save”.

Presenter options

Tip 3 – Mute microphones

The first 4 students who join the meeting will have their mics unmuted, use the “Mute all” button at any point during the lesson.

Mute all

Tip 4 – Share screens

Use the share button to share your screen or present an application or file.

Share screen

Tip 5 – Mention that the lesson is about to start

Mentioning the class will send them an instant notification in teams. Use it to notify them that the lesson is about to start.

Mention

Tip 6 – Record the lesson

Some students may not be able to make it to your lesson in time. Ensure no one misses out and that they can use it for revision purposes by recording the meeting.

record lesson meeting

We hope you find these tips useful. Good luck with your online lessons!

Student and Parent Guide to Microsoft Teams

We have made a quick video guide for students and parents about using Microsoft Teams from home during this time of remote learning. We hope you find it useful!