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!
We’ve been asked by some schools facing part and full closure to create a podcast about delivering virtual lessons using Microsoft Teams.
In this podcast, we focus on using Microsoft Teams to provide remote lessons.
Darren Hemming, our Teaching and Learning Consultant, explains how these tools allow some continuation of learning, even if teachers or students are unable to get into school or are remotely located.
How do I create a virtual lesson using Microsoft Teams?
Step one is to start a video call to broadcast and record your lesson. You can do this via the general channel.
The idea is to replicate a lot of the things you would do normally in a real classroom, so don’t be put off by the technology.
Of course, virtual lessons are not the same, but the resources available in Microsoft Teams should help you continue to deliver quality lessons and resources to your class.
Once you start the call, you should mute the students. If you mute the first five that enter the video call, the rest are muted automatically.
That’s one thing you can’t do in a real classroom!
All jokes aside, this allows you to smoothly deliver the first part of the lesson; usually a presentation, demonstration or discussion about a specific topic.
If you have a Powerpoint Presentation, a Word Document or a video you’d like to show to the class, you can do so by sharing your screen as you talk through the content.
Meanwhile, if you have something physical to show your class, you can turn your webcam around to demonstrate. This is great for art teachers, design and technology lessons and science subjects.
How do I record a video lesson?
What’s brilliant about Microsoft Teams is that you can record your video lessons so that students can look back on them for future revision, or perhaps if some students can’t make the lesson at the time of delivery.
All recorded lessons can be stored in Microsoft Teams for both you and your students to rewatch at a later date.
How do my students complete class tasks in Microsoft Teams?
Once you have delivered the lesson, it’s time to get students started on a task or project.
Students can use OneNote to take notes and complete any tasks or questions you assign them.
Teachers can view students’ individual notesdocuments, just as you would if you were walking around the classroom and looking over their shoulders.
If a student is having some issues, or simply not completing the work, you can message them individually to give support and guidance.
Likewise, if a student is struggling on a specific question, they can message the teacher in a private message, away from the eyes of the rest of the class.
However, we have seen a lot of collaboration between students, where someone asks a question to the class via the general channel and their classmates respond and support them with answers and suggestions.
Can I set up different channels or groups for my class?
There are two ways to set up channels in Teams – private and public. But there are endless ways in which you can use them when delivering virtual lessons.
We suggest the following as a starting point:
Private channels are great for dividing the class into groups, where they can receive different levels of support or work together on a specific project.
Meanwhile, public channels are typically used for dividing resources and lessons. For example, you could create a public channel for each topic you teach, and from here students can access key resources, rewatch video lessons and discuss assignment tasks.
How do I deliver a plenary or finish my virtual lesson?
You can finish the virtual lesson by opening up another video call to answer any final questions students may have.
Students’ work can also be presented to the rest of the class by sharing your screen as either individual students, or groups, discuss the work they’ve created.
Remember, if you record your video lessons, these can be stored where students can access them at a later time.
What are the main barriers of virtual lessons?
There is so much you can do with Microsoft Teams to create a quality virtual lesson for your students. But, we do understand that there are some challenges to delivering classes remotely.
One main barrier is ensuring all of your class has access to a connected device, such as a tablet or mobile phone.
A mobile phone isn’t ideal, but it is the most common. With a smartphone, students can still participate and listen to what is happening, but of course, some of the details may be difficult to see on such a small screen.
Training is also a barrier. We’d recommend going through a few practice runs when possible to make sure that everyone knows how to join a call and access Teams from their devices.
Not only is this great for you as a teacher, who may feel uncomfortable by delivering a lesson remotely, but also reinforces the learning for your pupils.
We wish you the best of luck in delivering virtual learning, and if you do have any questions, feel free to get in touch to see how we can help you.
All Class Teams provisioned by Microsoft School Data Sync are now deactivated for students. This means the students can only access the team once the teacher has pressed the activate button.
One huge benefit is that students cannot have conversations in the team until it becomes activated. When hundreds of teams are created for each school every academic year, it’s hard to monitor all of them. With this new setting, teachers only have to monitor the conversations in teams that they have activated.
Prepare Class Teams in Advance
The activation step allows teachers to prepare content in the team before it goes live to students. Prepare your class notebook and assignments in advance before activating it at the start of term.
How to Activate the Team
It’s really simple, just click the “Activate” button shown below and confirm. Students will then have instant access to the team.
If you need help automating Microsoft Teams from MIS data and getting good user adoption in the classroom, contact us at Cloud Design Box.
Guest post by Courtney Farrow with video by Tony Phillips
With 98% of classrooms now using computers, laptops and tablets, it’s safe to say that digital learning is here to stay.
However, many teachers still find themselves chained to their desktop computers, whiteboards and paper notebooks, unable to invest time and energy into making lessons more engaging, diverse and dynamic.
Does this sound familiar?
If so, Digital Ink in Microsoft’s Class Notebook could transform the way you teach.
Combining the traditional hand-written word with the power of digital technology, Digital Ink has improved the quality of the curriculum for 90% of teachers who have used it.
On top of this, schools say that Digital Ink saves time, increases engagement and class management, creates more personalised learning environments where students can get authentic, timely feedback from their teachers.
Today, we’re taking a closer look at some of the proven benefits of Digital Ink in the classroom.
One of the main advantages of Digital Ink is that it saves time, which will probably be music to every teacher’s ears.
In fact, 67% of teachers who used the product said that it saved them precious time when preparing lessons, allowing them to access pre-prepared resources quickly, without having to redraw or re-write everything the class needs to see on a whiteboard.
One teacher explained:
“When I taught geometry and got to the question that nobody in the class understood, I had to stop the lesson and draw on the whiteboard. It took five minutes, and then I had to add labels. Only after all this, could I finally start talking about how to solve it.”
With Digital Ink, any lesson resources can be prepared in advance and reused over and over again, without having to erase and recreate it the next time you cover the topic.
Meanwhile, half of teachers have found that it saves time marking and grading pupils’ work. There will be more detail on student feedback with Digital Ink later in this blog post.
Improve the quality of lessons by unchaining the teacher from their desk
Most teachers who have used Digital Ink have said that it allows them to be anywhere in the classroom – without being tied to the front desk – enabling them to manage the class and engage the students in the work that’s appearing on the smartboard.
Thanks to the connectivity between student and teacher devices, children can be interacting with what is being displayed on the smartboard within seconds.
A more personalised learning environment.
Real-time collaboration between students and their teachers allows learning to continue outside of the classroom.
Around 50% of teachers have said that the technology increases the quality of communications with students.
Authentic and timely student feedback
Because of increased communication in and outside of the classroom, digital ink has transformed the way teachers give feedback to pupils.
You can quickly and easily annotate a piece of work, feeding back to students instantly and supporting them when they need it, rather than days after they need it.
As with all Microsoft Office 365 products, everything is saved automatically and in one place. One key benefit several teachers have pointed out is that Digital Ink lets teachers give feedback during the school day, or even during the actual lesson, rather than waiting until they get home.
In the video below, Cloud Design Box Founder Tony Phillips walks you through some critical uses of Digital Ink in the classroom, including student feedback and annotations, ink-to-text capability and solutions and steps for Math equations.
*All statistics and research mentioned in this blog post was taken from Digital Ink in the Classroom – Authentic, Efficient Student Engagement, an IDC InfoBrief, sponsored by Microsoft. IDC conducted a research study with 685 teachers who are using computers in the classroom to understand their classroom technology usage, and specifically how they are using Digital Inking devices.
Lots of new and exciting features are coming to Microsoft Teams this summer, so get ready for the new academic year in advance and resolve any issues before the students are back.
I’m beginning the process of rolling over the academic year at many schools this month using Microsoft School Data Sync with the Cloud Design Box team. We have come across a few issues along the way. For the administrators out there trying to complete this process on their own, we thought it would be great to share our experience in the form of this video guide taking you through the process.
Before you begin the process, talk to SLT and teachers about the preferred clean-up options.
Expire All Classes
Adds a prefix to the start of the class name in this format: EXPMMYY. If you already prefix your classes with the academic year then there isn’t any reason to run this option.
Archive All Classes (recommended)
Archive makes the Team read-only. Teachers can restore a Team for a class and it will work as it did before. We recommend selecting this option so that teachers don’t have a long list of classes in the new academic year. If you have a course which lasts for two years, teachers can restore the class from the previous year and continue to use it; but it will no longer be updated with live MIS data.
Remove Students from All Classes
This removes students from class notebooks and all student data from assignments. This is non-reversible and therefore we do not recommend this choice.
A few issues to be aware of (which we cover in the video above):
- Some classes will fail to clean-up – you will have to do these manually.
- You may need to refresh the profile page if you get stuck on an error when starting the new term.
- Occasionally a clean-up process may get stuck processing forever. If it lasts longer than 24 hours, log a support call with the Microsoft Education team.
We hope this video helps you out. Please feel free to share your comments, wins and frustrations with the process in the comments below!
Class Notebook has a really nice feature which allows teachers to distribute pages to student sections so that they can work on their own copy of the page. Since we originally looked at this in a previous blog post, Microsoft Teams now supports setting assignments using Class Notebook pages too.
Essentially there are two ways to do the same thing, so which should you choose? We would recommend only using Class Notebook to distribute pages if the work is informal (like class work) and we would recommend setting the assignment through Teams if it’s going to be marked (homework, assignments, etc).
The reason for this is you can collect formal marks and comments in the assignment app that you just can’t do through Class Notebook.
To set an assignment using a Class Notebook page:
Create a new assignment and add the Class Notebook page as a resource. Students will be able to have their own copy of the page that you select.
Select a section to push the page into when the student completes it.
Complete the rest of the assignment form and publish it.
When reviewing student work, you will have the option to annotate the Class Notebook page in addition to adding formal feedback and scores. This gives you the best of both worlds. Simple annotation and feedback on the student work but also a place for formal marks and comments which will become part of an exportable marksheet.
SharePoint, Class Notebook and Teams forms the foundation for curriculum delivery at The Cornerstone Academy Trust.
Hearing stories about how other schools and academies are thriving with Office 365 and SharePoint is a great way to feel inspired.
Our new podcast series focuses on real-life user adoption cases and aims to encourage a community resource for those who are interested in how Microsoft can help you, and your pupils, achieve more.
In our third episode, Tony Phillips, Cloud Design Box Founder and Darren Hemming, our Operations Manager, spoke with Jonathan Bishop, CEO of The Cornerstone Academy Trust.
The headteacher – who has been teaching for the past 25 years – offers some real insight into the way Office 365 and SharePoint can be embraced in and outside of the classroom.
“Office 365, SharePoint and – in particular – Class Notebook, has had a huge impact on our Trust. OneNote totally underpins our lesson planning, teaching and student engagement – before, during and after lessons,” Jonathan enthuses.
“It’s the one fundamental tool in Office 365 that supports our whole curriculum delivery.”
The Cornerstone Academy Trust is a multi-academy trust that currently covers Broadclyst Community Primary School, Westclyst Community Primary School and The Cornerstone Teaching School.
Supporting children from the age of two through to 11, the Trust places technology firmly at the helm of the school ethos.
“We have invested in a number of Surface Pro tablets so that our students can access learning resources from wherever they are in the school or at home,” he tells us.
Jonathan describes one typical use of OneNote in the classroom:
“Teachers write on the whiteboard in digital ink, and this immediately syncs to the pupils’ tablets. This content is then used during smaller, targeted group sessions. And, when they get home, students seamlessly pick up what they were doing during the day, further strengthening their learning.”
All learning resources are available at the child’s fingertips, while teachers can work together and prepare valuable learning materials for students.
“We’ve worked with Cloud Design Box to configure each Class Notebook into different zones: one for teacher content, a collaborative zone for on-going projects and a personal area for each child.”
Permissions and roles can be set with ease for each resource. For example, teacher content is read-only and cannot be edited by pupils, while personal pupil areas can only be accessed by the individual and their teacher.
“Parents can also view the content to see what their children are up to in school, whether this is tracking progress or watching a video of their nursery-aged child learn about butterflies.”
More recently, Cloud Design Box has worked with the Trust to integrate Class Notebook with the communications tool Microsoft Teams.
“Teams has built on the strong system we already had in place. It’s added an extra layer of support to our teaching and learning,” Jonathan reveals.
“The ability to chat about work in targeted groups enhances the learner experience and combines the structure of individual assignments with a collaborative team-driven approach – similar to how adults would in the office.”
In fact, Jonathan is very passionate about how digital tools like SharePoint and Office 365 equip pupils with the skills needed for future employment.
Currently, there is a debate about whether or not we are losing traditional skills, such as handwriting and literacy, but Jonathan argues that tablets and technology are complementing education.
“We don’t think of technology as replacing traditional skills, we think of it as allowing a pupil to gain new, 21st century skills that they’ll use in the workplace.”
Some final takeaways from Jonathan:
- Digital is enhancing the classroom.
- SharePoint is a solid foundation for curriculum delivery.
- Collaboration tools empower students to develop skills for their futures.
We understand that seamless user adoption of Office 365 and SharePoint can prove tricky, with many hurdles to jump before your whole organisation is fully on board.
That’s why we’re creating a series of podcasts focusing on real-life user adoption stories, with schools, academies and businesses just like yours.
The second episode features Tony Phillips, Cloud Design Box Founder, and Gareth Rose, Assistant Headteacher at Notley High School & Braintree Sixth Form.
Gareth’s experience with user adoption in schools is unique as he has already been through the process of rolling out Office 365, Teams, SharePoint and Class Notebook at his former workplace, Dagenham Park Church of England School.
We spoke with Gareth to find out what tools and techniques he is going to reuse when introducing the Microsoft suite to the staff and pupils at Notley High School.
“My first piece of advice is to get people to become champions of the product. Get the RE teacher to understand the value in putting all their class resources online and show the Music teacher how pupils can annotate in OneNote,” Gareth enthuses.
Starting out with small, basic tasks, Gareth got to know the main pain points of departments and the word spread from there.
“You can see the spark in their eyes when you’ve saved them 20 minutes of time using a basic feature of Office 365.”
Give them no choice.
“A very quick win is changing everyone’s home page to the staff or pupil SharePoint. This gets people familiar with the technology and helps them to become comfortable with using it in the future,” Gareth continues.
“Make it so it’s the only way to access some resources, such as the lunchtime duty rota. When people start to see how beneficial it is to have one calendar that is regularly updated, rather than multiple emails with multiple versions, they begin to gain confidence in the system.”
From here, Gareth explains, the word ‘SharePoint’ was being banded around the staffroom and uttered in staff meetings. By getting people to engage with the platform, you can raise their confidence when it comes to moving more activities across to Office 365.
Have an open-door policy.
“Of course, giving people only one choice when accessing certain documents is risky. But, explain to people, if they have any issues, they can come and see you,” he points out.
“At Dagenham Park, I would sit in with teachers on the first few lessons to get them and their pupils properly set up. In a couple of sessions, teachers and students were writing digital notes and recording their voices in French – incredible to see.”
Working with members of staff and pupils in this way also allows you to understand the many ways in which Office 365 and SharePoint can help enhance the teaching and learning experience.
“After this, it’s kind of like a rolling stone,” Gareth highlights.
“I can see a time in the future where all pupils have iPads. We’ve seen schools hand out devices to their students, but without an ecosystem in which they can actually use them in. What we’re building here is an environment where everyone is on board and using the features of Office 365 to their full potential.”
Final, takeaway points from Gareth:
- Create and identify champions of Office 365 and SharePoint.
- Get to know ways in which individuals and departments could benefit from using the suite.
- Change the homepage and make some resources available only on SharePoint.
- Be prepared to offer support and answer any questions people have.
- Design an ecosystem in which people can use Office 365.
If you have any questions about user adoption, or how Office 365 and SharePoint could transform your workspace, school or academy, please get in touch with Cloud Design Box today.
Smooth, frictionless user adoption can be tricky.
You’ve decided that Office 365 and SharePoint is right for you. But, there’s the small matter of convincing the rest of your team and getting everyone in your organisation on board.
We’re creating a series of podcasts focusing on real-life user adoption stories, with schools, academies and businesses just like yours.
Our aim is to share and encourage a community resource that will help others who may be struggling with user adoption.
The first episode of this podcast features Tony Phillips, Cloud Design Box Founder, Darren Hemming, our Operations Manager, and Martin Byford-Rew who is the Head of ICT Services at Thomas Deacon Education Trust.
Martin outlines the key challenges he faced when starting to move across to Office 365 and SharePoint, as well as giving some excellent actionable tips on how to roll out the suite across a school, academy or business.
“Our overall vision has been the same throughout the whole process – to move over to the cloud and get everyone to see the value in Office 365 and SharePoint,” Martin tells us.
“However, achieving this has been challenging and we’re still not 100% of the way there. I hope that my experience will help others avoid some of the pitfalls we have fallen down.”
Based in the East Midlands, Thomas Deacon Education Trust is a small but growing organisation with five schools and around 4,000 students. With experience using an on-premise SharePoint solution for several years in one of these schools, Martin has now begun gradually moving everyone over to the cloud. Here’s how he is achieving this:
1. Start at the top.
“We started user adoption from the very top – the board. This involved a very short, concise training session with board members to show them the basic building blocks of Office 365 and SharePoint,” Martin explains.
From there, the ICT team worked their way down the school structure, introducing the technology to each level of the school.
2. Take small, simple steps.
“It’s all about small, quick wins. Teach the ‘ABC’ steps of Office 365 and what you can do with it, instead of overwhelming people with the vast number of features that may not even be useful for them,” he continues.
Martin accomplished this by organising short, 10-minute sessions where he encouraged staff to log in, create and save a file and then share it with a colleague.
“When people see that they can create a document and not physically press save to save a file to OneDrive, they are willing to learn more. Everyone has a memory of the time when they forgot to press save on a document they’ve been working on.”
3. Know your audience.
“There’s no point in presenting a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist. Get to know how your staff work, get to know what their pain points are and offer a resolution from there,” Martin highlights.
“No matter how much training you give someone, if they don’t need to use a feature, they won’t use it.”
By tailoring your training to individuals or small groups of people with a similar job role, you can really get them to understand how the product can help them save time.
Finally, Martin gives some real-life examples of where he has rolled out Office 365 and SharePoint.
1. Parents evening feedback.
Previously, parents would fill out a paper slip, which would then have to be processed and sorted by admin staff. It was a slow process and many parents would forget to complete the forms.
Now, teachers approach parents with an iPad that has four or five questions on. It’s instant feedback and doesn’t require as much time from the admin team.
2. Friday quizzes.
A similar example of how Office 365 and SharePoint has transformed pupils’ learning experiences is with end-of-the-week quizzes.
Again, this was once a paper-based exercise that was time-consuming and unengaging.
Students now answer questions on an iPad or other device and can see their results straight away, as well as compare their progress to their fellow classmates. It gives them an opportunity to take control of their own learning, as well as providing the teacher with insight into how well their class understood the lesson.
Final, takeaway points from Martin on user adoption:
- Keep training short and concise.
- Leadership first and work down.
- Start simple.
- Solve problems.
- Tailor for audience.
- Transformation takes time.
It’s the update that schools have been waiting for. Today Microsoft announced parental access to Microsoft Teams assignments through a regular email digest. This update enables the school to emphasise the importance of homework and provide parents with all the information they need to fully support their children at home.
Below is a preview (real experience may differ) and details are still being released on how this will work
I expect that the teacher will need to enable this option in each class (so that parents don’t get empty updates or lack of content).
School Data Sync (SDS) will now support student contacts as a new CSV upload file. If you manage SDS yourself, this means there will be a new CSV to create and upload. Third party SDS sync providers will soon be able to support this. Parental contacts are optional so no need to rush and upload these. It might be worth waiting a few months to test this before rolling out to all classes and parents (it will give Microsoft time to fix any bugs) and it will give the school chance to cleanse parental data in the school MIS.
Update 26/02/2019: we are just waiting for Microsoft to complete the roll-out of this feature which should be in the next few weeks
Update 01/11/2019: This is finally live – sync your guardians using school data sync.
You can find out more about how we can enhance Office 365 so that it’s really easy for teachers and students to navigate and use. We also focus on user adoption by providing training needs analysis, onsite training workshops and tailored roll-out plans to increase user engagement and get your school off to a flying start. Visit the Cloud Design Box website to find out more.