Category Archives: Conversations in Teams

Helping Microsoft Teams and SharePoint Work Better for your Teachers, School and MAT – Free Webinars and Training

Arbor MIS is partnering with Cloud Design Box to host three free training sessions specially designed for schools, academies and multi academy trusts who are using, or planning to use, Microsoft Teams to deliver blended learning for their students.



Arbor MIS works with over 1,250 primary, secondary and special schools in the UK, making it one of the fastest-growing MIS communities in the country. Helping staff accomplish more, work collaboratively and stay connected on the cloud, Arbor works closely with the Department of Education and Local Authorities to provide tools that save schools time and money.

We work with Arbor to help our customers enjoy more flexibility to set work, collaborate and share resources for their classes; their technology and data helps us to provide access to Class Teams, Class Notebook and centralised subject Teams through an easy-to-use class dashboard.

We’re thrilled to offer three sessions that will take place on Teams across two days, from Tuesday 24 to Wednesday 25 November.

Planning Long Term User Adoption of Microsoft Teams in Schools and MATs

The first session, taking place at 10am on the Tuesday will centre around helping schools with user adoption and planning for the long-term.


Planning Long Term User Adoption of Microsoft Teams in Schools and MATs

It’s perfect for you if you have already adopted Teams but need a hand getting students and staff on board and using the technology. We’ll discuss ways in which you can get started, as well as how you can develop a long-term plan to make the most out of the suite of tools.

Cloud Design Box hosted this at the Department for Education’s EdTech Festival earlier in 2020 and it went down well with school leaders and MATs who needed a clear plan of action to succeed with the software.

Blended Learning for Primary Schools with Microsoft Teams

Specifically built for Primary Schools, this webinar will provide you with a solid foundation of using Teams to deliver learning in and outside of the classroom, for example, using Class Notebook to host and online lesson and making the most out of the conversation features in Teams. This session will take place at 3pm on Tuesday 24 November.


Blended Learning for Primary Schools with Microsoft Teams

Centralising Resources and Reducing Teacher Workload using Microsoft Teams

We know this year has been tough on teachers, who have had to quickly increase their workload to provide digital and online resources for their classes.


Centralising Resources and Reducing Teacher Workload using Microsoft Teams

Tuesday afternoon’s session has been developed with overworked teachers in mind, who are struggling with Teams. We’ll show you some time-saving ways that you can centralise and improve your resources with Teams. This session will take place at 1pm on Wednesday 25 November.


All our webinars are open to anyone working within a school, academy or multi-academy trust. To sign up for any of the sessions, please fill out this form with your details and you’ll be send an email invite to join us in November.

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.

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.

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!



Useful PowerShell Scripts for Managing Classes in Microsoft Teams

So, you have school data sync setup and all of your class teams have been generated in Microsoft Teams. Teachers are eager to start using it for extending the classroom or remote learning. Teachers then realise that students can do things that they were not aware of and request for some rights to be restricted.

Here is a list of useful PowerShell scripts to help you manage some of the most common issues that schools face.

  • – Allow teachers to delete student messages
  • – Stop students emailing the class group
  • – Disable chat for students
  • – Calling and Live Event Policies

Allow teachers to delete student messages

It’s surprising that this is not enabled as standard. Owners in class teams cannot delete member messages unless a custom message policy is set.

Create a messaging policy in the Teams Admin centre

Create a new messaging policy and select “Owners can delete sent messages”

Create custom message policy in Teams
Owners can delete messages
Apply Custom Message Policy using PowerShell
 

This needs to be run as a global admin. The variables at the top of the script should be changed to the AAD (or synced AD) group that you want to apply the messaging policy to and the message policy name.

#Variables to change - add the AAD group and custom message policy name here
$ADSecurityGroupNameToApplyPolicyTo="All Teachers"
$customMessagePolicyName="CustomTeacherMessagingPolicy1"

# Install AzureAD PowerShell if you don't already have it - commented out below
# install-module azuread

#Import modules if you haven't already
Import-Module SkypeOnlineConnector
Import-Module AzureAD

#Connect to Skype and Azure AD
$userCredential = Get-Credential
$sfbSession = New-CsOnlineSession -Credential $userCredential
Import-PSSession $sfbSession
Connect-AzureAD -Credential $userCredential

$GroupUsers = Get-AzureADGroup -ALL $true -Filter "DisplayName eq '$ADSecurityGroupNameToApplyPolicyTo'" | Get-AzureADGroupMember -ALL $true | select mail
 
foreach ($GroupUser in $GroupUsers)
{
	$userEmail=$GroupUser.Mail
	write-host "Processing $userEmail"
	Grant-CsTeamsMessagingPolicy -PolicyName "$customMessagePolicyName" -Identity "$userEmail"
}

Stop students emailing the class group

Once a student receives a welcome message into a group, they may reply back to it or find it in the address list and start a large group email.

In the script below connect to Microsoft Exchange PowerShell. You should update the variables with an AD security group for students to apply the policy to. To ensure you only apply this to the relevant teams, use the wildcard search to filter them. In this example we are assuming teams have been named in a format of SchoolCode-AcademicYear-ClassName so we can set the wildcard to only apply this setting to Teams starting with SCH-2019.

######Replace the following variables if necessary##########
$studentADSecurityGroup ="All Students"   #AD Group for all students
$wildcardsearch="SCH-2019*"                #Wildcard for Teams display name - Search for Teams beginning with ....  
###########################################################

$MyCredential = Get-Credential
$Session = New-PSSession -ConfigurationName Microsoft.Exchange -ConnectionUri https://outlook.office365.com/powershell-liveid/ -Credential $MyCredential -Authentication Basic -AllowRedirection
Import-PSSession $Session -AllowClobber
$groups = Get-UnifiedGroup -ResultSize 20000 -SortBy DisplayName -Identity "$wildcardsearch" | Select DisplayName,WhenCreated,Id
 
foreach ($group in $groups)
{
    $teamName = $group.DisplayName
    Write-Host "restricting group emails on $teamName for $studentADSecurityGroup"
    Set-UnifiedGroup -Identity "$teamName" -RejectMessagesFromSendersOrMembers "$studentADSecurityGroup"
}

Disable chat for students

Teams is a safe environment for students to chat, chats can be audited and monitored more closely than if they where to use WhatsApp or snapchat outside of the school systems. However, there are some situations where it might require turning off for safeguarding reasons.

Create message policy in Teams admin centre
Teams message policy

Click “Add” to create a new message policy and turn off the chat setting.

Turn off chat for students


Apply Custom Message Policy using PowerShell

This needs to be run as a global admin. The variables at the top of the script should be changed to the AAD (or synced AD) group that you want to apply the messaging policy to and the message policy name.

#Variables to change - add the AAD group and custom message policy name here
$ADSecurityGroupNameToApplyPolicyTo="All Students"
$customMessagePolicyName="CustomStudentMessagingPolicy1"

# Install AzureAD PowerShell if you don't already have it - commented out below
# install-module azuread

#Import modules if you haven't already
Import-Module SkypeOnlineConnector
Import-Module AzureAD

#Connect to Skype and Azure AD
$userCredential = Get-Credential
$sfbSession = New-CsOnlineSession -Credential $userCredential
Import-PSSession $sfbSession
Connect-AzureAD -Credential $userCredential

$GroupUsers = Get-AzureADGroup -ALL $true -Filter "DisplayName eq '$ADSecurityGroupNameToApplyPolicyTo'" | Get-AzureADGroupMember -ALL $true | select mail
 
foreach ($GroupUser in $GroupUsers)
{
	$userEmail=$GroupUser.Mail
	write-host "Processing $userEmail"
	Grant-CsTeamsMessagingPolicy -PolicyName "$customMessagePolicyName" -Identity "$userEmail"
}

Calling Policies

Calling policies can be used to configure what can and can’t be done by users when calling on Teams. An example of this might be for preventing students from calling on Teams.

Calling policies can be found under Voice as shown below:

Calling Policies

These are the settings that can be applied:

Teams Calling Policy for Students

This is how we apply a calling policy:

#Variables to change - add the AAD group and custom message policy name here
$ADSecurityGroupNameToApplyPolicyTo="All Students"
$customMessagePolicyName="CallingPolicyForStudents"

# Install AzureAD PowerShell if you don't already have it - commented out below
# install-module azuread

#Import modules if you haven't already
Import-Module SkypeOnlineConnector
Import-Module AzureAD

#Connect to Skype and Azure AD
$userCredential = Get-Credential
$sfbSession = New-CsOnlineSession -Credential $userCredential
Import-PSSession $sfbSession
Connect-AzureAD -Credential $userCredential

$GroupUsers = Get-AzureADGroup -ALL $true -Filter "DisplayName eq '$ADSecurityGroupNameToApplyPolicyTo'" | Get-AzureADGroupMember -ALL $true | select mail
 
foreach ($GroupUser in $GroupUsers)
{
	$userEmail=$GroupUser.Mail
	write-host "Processing $userEmail"
	Grant-CsTeamsCallingPolicy -Identity "$userEmail" -PolicyName "$customMessagePolicyName"
}

Live Event Policies

Live Event policies might be used restricting who can attend or record them live events.

Live event policies can be found under Meetings as shown below:

Live Event Policies

These are the options when setting up a Live Events policy.

Teams Live Event Policy for Teachers

This is how we apply a Live Event policy:

#Variables to change - add the AAD group and custom message policy name here
$ADSecurityGroupNameToApplyPolicyTo="All Students"
$customMessagePolicyName="LiveEventPolicyForStudents"

# Install AzureAD PowerShell if you don't already have it - commented out below
# install-module azuread

#Import modules if you haven't already
Import-Module SkypeOnlineConnector
Import-Module AzureAD

#Connect to Skype and Azure AD
$userCredential = Get-Credential
$sfbSession = New-CsOnlineSession -Credential $userCredential
Import-PSSession $sfbSession
Connect-AzureAD -Credential $userCredential

$GroupUsers = Get-AzureADGroup -ALL $true -Filter "DisplayName eq '$ADSecurityGroupNameToApplyPolicyTo'" | Get-AzureADGroupMember -ALL $true | select mail
 
foreach ($GroupUser in $GroupUsers)
{
	$userEmail=$GroupUser.Mail
	write-host "Processing $userEmail"
	Grant-CsTeamsMeetingBroadcastPolicy -Identity "$userEmail" -PolicyName "$customMessagePolicyName"
}

Office 365 User Adoption Podcast Episode 10 – Virtual Lessons using Microsoft Teams

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.

Lesson Recording in Microsoft Steam

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.

Office 365 User Adoption Episode 8: School Leadership with Microsoft Teams

We’ve spoken a lot on this blog and in our podcast about how Microsoft Teams and SharePoint transforms the classroom, from sharing class resources with pupils to improving student engagement with Digital Ink and Class Notebook.

However, there are also many opportunities to use these tools to drive School Leadership Teams.

We spoke with Gareth Rose, Assistant Headteacher of Notley High School & Braintree Sixth Form to see how their School Leadership Teams, Heads of Faculty and Subject Leaders use Microsoft Teams and SharePoint.



“SharePoint is a brilliant tool for sharing files. And, while it has a lot of collaboration tools within it, we find Microsoft Teams the easiest way to co-author documents used and created by the School Leadership Teams (SLT),” explains Gareth.

“We have five core Teams: one for SLT, one for the admins who support SLT, a data admin team and a pastoral middle leadership team that includes SLT and the Heads of Houses.”

A Team acts as a central hub for collaboration – a place where you can talk with Team members, share and co-author files and keep meeting minutes all in one place.

“To keep everything connected with our SharePoint site, Cloud Design Box has set it up so that users can access the relevant Teams from their SharePoint mega menu.”

School Leadership Teams Heads of Faculty and Subject Leaders use Microsoft Teams and SharePoint

Within each Team, Notley High School has private channels where only specific people can access files and conversations. Private channels in Teams can be controversial as many believe you should simply set up a new Team if a private channel is required.

But, as Gareth explains, it’s a structure that has really worked for them:

“If we set up a new Team every time we need a private channel, we’d have far too many Teams with them all linking off in different directions. With our structure, everyone can access, view and edit the files applicable to them.”

To further simplify processes, Gareth has maintained one rule: SharePoint is for sharing finalised documents and Teams is for collaborating on WIP files.

“All the work-in-progress documents are stored within their corresponding Teams, where they can be accessed and edited by the right people. It’s only when they’re finished that they can be released into SharePoint,” he tells us.

“We have a one version policy – if the file is being worked on, it’s in Teams, and if the file is finalised, it’s in SharePoint.”

It’s easy to see why Notley High has chosen this method of working. This is a great example of Office 365, SharePoint and Teams adoption that shows how the products can be used by the school leadership to work together more dynamically, keeping everyone on the same page and everything in one place, without having to waste time copied into unnecessary emails.


Watch the full Office 365 User Adoption podcast on School Leadership with Microsoft Teams on our YouTube Channel.

Meanwhile, if you would like to discuss adopting SharePoint, Office 365 or Microsoft Teams for your school or multi-academy trust, speak with a member of our team today.


Cloud Design Box

Class Teams Activation

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.

Activate Class Team

Monitored Conversations

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.

Activation

If you need help automating Microsoft Teams from MIS data and getting good user adoption in the classroom, contact us at Cloud Design Box.