Category Archives: School Data Sync

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

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 highlighted values should be changed to match the location of the users in AD and the custom message policy name.

Import-Module SkypeOnlineConnector
$userCredential = Get-Credential
$sfbSession = New-CsOnlineSession -Credential $userCredential
Import-PSSession $sfbSession
# add the OU of the teacher users below and update the highlighted code with your OU path and custom message policy
$teacherUsers = Get-ADUser -SearchBase “OU=XX,dc=XX,dc=XX,dc=XX,dc=gov” -Filter * -ResultSetSize 50000 | Select Name,SamAccountName 
 
foreach ($teacherUser in $teacherUsers)
    {
    write-host $teacherUser.Name
     Grant-CsTeamsMessagingPolicy -PolicyName "CustomStudentMessagingPolicy1" -Identity $teacherUser.Name
    }

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"
    Write-Host "Removing $teamName from the Global Address List"
}

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 values should be changed to match the location of the users in AD and the custom message policy name.

Import-Module SkypeOnlineConnector
$userCredential = Get-Credential
$sfbSession = New-CsOnlineSession -Credential $userCredential
Import-PSSession $sfbSession
$studentUsers = Get-ADUser -SearchBase “OU=XX,dc=XX,dc=XX,dc=XX,dc=gov” -Filter * -ResultSetSize 50000 | Select Name,SamAccountName 
 
foreach ($studentUser in $studentUsers)
    {
    write-host $studentUser.Name
     Grant-CsTeamsMessagingPolicy -PolicyName "CustomStudentMessagingPolicy1" -Identity $studentUser.Name
    }

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.

Transform Student Engagement with Digital Ink

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.

Save time.

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.

Resources:

onenote.com/ink
digital ink in the classroom authentic efficient student engagement
White Paper: Power Digital Inking Classroom

Teams for Education summer 2019 updates

Microsoft Teams has had a makeover with some new UI and feature changes this summer. In the video below, we go through these changes and what it means for teachers and students using Teams in the classroom.



Tiles

A new tiled interface helps you to visualise your classes in a more friendly view. Don’t worry if you like the list view, you can always switch back to it at any time.

Teams Tiles

Moving Class Notebook Content

You can now take your Class Notebook content library and teacher only sections with you. When creating your new Class Notebook, you will have the option to import from previous Class Notebooks.

Class Notebook

Assignments Interface

Assignments are easier to view with the new grouped view. Late assignments are marked red.

Assignments

There are more updates coming soon too. You can check these out on the Teams Education blog.

End of Year Rollover Process in Microsoft School Data Sync

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!

Adding Announcements in Microsoft Teams for Education

In this video, I explore the new announcement feature in Microsoft Teams. It’s part of a big education release this summer, we will keep you posted on the latest developments!



Importing and Exporting Rubrics in Microsoft Teams

Read more about how to setup and use rubrics in Microsoft Teams in our previous post.

There are options available in Microsoft Teams to export and import Rubric grading criteria. This is great news for educators, it will empower them to share rubrics with their department, school, trust or the rest of the world!



Exporting a Rubric

Find an assignment that you used with the rubric attached. Select the assignment and open the rubric.

Rubric on Microsoft Teams Assignment

Select the download as CSV option. This will download your rubric in a CSV formatted spreadsheet.

Exporting a Rubric in Microsoft Teams

It might not seem much use in this format but follow the steps below to import it. Ideally the next steps should be followed by someone who doesn’t already have access to this rubric.

Importing a Rubric

Create a new assignment, add a rubric and select the import option.

Importing a Rubric in Microsoft Teams

Find the CSV and import it. Not only is the rubric available for use in this assignment, it will now appear in your rubric list for all future assignments that you set!

Creating Assignments using Class Notebook Pages

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.

Class Notebook in Teams Assignments

Select a section to push the page into when the student completes it.

Class Notebook Section to distribute

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.

View student work in Class Notebook and teams