Lost learning – How schools and trusts can encourage students to catch up with SharePoint

Microsoft SharePoint can help schools and trusts overcome many of the lost learning challenges they face in 2022.

Over the last few years, many students have inevitably lost hours of learning, due to higher levels of absences, adjusting to learning from home and dealing with abrupt changes in restrictions.  

On top of this, some individuals have struggled to access learning remotely due to a lack of access to devices or internet connectivity.  

This major disruption has caused a huge problem for schools as teachers battle to clearly identify gaps in individual students’ learning and keep track of progress.  

Using SharePoint as a central storage hub for all learning resources, schools and trusts make catching up on learning accessible to students anytime and anywhere.  

Students can catch up on missed learning on their own terms and take ownership of the gaps in their knowledge.  

Meanwhile, sharing resources in SharePoint encourages staff to work together to create learning resources and share them across departments, schools and the trusts.

This not only cuts down the number of hours wasted re-creating resources that already exist, but it can also drive up quality as the resources can be reused, recycled and built upon year after year. 

Below are some tips on how to use SharePoint in a way that enables students to catch up easily on lost learning.  



Structure folders around student needs.

It’s essential to keep the student’s point of view in mind when creating and structuring your SharePoint folders.  

Choose clear names for folders and documents and consider numbering them so they appear in a specific order – for example, by term, week or lesson number.  

This makes it so much easier for students to revisit lost learning and reduces the chances of them needing to contact you to find specific documents.  

In the example in our video guide, Joe breaks down learning into terms, weeks and lessons and then numbers worksheets and tasks so that students can access the right files.  

Structure files in SharePoints around students' point of view

Search for keywords.

Encourage students to use the search function in SharePoint.  

The clever tool allows you to search within the selected folder – keywords can be used to search the titles of folders and files and even words within documents.  

This is great when students need to access something quickly or revise a specific topic.  

Tip: Take this one step further and use the Find tool (Ctrl + F) to drill down into documents and search for specific keywords.  

Connect it to Teams with Cloud Box.  

With our Cloud Box solution, you can automatically connect your learning resource folders to the respective Teams channel so students can access everything they need without leaving the Teams app.  

The resources folder can be accessed in the top navigation bar and documents can all be opened up within the Teams app.

Connect SharePoint to Teams

Share resources quickly.  

Resources can also be easily shared outside of SharePoint.  

Simply select the file, document or folder you wish to share and click Share. 

A pop-up appears with multiple sharing options:  

  • You can email a student (or multiple students) the selected file directly so that they can access the folder. 
  • Or you can create a sharing link that can then be copied into a Teams message or email.  

From here, you can also alter the editing permissions to prevent students from editing the resource.

Note: You’ll get a notification as soon as students open your link.  

Share resources in SharePoint

SharePoint makes it easy to share resources with students who may have lost learning, but it also makes it very easy for staff to collaborate and work together on creating documents. If you would like to find out more about how Microsoft 365 and Cloud Box can help your school or trust overcome the challenges of lost learning, book a demo with a member of our team.

 

Lost learning – How schools and trusts can overcome the issue with Microsoft

Lost learning is one of the many challenges schools face in 2022. In this blog, we share our top tips using Cloud Design Box and Microsoft education packages to encourage students to catch up with learning independently.  

Many students have lost learning due to:  

  • Higher levels of absences (of both staff and students).  
  • Adjusting to learning from home.  
  • Dealing with abrupt changes in restrictions.  

What’s more, depending on individual circumstances, some children have had to face challenges with internet connectivity, access to devices and the ability to participate in home learning.   

This major disruption has led to lost teaching hours, lost learning hours and lost assessment data. And, because each student has had a unique experience during Covid-19, it’s difficult to quantify and track gaps in learning.   

So how can we address this widespread problem of lost learning? 

We can start by looking at strategies to help teachers identify gaps in learning for specific students. When we combine this with strategies that encourage student independence, students can identify gaps in their own learning and access the tools they need to catch up.   

The approach should focus on saving teacher time, driving up the quality of learning resources, encouraging students to take ownership of their own learning.   

On top of this, the progress should be easy to monitor.   



Tools we can use to address lost learning:

Create accessible, centralised resources in SharePoint. 

Create a centralised, long-term resource bank in SharePoint for teaching resources, policies and other documents that can be reused and repurposed every academic year.   

Not only does this save time each year by not having to replicate or reupload resources, but it also means that everyone has access to everything they need to work – whether that’s a student or staff member. 

Here’s how teachers can use SharePoint to address the problem of lost learning →

How to use SharePoint to encourage students to catch up with lost learning

Create ‘topic notebooks’ and revision guides in OneNote. 

OneNote can be used to create and organise digital learning content for students – that can be shared in a centralised area.  

Teachers can create a mini-website/digital topic notebook for each topic that can then be shared via a link or in Teams. 

One notebook could be used to cover a term’s worth of learning content, that the student can then look back through and revise from. 

How to create topic notebooks in OneNote to help with lost learning →

Create topic notebooks and revision guides in OneNote
 

Reset lost assignments in Teams for individual students or small groups. 

With Teams Assignments, teachers can re-send out assignments to individuals or small groups of students who may not have been able to complete the homework when it was initially set.  

This saves teachers from having to send out a notification to whole classes and allows students who missed out to fill gaps in their learning. 

How teachers can reassign missed homework to individual students in Microsoft Teams →

How teachers can reassign missed homework to individual students in Microsoft Teams
 

Use Forms to identify gaps in learning and track student progress. 

Forms are a great way to pick up on gaps in learning as teachers can create engaging surveys and quizzes on a specific topic for students to complete.   

Data is then collected instantly and can be turned into graphs and charts so any gaps in knowledge can be easily identified and recapped. 

How teachers can identify gaps in learning with Microsoft Forms →

How schools and MATs can use Microsoft Forms to help tackle lost learning

If you would like more information on how these Microsoft tools can work together to help address the issue of lost learning in your school or trust, book a demo with a member of our team.

Bridging the digital divide – how Cloud Design Box is supporting launch of the DEIS Connect Project

Cloud Design Box has been working with St Kevin’s Community College in Dublin to support them in becoming one of the first DEIS (Delivery Equality of Opportunity in Schools) schools in Ireland.  

The DEIS Connect Project aims to bridge the digital divide in schools and provide digital devices for all learners. It was launched by An Taoiseach Micheál Martin on 4 February 2022.  

All 1st and 2nd year students have been given an iPad for use in school and at home, with laptops distributed to all 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th years at the college.  

The DEIS Connect initiative is a clear demonstration of DDLETB’s commitment to delivering a high-quality learning experience for all of our students and school teams,” states  Mr Adrian Flynn, Director of Schools at DDLETB.

We are very proud of St. Kevins CCs achievements in leading the path in embracing the best of what technology-enhanced learning has to offer. We look forward to further developing this initiative throughout the DDLETB DEIS network.”  

Our team have been working with the school and the DDLETB (Dublin and Dún Laoghaire Education and Training Board) to create an online solution for blended and remote learning at St Kevin’s. 

The hybrid approach to learning is one of the first of its kind in the country, allowing students to access learning resources at any time from their devices.  

Equipped with our Cloud Box platform and new skills from staff training sessions we’ve delivered, teachers at St Kevin’s can access everything they need to create and store quality online learning materials, provide feedback to students and track learner progress. 

 An Taoiseach Micheál Martin at St Kevin's Community College

“The Cloud Box platform is a fabulous benefit to our school. It’s a great place for staff to collaborate, and it links directly with our MIS data – which is invaluable to me as the ICT coordinator. Now that we have become a 1:1 school, with all students having access to devices, this software is completely invaluable to us – all the students’ Teams and content libraries created from the very start,” enthuses Mr John O’Callaghan, ICT Coordinator at St Kevin’s.  

“Cloud Design Box has been extremely approachable and easy to work with, from the initial build of the platform and while finetuning the software and going above and beyond to meet our needs.” 

St Kevin’s celebrated the launch of the project on Friday 4 February with a visit from Micheál Martin. 

Watch the launch day video here: 



 

 Mr Tony Barry, Principal of the school said on the launch day: 

“DEIS Connect will expand the capacity and opportunity for all learners to engage in the use of digital technology in both teaching and learning. It is an innovative solution to tackle the digital divide and to benefit learners,” 

“Every student coming to St Kevin’s now and into the future regardless of means will receive a digital device to assist them with learning – to prepare them for further education, college and to ensure they are workforce ready.”

Mr Tony Barry at St Kevins Community College DEIS Connect Project

The whole team at Cloud Design Box is thrilled to be involved in this project, which has provided an entire community with the tools they need to thrive in todays digital environment.  

If you would like to find out more about our Cloud Box platform, book a free demo today.  

 

Cloud Design Box gains Microsoft SDS Professional Partner status

Cloud Design Box has become one of the first companies to achieve the Microsoft School Data Sync Professional Partner Certification – the highest certification for Microsoft SDS. 

Microsoft SDS simplifies class management in Microsoft 365, reading class data from your school, academy or trust’s MIS and creating classes and groups for Microsoft Teams.  

Previously, we have been awarded the SDS Advanced Partner accreditation as part of the Partner Success Series for Microsoft SDS.

The Professional Partner certification is one up from this and the highest award a company can currently achieve for Microsoft SDS.

“The SDS Professional Partner accreditation covered several advanced SDS topics, including troubleshooting SDS syncs and using Microsoft Graph API with SDS,” explains Cloud Design Box’s Support Case Manager and Cybersecurity Officer Steve Hill, who took part in the Professional Partner training.

“It’s important that we continue to improve our skills and keep up to date with the latest SDS changes. That’s why we’re a Microsoft Partner and routinely attend the Partner Success Series quarterly meetings with Microsoft, as well as complete all the relevant training courses that Microsoft Partner University provides.”

SDS Professional Partner Badge

“We’re excited to be one of the first to receive this from Microsoft! The award gives our customers even more confidence in our abilities to install and manage SDS, ensuring their Class Teams are created seamlessly and correctly each academic year,” explains Tony Phillips, Founder of Cloud Design Box.  

“SDS is recommended best practice when creating and maintaining Class Teams. Not only does it speed up and automate a previous time-consuming task that often took IT managers and staff the whole of the summer holidays to achieve, but it also allows you to create a rich data set of year groups, subjects, schools and more to create future reports across your entire organisation that support the leadership team all year round.”  

You can read more about Microsoft SDS in this guide

The Cloud Design Box team is continuously improving their skills and knowledge on Microsoft 365 for Education and Business, enrolling in Microsoft’s training programmes and courses. We’re proud to add this latest accreditation to our growing list of certifications that includes Microsoft in Education Global Training Partner, Microsoft Partner and CPD certification.

Want to find out more about how Cloud Design Box can support you with your rollover to a new academic year with Microsoft School Data Sync? Book a demo with a member of our team. 

In the meantime, check out these guides on SDS:

 

How to create topic notebooks in OneNote

OneNote can be used to create and organise digital learning content for students – that can be shared in a centralised area. Teachers can create a mini-website/digital topic notebook for each topic that can then be shared via a link or in Teams.

Important: This is not a tutorial on creating Class Notebooks. For more information about Class Notebooks see this guide.

Example of a topic book in OneNote

In this guide, learn how to: 

  • Create a new OneNote file. 
  • Add and edit pages and sections. 
  • Edit the colour coding of your OneNote. 
  • Break sections into subsections.  
  • Add and format text in OneNote. 
  • Insert images, tables, links and other resources to a OneNote page.  
  • Change the appearance of a OneNote file.  


Create a new OneNote file.

  1. Head to the student resource folder in which you want to create your new OneNote notebook. 
  2. Select New and then OneNote Notebook. Select New and then OneNoteNotebook to create a new OneNote in a student resource file.
  3. Add a name for your new OneNote notebook and select Create.

Note: You can edit your OneNote in the browser view, but some features may not be supported. Access the full range of features by selecting Open in the desktop app. 

Open in desktop app

Add and edit sections/pages in OneNote.

A OneNote notebook consists of sections and pages, just like a traditional ring binder folder.

  1. Rename a page/section by right-clicking and selecting Rename Section/Page.
  2. Add a new page by selecting Add Page at the bottom of the page list.
  3. Add a new section by selecting Add Section at the bottom of the page list.

Adding and editing pages and sections in OneNote

Edit the colour coding of your sections in OneNote.

  1. Alter the colour coding on your sections in OneNote; simply right-click the section and select Section colour. 
  2. Choose which colour you wish to set for the section.

Editing the colour coding of your OneNote

Break OneNote sections into subsections.

Sections can be broken down into subsections, which is excellent when you need to split up chunkier topics and make them more digestible for students.

  1. Right-click on Add Section and select New Section Group.Add new section group
  2. Name your new section group.
  3. Add sections into your section group by selecting your section group and Add Section.

Subsections and section groups example in OneNote

Add and format text in OneNote.

  1. Tap the place you want the text on your OneNote page and start typing to add text.
  2. Format the text – change the size, colour, font etc. – with the text toolbox at the top of the screen.

Text formatting in OneNote

Insert images, tables, links and other resources into a OneNote page.

The Insert tab – found on the top navigation bar – allows you to insert a range of resources to a page, including:

  • Tables
  • Pictures
  • Links
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Files
  • And more!

Insert pictures, tables, links and other resources into a OneNote page

Change the appearance of a OneNote file.

The View tab – found on the top navigation bar – allows you to alter the appearance of your OneNote file. From here, you can:

  • Set a page colour.
  • Insert rule lines.
  • Check accessibility.
  • Use the Translate tool.
  • And more!

Change the appearance of your OneNote via the View tab

The final result is a fully interactive, read-only topic book for students to use and revise from. Students can use the colour-coded sections to find the information they need or use the search bar to type in keywords.

Additionally, with our Cloud Box solution, long-term learning resources like this one can be easily shared across departments and even entire schools and trusts and be reused for future academic years.

Book a demo to find out exactly how we can help your school, academy or multi-academy trust today. Give us a call on 01482 688890, or send us a message

 

Free webinars: Improve MAT communication and save SLT time with Arbor and Cloud Box  

Cloud Design Box is partnering with Arbor to deliver two free virtual training sessions designed especially for schools, academies and multi-academy trusts (MATs).  

Arbor works with over 2,500 primary, secondary and special schools and is the UK’s fasted-growing MIS community.  

Arbor MIS – which is featured in both of the upcoming webinars – gives schools of all sizes the tools they need to free staff from busywork, work more collaboratively and stay connected on the cloud – so that your whole team has a shared view of what’s going on.  

Improving MAT communication using Microsoft Teams and Arbor.  

The first session takes place on Thursday 10 February and is aimed at MATs who want to improve communication across all their schools.  

The Cloud Design Box team will show MATs how they can easily share documents, important announcements and news across the entire trust with SharePoint and Teams.  

SharePoint home page with My Assignments web part showing students upcoming assignments.

Meanwhile, Andrew from Arbor (former Headteacher and MAT leader) will take this one step further and demonstrate how Communications in Arbor allows schools to share announcements and news to specific groups.  

 

Click to sign up to improving MAT communication using Microsoft Teams and Arbor

Saving curriculum leader time with Cloud Box and Arbor.  

On Tuesday 15 March, we’ll discuss how curriculum leaders can save time creating and sharing learning resources with both the Cloud Box and Arbor solutions.  

The demonstration will be split into two parts and cover how senior leaders can save time with Teams by creating and sharing quality, long-term resources and using the analytics tools to monitor what work is being set and completed.  

Following this, Arbor will demonstrate how their Communications module can be used to share information and resources with specific groups of students.  

Click to sign up to saving curriculum leader time with Cloud Box and Arbor (March 2022)

Both webinars are free to attend and open to anyone working in a school, academy or multi academy trust. To find out more about all our upcoming events, please see our events page 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Updated Guidance for Starting Online Lessons in Microsoft Teams

We have recently updated our video guide on how to start online lessons in Microsoft Teams. As January approaches, many schools will be forced into full or partly online lessons due to sickness and self-isolation. Microsoft Teams as evolved to become easier to use for teachers over the past year and the video below reflects this:



You can also read/watch our previous guides for more in-depth information.
Office 365 User Adoption Podcast Episode 10 – Virtual Lessons using Microsoft Teams

Teacher Guide to Presenting Remote Lessons using Microsoft Teams

How to get students more engaged outside of the classroom

Getting students engaged outside of the classroom can be difficult. While most students understand that they must complete homework and assignments for their classes, creating homework assignments that are engaging helps to reinforce learning and development.  

Below, we have some ideas on how you can use some of the tools in Microsoft 365, Teams and SharePoint to create brilliant and effective homework assignments.  

Use the Reading Progress tool. 

The Reading Progress tool in Microsoft Teams is a great way to liven up reading tasks, comprehension and language learning.  

Students can record video or audio of themselves reading a passage and submit it to their teachers for feedback or grading.  

What’s more, Microsoft picks up on any mispronunciations, omissions and repetitions – which is great for saving teacher time when marking.  

Students are also likely to feel more comfortable reading a passage in their own home, rather than aloud in front of their classmates.  

Grading a reading progress assignment in Microsoft Teams

Add audio clips into Class Notebooks and Assignments. 

It’s easy to add audio clips into Class Notebook and we know that some teachers have been using this feature to set learning objectives and instructions for homework tasks.  

Not only does this save the teacher time, but it also injects a bit of life into homework tasks.  

A new feature in Teams allows you to add video instructions directly to Assignments, while students can submit videos of themselves speaking a new language, practising a presentation, reading a passage or playing an instrument. 

Create revision videos that can be used again and again. 

Video is a great way to engage your students outside of the classroom as it’s a lot more engaging than sending over blocks of text and worksheets to revise from.  

You could keep a library of revision videos in SharePoint for your classes to access, or even embed videos into Class Notebook to compliment revision guides.  

As an additional bonus, when it comes to the end of the year, you can reuse the content you’ve created for your new classes – so there’s no duplication in work.

Get creative with whiteboards for assignments. 

A relatively new feature to Assignments, the whiteboard allows you to integrate a virtual board into Assignment tasks.  

You could either assign a previously created whiteboard (i.e. one that you created during a lesson) or add a blank whiteboard with students to work on.  

Another great idea is to create a whiteboard where students fill in the blanks. It gives your class something different to do than work in Word or their Class Notebook.  

Attaching a whiteboard to assignments in Microsoft Teams Source: Microsoft Tech Community

Test knowledge with quizzes and forms. 

Quizzes and forms can be easily set up in Microsoft 365 and work great in and outside of the classroom.  

One idea is to use a form to quiz your students on their understanding of a previous lesson. Or, you could incorporate a quiz into a reading comprehension task.  

Not only are quizzes and forms more engaging than filling out a Word document, but it also gives you as a teacher an almost instant overview of whether the learning has been understood and what areas you may need to recap during the next lesson.  

onenote quiz

If you would like to learn more about how we can help your school or trust achieve more with Microsoft 365, please contact a member of our team today.

How teachers can save time creating learning resources with Microsoft 365

We know that time is precious when you work in education; whether you’re marking, planning, or delivering a lesson, it can be tricky to find the time to get back to what you love about teaching.  

While we can’t increase the number of hours in your day, we can give you some ideas on saving time when creating learning resources with some essential tools and features in Microsoft 365.   

Centralise resources.   

Create a centralised, long-term resource bank in SharePoint for teaching resources, policies and other documents that can be reused and repurposed every academic year.   

With Microsoft 365, you can create designated areas in SharePoint that only users with the correct permissions can access. For example, only one department, only certain classes or students or only staff members.   

Not only does this save time each year by not having to replicate or reupload resources, but it also means that everyone has access to everything they need to work – whether that’s a student or staff member.  

We provide automation services to create centralised resource areas automatically from your school’s MIS data. Find out more by chatting to a member of our team.  

“Everything we need is in the cloud, so we don’t have to worry about losing paper worksheets. Pupils can also use SharePoint and Teams to download assignment tasks, refresh their memories, take quizzes and be in touch with the teacher in between lessons.” – Whitely Bay High School 

Co-author documents with colleagues.   

Word Documents, PowerPoints, Excel Spreadsheets, and more can be co-authored in real-time with your colleagues.  

Co-authoring is excellent if you need another staff member’s import on a document or if you’ve agreed to share the workload by co-creating learning resources for your department.   

Why spend hours creating a resource from scratch that your colleague has already spent time making?   

Instead, easily and securely share, edit and co-create documents with others in your school, academy or trust.   

Sharing is caring.   

By centralising your resources and co-authoring documents, you can begin to build a powerful library of learning materials that can be shared across an entire department, the whole school or even your trust.   

So, instead of ten teachers creating ten versions of the same document, you can pool together your resources and free up time to spend on other areas, like grading, working with students or professional development (or even just taking a break!). 

“Cloud Box has been transformational in the way we work and create learning content. We are now beginning to create revision resources that can be accessed by our pupils at any time on a connected device. Not only is this brilliant for the students, but also for staff who can dedicate more time to sharpening their message and delivery.” – The Ashcombe School.   

Rollover resources to the next academic year.  

With our Cloud Box solution, there’s no need to start from scratch when a new academic year rolls around.   

Instead, everything – your resources, classes and student information – is cleaned up and rolled over automatically, ready for the start of term.   

We use Microsoft School Data Sync (SDS) to start a rollover and clean-up process, our centralised resource areas allow you to reuse resources year on year, while the Class Dashboard enables students to easily access archived Teams from previous academic years.  

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.    

Meet Cloud Design Box at EdTech’s biggest reunion

UPDATE: Bett has moved to Wednesday 23 – Friday 25 March 2022
Cloud Design Box is attending Bett 2022 – which returns to the ExCeL London from Wednesday 23 – Friday 25 March 2022. 

The most prominent international EdTech exhibition is back, and we’re thrilled to be a part of it for another year.  

You can find us at Stand SP53 – next to our partners SalamanderSoft – where you’ll be able to meet our team and talk one-to-one about your blended learning needs as a school or trust.  

The long-awaited Bett 2022 – dubbed EdTech’s biggest reunion – provides a unique chance for educators to explore innovative product demonstrations, access CPD seminars and network with thousands of people in the education community.  

After months of virtual meetups, it’s going to be fantastic meeting you all in person and showing you all the new and exciting things teachers and schools can achieve with Microsoft Teams and SharePoint.  

We know many people will want to plan their visit ahead of time and avoid queues, so we’ve opened meeting slots for you to book a meeting with us at a time that suits you 

BOOK NOW

A photo of a previous Bett show

On the second day of the show, we’ll also be joining in with the first Bett After Hours – designed for visitors who cannot attend Bett during the school day. Open from 6pm-8pm on Thursday 24 March 2022.  

Bett is the first industry show of the year in the education technology landscape, bringing together 550+ leading exhibitors and sponsors and over 20,000 attendees from the global education community. 

It’s the event to attend for the education community…

And we cannot wait to see you there! 

Bett takes place at the ExCeL London on 23-25 March – Register your place here and reserve a meeting slot with Cloud Design Box here