Head of Digital Learning at a leading independent boarding school reveals 5 ways in which they have successfully onboarded staff and students to Microsoft 365, Teams and SharePoint.
Henry Exham currently teaches at a boarding school with 830 students ranging from 13-18. In our latest podcast, he joins COO Darren Hemming and Trainer & Solutions Consultant Joe Scott to talk about the challenges and successes of getting everyone in the school on board with Microsoft 365.
The school has worked with Cloud Design Box to harness the full power of Microsoft Teams and SharePoint, developing a clear, long-term user adoption strategy and embedding the new technology across all facets of school life.
Below, we’ve rounded up Henry’s top tips for adopting Microsoft 365 in an independent boarding school.
Identify champions to help you spread the word.
From the early stages of adopting Microsoft 365, Henry identified the key champions of the software – those teachers who had already been using the Microsoft Suite in their lessons and teaching:
“We had some good leaders in the pack already, who could help us spread the word.”
Moving over to a whole new software, with new systems and processes can be overwhelming, so Henry suggests starting small and keeping things simple at first.
The first step was making it mandatory for teachers to set assignments and homework in Teams to get them using the software. Then Henry slowly ramped it up so it grew organically from there.
“You’re not going to convert every teacher overnight. So, we started off very gently with Teams and made everything really simple. Asking them to set all homework via Teams and showing them how they could upload resources too, but this wasn’t essential at this stage.”
Invest in training.
With the support of Cloud Design Box training up different areas of the school, Henry organised a focused teaching and learning week called “Teams week”:
“I created over 50 YouTube training videos, where I went through some of the basics of Teams and SharePoint, organising them into different levels so teachers could pick the level they were at and commit to learning something new that week,” he explains
“Everybody upskilled that week, improving their knowledge of Microsoft 365.”
Henry has also committed to onboarding new staff that join the school, providing four hours of IT training in their first term.
Give a reason to be engaged.
Embedding Microsoft 365 into the school’s digital learning strategy has helped everyone in the school understand its benefits and get onboard:
“Ultimately, our digital strategy is to prepare our students to be learners outside of education and prepare them for their future workplace or higher education, with the right digital skills. Teams fits well with this as it’s used in organisations all over the world. We’re building skills for the future and it’s easy to sell in that way.”
Build it into the curriculum.
To further achieve this digital strategy, Henry has created a digital skills curriculum for Year 9 students to integrate Teams into all their subjects. For example, creating spreadsheets in science and wordprocessing in history:
“A lot of people expect the younger generation to have IT skills as they are ‘digital natives’. But, just because they know how to scroll on a smartphone, doesn’t mean they know how to format a spreadsheet or document,” he adds.
“One example of this is setting them a task in English to create a blog about their favourite book, but they have to use Teams to create a full announcement, add an image, link to a YouTube video and post to the dedicated Teams channel.”
If you want to know more about Cloud Design Box and how we can help your school or MAT harness the full power of Microsoft Teams and SharePoint, book a free demo today.