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!
This is a quick update from Cloud Design Box. Due to the current situation of social distancing being implemented across the world, we have had a lot of schools rushing to setup Microsoft Teams.
There are a number of ways you can setup Microsoft School Data Sync to create Class Teams from your MIS/SIS data:
- – Get free help from Microsoft to manually setup School Data Sync
- – Try setting it up yourself following this guide
- – Try our new lightweight solution to setup SDS
- – Use another paid or free third party solution such as SalamanderSoft
We have recently recorded a podcast on how you might use Class Teams for remote learning, you can watch it here.
Our products are designed to be curriculum lead to support your long term digital strategy to move to the cloud. However, we recognise that schools need a quick interim solution to prepare them for remote learning which is why we are now supplying a more lightweight solution to get you onboarded quickly with the option to look at the bigger picture when things have settled down. Please contact us for more information via the contact page on our website.
In this podcast episode, we’ve taken a different approach. Instead of focusing solely on a school’s user adoption methods, we’re looking at how the process can be made easier when you have a Microsoft Innovative Educator (MIE) in your ranks.
But what exactly is an MIE Expert and how can your school, multi-academy trust or organisation get one?
We spoke with Elaine Topham, Senior Learning Technologist at Grimsby Institute, MIE Expert and one of six UK-based MIE Fellows.
“An MIE is someone who has nominated themselves to join the Microsoft community of educators that work with Office 365,” Elaine tells us.
“The MIE Status recognises those who are using the latest Microsoft technology in their schools and classrooms to better learning and student outcomes.”
Elaine’s journey to becoming an MIE Expert is an incredible one:
“I’ve always been quite interested in technology; however, I didn’t have the best start – I left school at 15 with no qualifications, so it was quite difficult getting into work,” admits Elaine.
In 2001, she landed a work placement at Grimsby College, working with IT technicians to install computers around the campus and also supporting students who were studying Level 1 and Level 2 IT qualifications.
Several years later, she began working at community learning centres, supporting people who were also completing the IT course:
“I loved this role because it gave me the opportunity to work with people who had perhaps never used digital before – it was a really rewarding job.”
Elaine joined Grimsby Institute in 2010, working as a tutor and teaching IT Functional Skills to students.
“I spent five years in that role, but by this point, I felt that my skills were best suited to supporting teachers in grasping digital. For me, this has a big impact on the students’ learning experience,” she continues.
Today, she oversees the work that the innovation team does, administering VLE and ensuring all their staff have the right training and support they need to do their jobs well.
“Our goal is to make sure our staff are supported and can meet the demands of digital.”
Her recognition as an MIE came about after she was encouraged to apply for the programme by her manager:
“I hadn’t heard of the scheme before, but I looked it up and decided to apply. I put a lot of effort into my application, including all the ways I use Microsoft in my job.”
Elaine was accepted and has been an MIE Expert for almost four years now.
“You have to apply each year, answering questions about why you feel you’re an MIE, what tools you use, and how you share your knowledge beyond the classroom.”
The Microsoft Innovative Educators programme is all about building a community of educators that are willing to share best practice and techniques, so a lot of the benefits revolved around this powerful and well-connected community.
When you’re an MIE, you have a monthly connection call via Microsoft Teams with other MIEs, as well as being kept in the loop about early releases, product demonstrations and new features.
“It’s a global programme, so you get to meet and talk with people from all over the world and learn how they’re using technology in their roles as educators,” enthuses Elaine.
“Because we’re speaking regularly with Microsoft, we also get to guide some of the development of the products, letting them know what works best for us, what doesn’t and what we’d like to see next.”
As Elaine explains, having this kind of insight into the digital tools used throughout your school is invaluable:
“Digital moves so quickly, so being an MIE offers me a quicker way of getting the knowledge I need to be able to pass it onto the staff and students at Grimsby Institute. I’m able to know what’s coming out soon and even shape the future of some of the products to improve the learning experience of our students.”
There is no limit to the number of MIEs you can have at one organisation, anyone can apply and it’s completely free.
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.
In the video below, we look at the different ways of setting retention polices in SharePoint and Teams.
Some takeaway points:
- Retention Labels allow more than one policy in a single site
- Users might not remember or know how to apply Labels
- Site policies work without any end-user action
- The document deletion experience is different
Managing document expiry can be time consuming and difficult to track. Maybe you have policy documents which need refreshing every year or machine calibration/certification documents which need to be regularly reviewed.
It’s surprisingly easy to setup expiry notifications in SharePoint. Follow the simple steps below or watch the video for a walk through.
Adding an expiry column
In the document library, click “Add column” and select a “Date” column.
Give the column a name and click “Save”
Format the column
To make it easy to see if the document has expired, we can apply some simple column formatting.
Under the column heading, select “column settings” and then “format column”.
Select “edit template” and pick a colour for documents that are overdue, due today and not yet due.
It should look something like this!
Setup email reminder for expiring documents
In the document library toolbar, select “Flow” (eventually this will be renamed to Power Automate) and then select “Set a reminder”. It will automatically pick up the date column that you have added.
Enter a name for the flow and how many days in advance you would like reminding.
You could always edit the Flow in Power Automate if you wanted to customise it from the standard template.
If you want to find out more about our Microsoft Teams and SharePoint services, check out the Cloud Design Box Website.
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.”
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.
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 will be exhibiting at Bett 2020 from Wednesday 23rd January until Saturday 15th January 2020 on stand NQ21. Bett is the global meeting place for education buyers and it’s mission is to create a better future by transforming education and bringing together over 800 leading companies and over 34,000 visitors.
We will be opposite the N4 entrance in the North Hall (near the Tablet Academy escape room).
Tony, Darren, Joanne and Lloyd will be on the stand each weekday. Will, Lloyd and Tony will be around on Friday and Saturday.
We will be sharing a stand build with our partners SalamanderSoft. Speak to them to find out more about Active Directory automation from MIS data plus many more tools. You can find out more information on their website.
The team will be demonstrating our SharePoint and Teams solutions. For current customers, we will show you new features set to be released later this year including Teams assignment analytics and our new admin interface to create intranet sites.
If you don’t get chance to see us, feel free to get in touch for a chat and online meeting on our website.
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.