Tag Archives: Cloud Design Box

Wilberforce Sixth Form College Awarded Microsoft Showcase College Status (Microsoft 365 User Adoption Podcast Episode 14)

Cloud Design Box has been working with Wilberforce College, a further education Sixth Form College in Hull, to support them in moving to Microsoft Teams and SharePoint, through training and strategy sessions, as well as software set up and implementation.

Assistant Principal at Wilberforce College Jonathan Butler recently joined us on a webinar to discuss best practices in Microsoft Teams and how working with Cloud Design Box has helped the school achieve their goals with cloud-based learning.




Listen on Spotify

“If you’re thinking about moving over to Teams, you must think about how you’re going to share and store files – it should be your priority. If you don’t have a backend storage system – like SharePoint – linked with Teams, things can become a little bit messy, especially when you enter a new school year,” Jonathan explains.

“Cloud Design Box has helped us to set up Teams and SharePoint in a way that will serve us year after year, with long-term resources that can be reused for each new class you teach.”

The College was crowned a DfE EdTech Demonstrator School and are now part of the network of schools and colleges who have shown they can use technology effectively and have the capacity to help other education organisations do the same.

“We had a head start in moving across to Teams and SharePoint thanks to the long-term strategy and technology rollout implemented by Tony and the rest of team.”

Wilberforce College has witnessed a massive increase in staff engagement and enthusiasm for Microsoft 365.

“After taking part in the informative training sessions with Lloyd at Cloud Design Box, our staff have been inspired to learn more and look deeper into how we can use Teams better in the school. Around 80% of our teaching staff took it upon themselves to seek further training from Microsoft,” Jonathan adds.

“The enthusiasm and uptake of the product sort of snowballed from there. We have now been awarded Microsoft Showcase College status and are the only sixth form in the UK to be awarded this accolade.”

CPD Training Graph

Throughout the pandemic, Teams and SharePoint has transformed the way teachers and school staff collaborate at Wilberforce:

“It’s great to see so many members of staff recording quick training videos and sharing them with colleagues. At the tap of a button, this valuable content can be shared to all staff, or specific groups. For example, we recently had a teacher share a video on immersive reader,” he tells us.

“Teachers are no longer working in isolation – they’re sharing their resources, skills and knowledge. Even when the pandemic is over, we must make sure this kind of collaboration continues.”

Here’s a video featuring the staff and students at Wilberforce College, talking about how Microsoft 365 has transformed learning.



Free Events For Schools Wanting To Achieve More With Microsoft Teams

Cloud Design Box and SalamanderSoft have partnered up to design and deliver three free webinars tailored to schools, academies and Multi Academy Trusts who are looking to make the most out of remote and blended learning with Microsoft Teams.

Throughout January and February, the training sessions are free to anyone who works at a school, college, academy or multi academy trust.

“We understand the pressure teachers have experienced during the last year, and with the new Covid-19 restrictions resulting in many schools juggling remote and in-classroom learning, it’s easy for them to feel overwhelmed and struggle to find the time to adapt lesson plans and materials,” says Tony Phillips, Founder of Cloud Design Box.

“Our sessions aim to show schools how to make the most of the digital tools available, avoid duplication of work, save time on admin and find more time to focus on their students.”

Below is an outline of each webinar:


Getting started with Microsoft Teams


Getting Started With Microsoft Teams – Thursday 28 January @ 10am

In this session, teachers can learn how best to use Teams to support home and blended learning with confidence, providing some actionable tips on how both staff and students can get started with Microsoft 365.


Planning Long Term User Adoption with Microsoft Teams


Planning Long Term User Adoption of Microsoft Teams in Schools and MATs – Thursday 28 January @ 3pm

When adopting any new technology, it’s crucial to bring everyone along on the journey with you – not just the tech-savvy members of staff.

Teams is no different. In this session, SalamanderSoft and the Cloud Design Box training team walk you through how to plan for long-term success with Teams, without leaving anyone behind.


Best Practices with Microsoft Teams


Best Practices with Microsoft Teams – Tuesday 2 February @ 10am

Specially-designed around overworked teachers who are struggling with Teams, this webinar demonstrates how you can eliminate additional work by collaborating on resources in a centralised location.

Department leaders learn how they can free up their staff’s time by using these tried-and-tested best practices.


Wilberforce College


Best Practices using Microsoft Teams with Wilberforce College – Wednesday 24 February @ 11am

Over the last year, Cloud Design Box has been working with schools and colleges across the country to support them with Covid-19 school closures and homeschooling through training and strategy sessions, as well as software set up and implementation.

One of these customers is Hull-based Wilberforce College:

“We realised that our students didn’t necessarily have access to lots of digital devices at home, and this was impacting on their ability to carry out independent work. We thought that by using one single platform where they could access all of their learning content on one app would be the best way forward. And that’s why we chose Teams and Cloud Design Box,” says Jonathan Butler, Assistant Principal (Teaching and Learning) at Wilberforce College.

“We’ve been looking for something like Teams for a long time and it’s changed the game for us during lockdown,” says Ashley Howe, STEM Faculty Head at Wilberforce College.

Wilberforce College using Microsoft Teams

Thanks to Cloud Design Box’s product and training, Wilberforce College has become the only educational institution in Hull and the East Riding to be awarded status as an EdTech DfE Demonstrator College.

“Without the help of Cloud Design Box, we would have never been in the position to achieve this,” says Jonathan Butler.

Cloud Design Box’s training sessions, up until now, have been primarily exclusive to existing customers. However, we are now opening up free places to anyone who works in a school and wants to develop their understanding of Microsoft Teams and how it can be used to deliver learning in and outside of the classroom.

Partner company SalamanderSoft supports Cloud Design Box’s product with its own technology and is looking forward to sharing their knowledge with teachers and school staff:

“It’s been a pleasure to work with Cloud Design Box over the past few years, and we’re very happy to be able to offer these sessions alongside them, to help schools get the most from Microsoft Teams as easily as possible,” says Jon Atkinson, Managing Director of SalamanderSoft.

To find out more about Cloud Design Box’s latest free and virtual events, please head to www.clouddesignbox.co.uk/events.

Add shortcut to OneDrive guide

SharePoint is a great place for a school or business to store shared resources. However, it can be difficult to keep track of all the different document locations. The new “Add shortcut to OneDrive” feature is a great way of keeping track of all the documents you use on a regular basis. Not only does it show the shared locations on the web, but it also maps to the OneDrive app for easy access on your windows 10 device.



Get started by finding your favourite SharePoint library.

SharePoint Library

Click the “Add shortcut to OneDrive” button. Simple!

How does it work?

Open OneDrive in the web. There is now a link to the SharePoint library (remember it is still shared and has not moved, it is just a link).
OneDrive on the web

It will have also synced to the desktop app so you can access all the SharePoint files as if it were a mapped drive on your local machine.

Desktop App

Any windows 10 device using this account will have the link to the SharePoint library, so you are ready to work anywhere on any device.

We found that this button saved so much time compared to syncing individual SharePoint libraries on each device we used.

How To Make Your SharePoint Sites Look Great

Creating a visually appealing SharePoint site is vital if you want people to engage with it regularly. But you don’t need to spend hours designing and curating your sites for them to look good.

We’ve created a video to show you that it’s possible to create a professional and captivating SharePoint site in under 20 minutes. By sticking to our top tips, you can make sure your organisation’s SharePoint sites look clean and well-designed while remaining practical and informative.



Get inspired by the SharePoint look book.

Microsoft has put together a free resource filled with inspiration for SharePoint sites, whether you need pages for news, announcements, resources or training.

The beauty of the look book is that if you see a site you like, you can add it to your SharePoint as a starting point.

SharePoint look book

Use high-quality images.

Inject life into your SharePoint site by using eye-catching imagery.

There are plenty of free and high-quality image resources out there, so you don’t necessarily need to spend money on bringing a photographer in to take team photos.

The SharePoint look book is a great place to download professional photos, and SharePoint itself has an image library filled with all types of pictures to suit your needs.

By filling your site engaging imagery, you’re already halfway there to making it look good.

SharePoint Design

Stick to a colour scheme.

Once you start playing with colour in SharePoint, you can truly make a site your own. Use your brand colours and stick to a simple colour palette of around 2-4 shades to keep everything looking consistent and professional.

You could go one step further and bear this colour scheme in mind when selecting images for the site.

Section variety.

When you have lots of content to showcase, important messages can easily get lost in the noise.

Make sure you break up your content into logical sections and ensure these sections look distinctive from each other.

Again, use colours to differentiate each section. As Tony shows in the video demonstration, you can make some areas pop with a brighter hue, followed by a simple muted tone for the next section.

Be sure to use different layouts for each section and mix it up with your column numbers and sizes.

SharePoint sections

Think about spacing.

Avoid cramming your pages full of content and instead separate out elements with spacers. A bonus tip to ensure your spacing is consistent throughout is to stick to a specific spacer size, for example, 20 pixels.

SharePoint spacing

Toggle Between Published and Edit Mode.

When editing a SharePoint site, it’s easy to get fixated on how it looks in Edit mode rather than what it will look like when finally published.

Switch between Published and Edit mode to give yourself a chance to step back and look at it through the eyes of your users.

Engaging content.

It’s all well and good creating an attractive SharePoint site, but you also need to ensure the content is relevant, engaging and adding value to your end-users if you want them to use the site consistently.

Think creatively and don’t be afraid to add some fun, light-hearted content in there.

As you can see from our demo video, Tony uses a Word of the Day web part and also a short message from the CEO. It’s about finding the balance between this type of content and your more serious stuff, like policies and company updates.

Engaging Content

Additionally, make sure your SharePoint site isn’t static is by adding the News web part that links in and pulls content from your company news pages so your readers will always have the latest articles and updates at their fingertips.

If you have any questions about creating SharePoint sites for your organisation, please get in touch with a member of our team right now.

Microsoft 365 User Adoption Episode 12: Saving Teacher Time With Class Notebook

Our Office 365 User Adoption Podcast highlights real-life stories from schools, academies and Multi Academy Trusts on how they’ve successfully rolled out Microsoft 365, SharePoint and Teams to staff and students.

In this podcast episode, we spoke with Rachael Howarth, Vice Principal at Bradford Girls’ Grammar School and Business Studies teacher on how they’re using Microsoft 365 to support students’ learning and save teachers’ time, whether they’re working remotely or in the classroom.




Listen on Spotify

Bradford Girls’ Grammar School started using SharePoint in March and April 2020 when UK schools were forced to close due to the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown.

“We started out using SharePoint, but from mid-May, we’ve been using Teams to improve the interaction between teachers and students,” explains Rachael.

“Since September, it has been a government requirement that anyone absent from school has immediate access to remote learning, so we adopted Class Notebook to achieve this in an efficient way.”

Rachael explains that the school decided it would be a lot easier if teachers planned lessons via Class Notebook so that they could use the resources in the classroom, as well as distributing them to students who were not in school, as well as another cover staff who required access to them.

“It’s been working really well. Students have access whenever they need to, and can go back and revise from these resources at a later date.”

An example of this in action is a Year 13 Business lesson Rachael shows us during the podcast.

Class Notebook

“Within this lesson, I have written down some instructions for students. If the lesson was recorded, I could link the video and there wouldn’t be a need for so many words here,” Rachael demonstrates.

“I have also added in links to YouTube videos and an audio recording of myself describing how this lesson fits into the rest of the A Level Business Studies course.”

Rachael explains how using links to videos is a great way to quickly share important learning resources without having to manually upload and embed resources multiple times. You can also do this with other files from your own OneNote, such as PowerPoint.

“We structure our files so that we have a centralised resource bank for each subject, then just reference or link to them in lessons rather than embedding and uploading those files for every single class. It saves a lot of time.”

The Grammar School has been making the most of centralised resources by allowing staff members to share and collaborate when creating learning materials.

“This has significantly reduced teacher workload. Our teachers have really appreciated being able to remotely co-author documents together and save time,” she continues.

“Centralising files in this way also allows department heads to check the quality and consistency of learning resources and – as an added bonus – we can instantly give our support and cover staff access to resources without manually having to send lesson plans and resources.”

Alongside Class Notebook, the school is also using Assignments.

“We keep our Assignments and Class Notebook separate so that students have an area to upload their classwork – any work that they complete during a lesson and therefore doesn’t have to be necessarily marked by a teacher. Meanwhile, they use Assignments for more formal, graded work,” Rachael shows us.

“Forms is also a really useful way to quickly quiz students and check their progress.”

As Darren Hemming, our Teaching and Learning Consultant, points out, having an online area where students can upload classwork enables the teacher to remotely walk around the classroom and look over students’ shoulders to check everyone is on track.

“Assignments has been a great way to instantly give digital feedback to students during Covid-19, without worrying about swapping pieces of paper back and forth between teachers and their classes.”

One challenge the school has faced during the pandemic is live teaching to students who are working from home.

saving teacher time with class notebook

“We’re located in a deprived area of the country and not all of our students have easy access to devices that they can work from. We’re lending students our spare devices and working with the government to provide as many tablets and laptops as possible, but the reality is some families still have to share one device between them,” Rachael tells us.

“Because of this, live teaching would not currently be possible if we had another school closure. Many students would be unable to attend timetabled classes and that’s why we’ve taken the approach of recording lessons and letting students access the videos and written materials at a time that suits them.”

During the beginning of lockdown, when some students only had mobile phones to work from, the school was able to work around this barrier by allowing students to take a photo of written work and upload it to Class Notebook.

“We’re now looking at setting up virtual drop-in sessions so students have access to their teacher on a regular basis to ask questions,” she points out.

“With the help of ongoing support and training, our students and staff have picked all of this up incredibly quickly. I’m looking forward to improving how we work and making it run even more smoothly.”

You can watch the full episode and the full podcast series on the Cloud Design Box YouTube channel. If you have any questions about adopting Microsoft 365, Teams and SharePoint in your school or organisation, get in touch with a member of our team right now.

Breakout Rooms in Microsoft Teams for Education

With breakout rooms in Microsoft Teams, the teacher can split the class into groups to work on shared tasks, projects, or even competitive challenges. Breakout rooms are private so students can have some one-on-one help from the teacher. As a teacher, you can jump into rooms to see how everyone is doing, give clarification or be help as required.

We have created a quick video guide below explaining how to setup and use the breakout rooms in Microsoft Teams.



Create some breakout rooms.

Create breakout rooms (only currently available in the desktop app) by selecting the new breakout room button.

breakout room button in teams

If students are already in the meeting, you can automatically populate rooms or choose the manual option to do it later.

Create new breakout rooms

Assign students to the breakout room.

Once students have joined the meeting, you can then assign them to breakout rooms by selecting the students and then clicking “Assign” before choosing a room.

Assign student to breakout room

Open a breakout room.

To send the student into a breakout room, you must first open the room. This can be done by selecting the menu on the room and clicking “Open Room”.

Open breakout room

Once the breakout room has been opened, students will automatically be moved into the room after 10 seconds.

Join a breakout room.

As a meeting organiser, you can jump into any of the breakout rooms. You may wish to do this to ensure students are on track and to answer any questions they have. To join a breakout room, select the menu next to the room and click “Join room”.

Join breakout room

To return to the main meeting, click the “Return” button.
Return to main meeting

Close breakout room.

When you are ready for students to finish working in their groups, you can close the breakout room and students will automatically join the main meeting again. You may wish to do this towards the end of the lesson so groups can share their findings with the rest of the class. To close a breakout room, select the menu next to the room and click “Close room”.

close breakout room

Reduce Your Workload and Deliver Outstanding Home Learning With These Free Webinars

Cloud Design Box is hosting five free virtual events in December and January, especially designed for teachers to help them make the most of Microsoft Teams and deliver outstanding learning to their students.

As Microsoft Global Education Training Partners with CPD-certified courses, we’re delighted to be partnering with two leading technology providers, who specialise in education – Novus and RivaNET.

Novus provides IT services to a wide range of schools, academies and multi-academy trusts, giving them access to market-leading technical services that are proven, dependable and reliable.

Meanwhile, RivaNET specialises in delivering enterprise-grade IT systems to UK independent schools and colleges, enabling them to deliver quality, innovation and excellence.

Below is a description of each event and how you can sign up for free.

Tailored to Secondary Schools and Academies

Best Practices with Microsoft Teams – Tuesday 1 December 2020 1pm-2pm

Delivered in partnership with Novus, our first event has been specially-designed around overworked teachers who are struggling with Teams.

Learn how to eliminate additional work by collaborating on resources in a centralised location.

Department leaders learn how they can free up their staff’s time by using these tried-and-tested best practices.

Centralising Resources and Reducing Workload using Microsoft Teams – Tuesday 19 January 2021 – 2pm-3pm

Focusing on how department leaders can centralise resources in one, accessible location, this session is perfect for those who want to learn more about collaborating in Teams.

The Novus and Cloud Design Box training team guide you through how to best centralise your resources in Teams in a way that reduces teacher workload.

Planning Long Term User Adoption Strategy for Microsoft Teams in Schools and MATs (Multi Academy Trusts) – Tuesday 19 January 2021 – 3pm-4pm

When adopting any new technology, it’s crucial to bring everyone along on the journey with you – not just the tech-savvy members of staff.

Teams is no different. In this session, Novus and the Cloud Design Box training team walk you through how to plan for long-term success with Teams, without leaving anyone behind.

Tailored to Independent Schools

Introduction to Microsoft Teams powered by Cloud Design Box and RivaNET – Thursday 3 December 2020 10am-11am

Blended learning has played a crucial part in providing students with uninterrupted learning this year. The blended approach also provides an effective way of reinforcing face-to-face learning with online resources and interaction.

In this session, discover how to best use Teams to support home learning confidently.

Save time and get more out of Microsoft Teams powered by Cloud Design Box and RivaNET – Thursday 14 January 2021 – 3pm-4pm

For many schools, moving to Teams has been an incredible culture change and also increased the workload of teachers.

This session demonstrates how you can save time and avoid duplicating work when creating quality online resources that can be re-used year after year.

If you sign-up but cannot attend, they will send you a video recording of the session. Feel free to share these links, anyone can sign-up.

Cloud Design Box solutions

In addition to the free events, we have provided some information below about the benefits and features Cloud Design Box add into Teams and SharePoint. If you would like any further information or would like to arrange a demo, visit the website https://www.clouddesignbox.co.uk.

Saving time for teachers

Central Resource areas help teachers reuse department resources from within each class and assignment.

A clear long-term strategy

Our program of rollout, training and follow up provides the school with a long-term strategy to succeed with Microsoft Teams.

Building confidence with new technology

Interactive online CPD certified courses for small groups of staff with a dedicated trainer so staff can gain confidence and embrace a new way of working. Creating and sharing quality resources in the cloud is no longer exclusive to tech-savvy teachers.

Easy-to-use

A global personalised menu for easy clear navigation into Teams and sites, even for beginners.

easy to use

Saving costs for schools

Large long-term savings when refreshing hardware and licensing. Potential to replace other third-party software packages into a single system.

Work with your current Teams or build you new ones

Already have Teams?

If you already have Teams and Microsoft School Data sync through another provider, we can integrate with that data directly without additional MIS integration causing no disruption.

Don’t already have Class Teams?

We can integrate with most UK MIS providers to sync class team membership using Microsoft school data sync.

Features in more detail

Replace school network drives

Create long-term storage areas in Teams and SharePoint for non-curricular shares currently on the school network. Saving costs and getting all the benefits of moving to the cloud.

Staff subject analytics

Ensure no one is left behind using the staff assignment analytic tool. Department leaders can track how often each department is setting assignments.

Staff Subject Analytics

Keep track of departments

Heads of department can easily keep track of the quality of resources being used in classes using centralised resource areas.

Staff department team

One version of the truth

Resources are centralised to avoid duplication of work. No need to upload resources for every class team you teach each academic year!

Students can drop off work

Each student in the class has an individual private folder and the class teacher can provide regular feedback on live documents.

Student Teams drop off folder

Departmental meetings and chat

A place for departments to meet online and share best practices.

Publish resources

A SharePoint intranet to help you publish resources such as policies and news throughout the whole school.

SharePoint intranet

Manage your own Teams

We provide a self-service tool to create teams and sites.

Contact us for a chat:

Email: info@clouddesignbox.co.uk
Website: https://www.clouddesignbox.co.uk/contact
Telephone: 01482 688890

Setting Team Policies for Safeguarding in Education

Before you start to use Teams in school, it is important to consider setting policies for safeguarding to promote the welfare of children and protect them from harm.

Each school must consider their own policies because one size does not fit all. For example, some schools might be comfortable with students direct messaging teachers for help while others will want this communication in a more open space. The school’s behaviour policy should also be taken into consideration. It is therefore important for IT to involve the safeguarding officer when planning out which policies to apply to users.

Microsoft have made it easier to assign policies to users (this was previously done through PowerShell and still is for some policies – see our previous PowerShell post).

Teams Admin Center

We recommend you create a custom policy for both staff and students. Staff will need changes to the policies too otherwise they won’t be able to do things like delete student messages in Teams (see our previous PowerShell post).



It is also important to remember that there isn’t a single policy to manage teams, it is broken up into:

  • Meeting Policies
  • Live Event Policies
  • Messaging Policies
  • Permission Policies (PowerShell applied only)
  • Emergency Policies (PowerShell applied only)
  • Voice Routing Policies
  • Call Park Policies
  • Calling Policies
  • Caller ID Policies (PowerShell applied only)

For each of these policy types, you will find a Global (Org-wide default) policy which will apply to everyone. Any changes to that policy will apply to everyone automatically.

Create a new policy

Create a new policy and give it a name using the “Add” button.

Create Policy

New messaging policy

Apply the policy to a group

Click on the “Group policy assignment” tab (if it’s not visible refer to our PowerShell post).

Group policy assignment tab

Click “Add group”.

Add Group Button

Search for a group and then select a policy before clicking “Apply”.

Apply Teams Policy to Group

This is much easier and quicker than running PowerShell scripts, we hope you find that useful!

Update 11/11/2020: We have been informed that if you set a user’s policy through PowerShell, this group method above may not work for you and you may need to use PowerShell to apply the policy.

A Huge Welcome for Our New Support Technicians

We’ve recently welcomed two new starters to the Cloud Design Box team.

Since March, we have been operating fully remotely, supporting our existing clients, as well as other schools, multi-academy trusts and businesses who need a helping hand transitioning to the cloud.

This increase in demand for remote learning, blended teaching and cloud-based resources has meant a need for us to expand our Support Team.

Abdallah and Steve are our new Support Technicians and will be working to respond and resolve your support tickets.

Abdallah

Abdallah has a passion for learning new technology and, as a good Samaritan, he regularly enjoys supporting deaf individuals at his local youth centre.

“I am excited to work with Cloud Design Box, it’s a great opportunity for me to learn how to build and support this amazing technology,” he says.

“In my previous job, I was a user of SharePoint and it’s simply amazing. Everything you need is in one centralised area and document collaboration makes it a lot easier to create and store files.”

Prior to joining the Cloud Design Box Team, Abdallah worked as an IT Support Analyst for a national care company. He was responsible for supporting thousands of staff across the company.

Abdallah decided to take a break from IT to try and figure out which career path he wanted to take. To his surprise, Cloud Design Box got in touch and we both quickly realised he was perfect for the role.

“The team is fantastic. We’re a small team, but it just goes to show, it’s not about the quantity, but the quality of people,” he adds.

Steve

Steve Hill is also thrilled to jump on board to support schools, academies, multi-academy trusts and businesses.

“I worked in IT support within both education and business for around 20 years,” he says.

“I’m mostly looking forward to learning new things with Microsoft 365, SharePoint and Teams.”

Steve started his career in education in 1999 and moved across to business IT support eight years ago. He’s now supporting both the education and business sector in his role at Cloud Design Box.

Welcoming new members of the team during a pandemic has been challenging, but with the help of Microsoft Teams and SharePoint, we are able to stay connected while working remotely.

Cloud Design Box Team

You can find more about our growing team at www.clouddesignbox.co.uk/about.

Archived Class Teams – Where have they gone?

During the academic year rollover process in Microsoft School Data Sync, schools can choose clean-up actions for their old class teams. The most popular and recommended clean-up action is “Archive”. It’s much easier for teachers and students to see current teams when they login.

The archived teams appear to vanish leaving the user with all the current classes for the new academic year.

However, they have not disappeared, and the teacher/student can still access the team in read-only mode.

In the video below, Darren Hemming from Cloud Design Box shows you how you can access archived classes from previous academic years.



Cloud Design Box customers can benefit from an option in class dashboard to switch back to a previous academic year.

Class Dashboard Archived Teams

Talk to the team at Cloud Design Box if you need help with Teams for education.