Tag Archives: Independent School

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

How to Get Everyone in Your School Confidently Using Microsoft Teams – A Guide to Long-Term User Adoption for Schools

The main challenge schools, academies and multi academy trusts face when rolling out a new technology or platform is user adoption.

Typically, a core group of tech-savvy teachers and staff embrace the new technology, while others are left behind.

This results in various, separate solutions being used within the school, with learning resources scattered across different places and servers and – ultimately – your school not making the most of the technology it has invested in.

But the key reason for this isn’t usually the platform or technology itself. Instead, it’s a lack of a clear, long-term plan and strategy.

Switching to a brand-new technology isn’t easy; it’s a significant change for all involved. But we must make sure that we bring everyone along together on the journey to ensure higher user adoption and avoid leaving anyone behind.

Of course, a further problem has also been born in 2020. Covid-19.



Many schools were forced to adopt tools like Microsoft Teams and SharePoint for short-term gains due to school closures and remote teaching.

While this placed a plaster over the problem and gave students the short-term support they needed to learn from home temporarily, the rushed approach didn’t take into consideration the potential long-term impact of the technology.

We now need to take a step back and think about a long-term strategy so that the technology you’ve invested in serves your staff and students for years to come.

Moving to the cloud isn’t brand new for 2020. Schools have been adopting Teams and SharePoint to reap the benefits of centralised resources, lower server costs and enhanced learning for years.

Whether you already have Teams and SharePoint, or if you’re new to cloud-based learning, now is the time to implement a long-term strategy for your new technology. And here’s how you can do that.

  • Communicate your vision to the school.
  • Give key people ownership over the project.
  • Set a long-term plan.
  • Set milestones and key dates.
  • Deliver hands-on training.
  • Measure your success and resolve issues.
  • Adjust, adapt and adopt.

The User Adoption Journey

Communicate your vision to the school.

Introduce the new technology to your staff to let them know what your vision is and what the new way of working will look like.

It’s crucial to outline your key reasons for switching to the new technology by explaining clearly the benefits to the school, to staff and to students. Weaving it into your school ethos and culture further strengthens your argument and helps to get more people on board with the idea.

Three things to keep in mind when communicating your vision:

  • What does the new reality look like?
  • What are the benefits to the school?
  • How does this fit in with the school ethos and culture?

Here’s an example of how a school has tied in their new technology with their school ethos:

School Vision

Give key people ownership over the project.

Select a group of champions who work with you on the project to help with the planning stage and drive user adoption within their department.

This stage is important because having representatives from each area of the school not only enables them to have a sense of ownership over the product but also encourages other staff members to use the technology as it rolls out.

A typical project team might look like this:

Project Team:

  • Curriculum representatives for Teaching and Learning.
  • MIS Manager.
  • Head of Digital Strategy.
  • IT Support Team.

What do they do:

  • Plan and own product.
  • Showcase benefits to staff.
  • Provide training support.

Department Champions:

  • Curriculum Lead from each department.

What do they do:

  • Drive usage in their departments.
  • Showcase benefits.
  • Provide cascaded training.

Set a long-term plan.

The planning stages are vital to save time, money and ensure the new technology works well for everyone who will be using it.

Use spreadsheets to map out what you need the software to do for your school.

For SharePoint, a central space is essential to avoid unnecessary duplication of work and files, scattered resources and information siloes.

It’s easy to fall into the habit of everyone creating their own sites, with no central governance, and we’ve found this has been a common problem for schools who were compelled to rush adoption as a response to coronavirus.

If this sounds like you, don’t panic. Now is your chance to get everything in order and avoid more work in the future.

The key concept to keep in mind when planning is to think about the long term and how you can scale up your use of this technology year after year.

Here is an example of how a simple plan for SharePoint for schools might look like:

SharePoint home page.

Whether you’re a member of staff or a student, you can access published news and information about the school here.

Communication sites.

Sites for publishing information to large groups of people. Content is there to be consumed, rather than co-authored – for example, staff briefings, library services and policy documents.

Non-curriculum teams.

Secure areas only accessible to small groups of people who need access. For example, finance and administration .

It’s essential to keep this a flat, simple structure that is easy to scale up.

Subject sites.

All of your long-term resources are stored here. It’s a central place that has resources stored so they can be used year after year.

There’s a tendency to use Class Teams for this, which works for one academic year, but as soon as that ends, teachers need to duplicate all the content to another Class Team.

Storing all resources in SharePoint not only reduces the duplication of work, but also unlocks further opportunities. Departments can share resources, co-author documents and Heads of Departments can check the quality of the learning resources.

Teams.

Used for collaborating and communicating with other people. For example, department groups, the finance team and Class Teams.

One crucial thing to remember is you don’t have to get it right first time. It’s a process, and by listening to feedback, you’re able to build a solution that works for everyone in your school.

SharePoint education megamenu

Set milestones and key dates.

User adoption doesn’t happen overnight. There’s no quick fix, and it’s an ongoing process.

Break up your long-term plan into milestones, helping users have something to aim for, as well as to celebrate progress.

For example, it could be that you set your file servers to read-only by a specific date, allowing staff to have a deadline for when they need to move their resources to the cloud.

Three things to remember when setting milestones:

  • Be realistic – it’s not going to happen overnight.
  • Be flexible – milestones can be pushed back or brought forward, depending on your school and staff.
  • Get feedback – listen to your users and adapt your approach.

Deliver hands-on training.

Support staff by delivering quality, hands-on training.

Avoid one huge webinar presentation and get people involved using the software.

Deliver training to small groups, not everyone at once. Think about how you’d teach a lesson to students.

Split up teaching and non-teaching staff to tailor the sessions as much as possible to the audience. Teaching staff need to know about some features that non-teaching staff won’t use – for example, Assignments in Teams.

Grouping by ability helps to make sure no one gets left behind, and you’re not training staff on tools and features they’re already confident using.

Three things to keep in mind when delivering training:

  • Don’t train once and stop there, refreshers might be needed.
  • Be open to feedback and adapt your process.
  • Do your students need training too?

If you’re stuck on where to get started with training, we have some free training videos that are specifically geared towards schools.

Measure your success and resolve issues.

Evaluate your progress and measure user adoption as you move through your plan.

You can do this by getting feedback from staff and regularly talking to your champions to spot any barriers and challenges users are facing.

Microsoft Forms is a great way to do this. You can create a quick survey to see what areas you need to improve on. And, with Microsoft Teams , you can see who is using the software and – more crucially – who isn’t.

Three areas to monitor when you measure user adoption:

  • The key challenges people are facing.
  • The features that aren’t being used by staff.
  • The staff/departments who aren’t using the software.

At Cloud Design Box, we have our own analytic dashboard to help keep track of teacher user adoption with Teams assignments.

Cloud Design Box Teams Insights

Adjust, adapt and adopt.

Once you have collected feedback and data showing your user adoption progress, it’s essential to adjust and adapt your process to suit your school’s needs.

This is different for every school, but for example, it might be that you need to adjust training to suit the ability of your staff, or, alternatively, focus on a specific area where a large percentage of staff are struggling.

Three keys things to keep in mind when adjusting your process:

  • Be realistic.
  • Don’t be afraid to go back.
  • Keep checking user adoption and adapt accordingly.

User Adoption Cycle

By staying realistic, setting clear goals and adjusting your process, you’ll be able to get everyone on board with your new technology.

Do you need help with user adoption or a Teams solution that helps save teacher time? Contact us for a chat:

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

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

Class Team Cheat Sheet for Teachers

Are you new to Teams or not quite sure about the right places to do things?

We have created a simple overview below for some of your key educator actions!

Class Teams Cheat Sheet

1. Posts

Have group discussions, video calls and praise students. Great for communicating with your class.

2. Files

Individual student work folders for any work that requires constant feedback between student and teacher throughout the academic year (e.g. class work or coursework).

3. Class Notebook

A student exercise book. Each student has their own section and can create pages with content (just like a real-life exercise book). The teacher can see all students section and can virtually stick their head over the student’s shoulder to see what they have written in their exercise book. There is also a content library for the teacher to add notes.

4. Assignments

Set assessed work, hand out work to students, collect submissions and mark.

5. Grades

This is a grade book linked to the assignments. See all the assignments set throughout an academic year or all the assignments set for an individual student throughout the academic year.

6. Long term resources

Access long term student facing resources in your centralised resource bank. Saves time by not having to upload your resources into each class that you teach and share resources with your department. Department heads can check on the quality of these centralised resources.

7. Insights (optional – add as tab)

Measure student engagement with statistics.

8. Breakout Groups (optional – add as channels)

Create breakout groups so students can work together on projects. These can be private channels on visible by the students added or open to the whole class.

Additional functionality

Please note that the student folders and long term resource tab is a feature provided by Cloud Design Box to help save teachers time and make it easier to work in Class Teams automated from MIS (SIS) data. You can contact us here.

Office 365 User Adoption Podcast Episode 6 – Conversations in the Classroom with Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams is a great collaboration tool and can be used to extend the classroom. In our latest podcast, Tony and Darren from Cloud Design Box discuss the real benefits of using Microsoft Teams in the classroom. This time we are focusing on the conversation aspect.

Communication is central to good lessons and learning in the classroom. That could be teacher to student, or it could be students working together in the class. Teams allows this communication to happen anywhere by extending the classroom.



The Invisible Child

In every class there are students who are shy or lack confidence to answer questions in the classroom. Although they may know the answer, they never raise their hand in class – so their classmates may never know the understanding and passion that person has for a topic. Other students simply prefer to draft and research an answer a little bit before they share it.

Microsoft Teams conversations gives these students a voice and helps the classroom become more inclusive. The same students who didn’t have the confidence to speak in front of the class can contribute to discussions via a digital platform.

Threads in Conversations

Controlling Conversations

Having class Teams with open conversations can be a concern for teachers. There are ways to control this which we will look at next but it’s worth remembering that everything is audited in Office 365 including conversations so this is a much safer place for students to engage than outside of the school on social media and other platforms.

If you are not ready to use Teams conversations with your class or want them to use it at limited times (such as in lessons), then you can mute individuals or the whole class using the mute settings.

muting students in Microsoft Teams

In the next user adoption podcast, we will look at the other aspects of Teams including files, Class Notebook, assignments and SharePoint integration.