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.
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.
Guest post by Courtney Farrow with video by Tony Phillips
With 98% of classrooms now using computers, laptops and tablets, it’s safe to say that digital learning is here to stay.
However, many teachers still find themselves chained to their desktop computers, whiteboards and paper notebooks, unable to invest time and energy into making lessons more engaging, diverse and dynamic.
Does this sound familiar?
If so, Digital Ink in Microsoft’s Class Notebook could transform the way you teach.
Combining the traditional hand-written word with the power of digital technology, Digital Ink has improved the quality of the curriculum for 90% of teachers who have used it.
On top of this, schools say that Digital Ink saves time, increases engagement and class management, creates more personalised learning environments where students can get authentic, timely feedback from their teachers.
Today, we’re taking a closer look at some of the proven benefits of Digital Ink in the classroom.
One of the main advantages of Digital Ink is that it saves time, which will probably be music to every teacher’s ears.
In fact, 67% of teachers who used the product said that it saved them precious time when preparing lessons, allowing them to access pre-prepared resources quickly, without having to redraw or re-write everything the class needs to see on a whiteboard.
One teacher explained:
“When I taught geometry and got to the question that nobody in the class understood, I had to stop the lesson and draw on the whiteboard. It took five minutes, and then I had to add labels. Only after all this, could I finally start talking about how to solve it.”
With Digital Ink, any lesson resources can be prepared in advance and reused over and over again, without having to erase and recreate it the next time you cover the topic.
Meanwhile, half of teachers have found that it saves time marking and grading pupils’ work. There will be more detail on student feedback with Digital Ink later in this blog post.
Improve the quality of lessons by unchaining the teacher from their desk
Most teachers who have used Digital Ink have said that it allows them to be anywhere in the classroom – without being tied to the front desk – enabling them to manage the class and engage the students in the work that’s appearing on the smartboard.
Thanks to the connectivity between student and teacher devices, children can be interacting with what is being displayed on the smartboard within seconds.
A more personalised learning environment.
Real-time collaboration between students and their teachers allows learning to continue outside of the classroom.
Around 50% of teachers have said that the technology increases the quality of communications with students.
Authentic and timely student feedback
Because of increased communication in and outside of the classroom, digital ink has transformed the way teachers give feedback to pupils.
You can quickly and easily annotate a piece of work, feeding back to students instantly and supporting them when they need it, rather than days after they need it.
As with all Microsoft Office 365 products, everything is saved automatically and in one place. One key benefit several teachers have pointed out is that Digital Ink lets teachers give feedback during the school day, or even during the actual lesson, rather than waiting until they get home.
In the video below, Cloud Design Box Founder Tony Phillips walks you through some critical uses of Digital Ink in the classroom, including student feedback and annotations, ink-to-text capability and solutions and steps for Math equations.
*All statistics and research mentioned in this blog post was taken from Digital Ink in the Classroom – Authentic, Efficient Student Engagement, an IDC InfoBrief, sponsored by Microsoft. IDC conducted a research study with 685 teachers who are using computers in the classroom to understand their classroom technology usage, and specifically how they are using Digital Inking devices.
In our Office 365 User Adoption Podcast this month, Tony and Darren from Cloud Design Box talk about the benefits of tagging resources and discuss metadata vs folders.
Why should we tag?
SharePoint search is great out-of-the-box. It’s intelligent and searches not just the title of the document but also inside the contents.
As people use search more and more as the main way to discover documents in Office 365, adding extra dimensions to the data you have already have can help users with more specific searches.
For example, in an education setting, we might tag resources with a Key Stage, Year Group and Subject. This helps the user, not only search in the context of the library but also across the entire organisation. It can help you find documents that are not always in the location you expect.
There is also the fact that folder structures can get complex and messy. That is something you can’t always control. However, a good tagging structure means you can create additional views to strip out all the folders and show documents grouped together by exam board.
Take a look at the image below. This is the same library which is shown above but with the folders removed and grouped by tag. It makes it much easier to find all the exam board resources and groups them neatly.
Folders vs Tagging
Folders and tagging work well together. Users need a visual structure to store their documents, it helps with user adoption as this is familiar to most users as a file share. However, adding the extra dimensions using tags give you the benefits of better search and grouped views.
How easy is it to tag?
It’s really easy to tag in SharePoint Online. Follow our guide to learn how to bulk tag your documents.
How far do we go with tagging?
If you are tagging resources with a field that users will never use to search, then it’s probably not worth using that field. We recommend not using mandatory fields. This usually provides a poor experience as it may check out documents or stop some of the collaboration features in SharePoint Online.
If you are considering mandatory tagging or if you are worried you have added too many fields to tag. Setup the fields as optional and see if users make use of the tags. People should use it because they want to use it and if it’s useful to them. If it’s not useful and if people are not using it then it shouldn’t be there.
In this video, I explore the new announcement feature in Microsoft Teams. It’s part of a big education release this summer, we will keep you posted on the latest developments!
You know how much Office 365 could transform your school or academy, but how do you convince the rest of the staff and student body?
Getting everyone on board with a new concept or piece of software is a challenge for all organisations, but by sharing experiences, we can learn from others who have been in our shoes.
That’s why we have created this podcast series, highlighting real-life user adoption stores for SharePoint and Office 365 for Education.
In this episode, we speak to Duncan Thurlow, a Science Teacher and Whole School IT Coordinator at Whitley Bay High School in North Tyneside.
Cloud Design Box Founder Tony Phillips and Darren Hemming, our Operations Manager, find out more about some of the methods Whitley Bay has used to encourage staff and students to embrace the cloud-based service.
“When you introduce anything new, there are always hurdles,” Duncan tells us. “It’s a case of upskilling across the whole school; teachers, admin staff and the pupils.”
Duncan describes how on the first day of the new year, staff attended a training session that outlined some of the basics of Office 365 and SharePoint.
“From day one, we set it as the standard home page, so everyone would hit it on a daily basis. It’s about getting people into the habit of storing documents in the cloud and using the quick links that Cloud Design Box set for the landing page.”
This was followed by a series of drop-in sessions and then a recap workshop in January, where staff could ask questions and explore some of the features in more depth.
“We were careful to set out a strict structure for certain things, such as file storage. For example, we disabled saving to USB sticks in some areas in order to promote the cloud. However, we also gave our staff the freedom to choose how they used it within their specific departments,” Duncan points out.
‘All different, but all equal’ is at the heart of the Whitley Bay ethos:
“It runs throughout our school, from staff to students.”
Duncan believes the key is to discover the hook for each department, whether it’s accessing shared resources outside of school hours for teaching staff, collecting responses quickly on Microsoft Forms for admin staff, or sending out bulletin alerts for the pastoral team.
“Forcing people to move their entire workflow to the cloud only causes frustration, annoyance and – ultimately – resentment. We don’t want that. We want people to use these tools to enhance the learning for our pupils,” he adds.
A long-term approach has been crucial for user adoption at Whitley Bay.
“There has to be a strong sense of commitment with anything you introduce into a school. Be consistent and think about the bigger picture.” Duncan continues.
“Concentrate on one or two things you’d like to achieve in the first twelve months. For us, this was access from home and file collaboration. A slow and steady transition to this feature-rich product receives a much more positive response compared to a rushed, forced move to the cloud.”
If you want to find out more about how Cloud Design Box can help you implement a digital strategy to move to the cloud, visit our website: https://www.clouddesignbox.co.uk/education
We understand that seamless user adoption of Office 365 and SharePoint can prove tricky, with many hurdles to jump before your whole organisation is fully on board.
That’s why we’re creating a series of podcasts focusing on real-life user adoption stories, with schools, academies and businesses just like yours.
The second episode features Tony Phillips, Cloud Design Box Founder, and Gareth Rose, Assistant Headteacher at Notley High School & Braintree Sixth Form.
Gareth’s experience with user adoption in schools is unique as he has already been through the process of rolling out Office 365, Teams, SharePoint and Class Notebook at his former workplace, Dagenham Park Church of England School.
We spoke with Gareth to find out what tools and techniques he is going to reuse when introducing the Microsoft suite to the staff and pupils at Notley High School.
“My first piece of advice is to get people to become champions of the product. Get the RE teacher to understand the value in putting all their class resources online and show the Music teacher how pupils can annotate in OneNote,” Gareth enthuses.
Starting out with small, basic tasks, Gareth got to know the main pain points of departments and the word spread from there.
“You can see the spark in their eyes when you’ve saved them 20 minutes of time using a basic feature of Office 365.”
Give them no choice.
“A very quick win is changing everyone’s home page to the staff or pupil SharePoint. This gets people familiar with the technology and helps them to become comfortable with using it in the future,” Gareth continues.
“Make it so it’s the only way to access some resources, such as the lunchtime duty rota. When people start to see how beneficial it is to have one calendar that is regularly updated, rather than multiple emails with multiple versions, they begin to gain confidence in the system.”
From here, Gareth explains, the word ‘SharePoint’ was being banded around the staffroom and uttered in staff meetings. By getting people to engage with the platform, you can raise their confidence when it comes to moving more activities across to Office 365.
Have an open-door policy.
“Of course, giving people only one choice when accessing certain documents is risky. But, explain to people, if they have any issues, they can come and see you,” he points out.
“At Dagenham Park, I would sit in with teachers on the first few lessons to get them and their pupils properly set up. In a couple of sessions, teachers and students were writing digital notes and recording their voices in French – incredible to see.”
Working with members of staff and pupils in this way also allows you to understand the many ways in which Office 365 and SharePoint can help enhance the teaching and learning experience.
“After this, it’s kind of like a rolling stone,” Gareth highlights.
“I can see a time in the future where all pupils have iPads. We’ve seen schools hand out devices to their students, but without an ecosystem in which they can actually use them in. What we’re building here is an environment where everyone is on board and using the features of Office 365 to their full potential.”
Final, takeaway points from Gareth:
- Create and identify champions of Office 365 and SharePoint.
- Get to know ways in which individuals and departments could benefit from using the suite.
- Change the homepage and make some resources available only on SharePoint.
- Be prepared to offer support and answer any questions people have.
- Design an ecosystem in which people can use Office 365.
If you have any questions about user adoption, or how Office 365 and SharePoint could transform your workspace, school or academy, please get in touch with Cloud Design Box today.
Microsoft Forms quizzes can now be assigned to students in Microsoft Teams for education. These are auto-marked and the results are fed automatically into the teachers markbook. Find out how to use this new functionality in the video below.
You can find out more about how we can integrate Microsoft Teams, SharePoint and Class Notebook into an easy-to-navigate class dashboard by visiting the Cloud Design Box website.
Class teams are now available inside Microsoft Teams. These are created automatically using School Data Sync (SDS) or can be created manually in the Teams interface.
Teams is a great collaboration interface that pulls together instant messaging, videos calls, SharePoint, OneNote and assignments into one place. It can also be extended with custom tabs.
I’ve created a quick video review below.
There are some similarities to Microsoft Classroom, however some functionality is different. A few issues with Class Notebooks in Teams:
- Student sections menu not visible
- Missing the Class Notebook tab to distribute pages and sections
- Immersive reader option missing from view tab
You can get around these issues by opening the Team’s SharePoint site and clicking “Notebook” inside SharePoint. Hopefully Microsoft will be quick to resolve these issues.
Microsoft Classroom had a mobile app for Android and iOS which gave students notifications when new assignments were posted or graded. It also allowed students to set reminders for homework. The Teams mobile app does not include the assignment section at all so no notifications for students or teachers. The assignments are not visible on mobile devices. Again, this is early days and I expect Microsoft to release this functionality in the not too far future.