Tag Archives: Microsoft 365

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.



How To Achieve More With Breakout Rooms In Microsoft Teams (Microsoft 365 User Adoption Podcast Episode 13)

Breakout rooms in Microsoft Class Teams launched in January 2021, allowing teachers to create sub-meetings within the main class meeting for students to work together in small groups and discuss their learning.

In this discussion, we’ve included everything you need to know about breakout rooms in Teams, from how to set them up to safeguarding and saving time.




Listen on Spotify

How To Set Up Breakout Rooms In Class Teams

It’s straightforward to set up breakout rooms in Class Teams.

You can set up a breakout room once the meeting is open in the desktop app by selecting the breakout room button.

start teams breakout room

We have a step-by-step guide on setting up breakout rooms in Class Teams here.

The teacher can manually allocate each student to a specific breakout room or allow Teams to decide automatically. It’s entirely your choice – many teachers prefer to manually assign students, but it might be quicker to randomly assign everyone.

Once a breakout room is open, the students are placed into the room after 10 seconds. Breakout rooms can also be renamed.

How To Save Time Setting up Breakout Rooms in Class Teams

Currently, breakout rooms cannot be pre-planned and must be created while you’re in a Class Teams meeting. However, there are several ways to get around this.

The first is to open the meeting early and set out the rooms, then exit the meeting until you need to return, i.e. at the time of the class.

The second is to create recurring meetings for your lessons. Once you set up your breakout rooms in your first recurring meeting, it’ll save those rooms and reallocate the same students to the rooms for the next lesson.

reoccurring mreeting

How To Structure Breakout Rooms in Class Teams

The structure of your breakout rooms depends largely on how you teach your class. Here are some common examples:

  • Pairs or small groups.
  • Mixed ability groups.
  • Small groups with a teaching assistant.
  • Similar ability groups – i.e. red table, yellow table.

Think about how you structure your physical classroom and how you would group together students and apply this to the online classroom.

Ideas for Breakout Rooms in Class Teams.

Like with real-life group work in schools, breakout rooms are a great way to engage students in a different way that simply listening to the lesson and completing individual tasks.

Our Teaching and Learning consultant Darren Hemming was formerly a Modern Foreign Languages Teacher and has some ideas on how he’d use breakout rooms to enhance learning:

“One way is to set up a jigsaw activity, where each group takes a specific area or topic and completes questions or a task around that topic. Each group can then be brought back into the main Class Teams lesson to present to the rest of the class,” says Darren.

“There’s also the possibility of putting students into groups to complete individual work, but the breakout room is there as a co-working space. So the students can be working on their tasks, whether that’s completing a set of questions or doing some artwork, and if they get stuck, they can ask for peer support.”

Darren also points out that breakout rooms are a great way to reduce distractions on a students’ screen. If their screen is filled with 30 people, they may be less likely to contribute and also get distracted by their whole class staring virtually back at them.

Smaller groups mean fewer distractions and a less daunting environment to ask questions and contribute.

Safeguarding Students in Class Teams Breakout Rooms.

Safeguarding issues, inappropriate behaviour and cyberbullying are common concerns among teachers and staff who are dipping their toes into the world of breakout rooms.

“Firstly, you need to set expectations and communicate with both students and parents about what type of behaviour is acceptable during online learning,” Darren adds.

“Whether students are being taught online or in the classroom, safeguarding issues crop up. But there are some ways teachers can use the technology to closely monitor what’s happening within each room, as well as encourage them to stay on task.”

Teachers can hop in and out of the breakout rooms unannounced, and by doing this regularly, you can make sure students are staying on track.

Breakout rooms can also be recorded, which may help deter students from getting distracted or behaving inappropriately. To do this, teachers need to join the breakout room and hit record, but when they leave the breakout room, Teams will continue recording.

Another step to take in terms of safeguarding is updating your online learning policy to include Class Teams and breakout rooms.

“It’s all about being clear with your students that the expectations online are exactly the same as they would be on school premises,” says Darren.

Keeping Students On Task in Class Teams Breakout Rooms.

The methods mentioned above on safeguarding in breakout rooms can also be applied to keep students on task and steer them away from distractions and off-topic conversations.

A key way to keep students on task in breakout rooms is to keep the sessions short. By injecting a bit of urgency into the breakout rooms – i.e. only opening them for a few minutes at a time, you can make sure students are focusing on the task and not getting bored, going off-topic.

“It’s difficult to discipline students if they’re behaviour isn’t appropriate when teaching an online class. But you can always take them out of a breakout room (or the main Class Teams area) and into a breakout room with only you and talk to them about their behaviour,” Darren suggests.

“Of course, if the behaviour becomes an ongoing issue, you can then decide to take it further through the usual processes of your school, whether that would be to talk to their form tutor, head of house and eventually parents/guardians.”

Other Things To Remember About Class Teams Breakout Rooms.

Here are some additional tips you need to know about breakout rooms in Class Teams:

  • When a student enters a breakout room, their mic is unmuted and they have the ability to share their screen and present. But when they re-enter the main lesson, they are muted and can no longer present.
  • Recordings of individual breakout rooms are only shared with the specific participants, not everyone in the class. The teacher can access them, if needed, via OneDrive.
  • Reminders and time warning messages can be sent by the teacher to all breakout rooms to communicate with the class.

How To Manage Class Cover in Microsoft Teams with Cloud Design Box

Schools are currently facing additional challenges when managing class cover as a result of a teacher being absent due to sickness, needing to self-isolate or be re-deployed to teach key worker students.

Cloud Design Box has created a solution that allows schools to quickly and easily organise class cover, making sure the member of staff has temporary access to the right learning resources and Class Team within seconds.

Here’s how to get started with our Class Cover Manager tool:

Select a member of staff to temporarily assign them to a Class Team. This is usually a member of the leadership team or another user with permissions.

Select teacher and class to cover

The next step is to set a date for when the teacher needs to be removed from this Class Team. For example, if they are covering during a teacher’s 10-day isolation period.

Select a date for the cover to end

Selecting Save immediately gives access to the chosen member of staff to have access to that Class Team. This enables them to teach the class and access the correct learning resources until they are automatically removed from the Class Team on the chosen date.

The current class cover is displayed in the Existing Cover log.

Existing Cover

Previously, this could be achieved through the school MIS, however, with the current circumstances, we knew that schools needed a more flexible and accessible option.

Our Class Cover Manager is rolling out throughout February for our Silver, Gold and Platinum customers. If you’re one of these schools, you don’t need to do anything, the feature will appear in your portal shortly.


If you have any questions on how to manage class cover and achieve more with blended learning in Microsoft Teams, please contact a member of our team today.

Watch the class cover video guide below:



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 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

Helping Microsoft Teams and SharePoint Work Better for your Teachers, School and MAT – Free Webinars and Training

Arbor MIS is partnering with Cloud Design Box to host three free training sessions specially designed for schools, academies and multi academy trusts who are using, or planning to use, Microsoft Teams to deliver blended learning for their students.



Click here to register for any of our three sessions

Arbor MIS works with over 1,250 primary, secondary and special schools in the UK, making it one of the fastest-growing MIS communities in the country. Helping staff accomplish more, work collaboratively and stay connected on the cloud, Arbor works closely with the Department of Education and Local Authorities to provide tools that save schools time and money.

We work with Arbor to help our customers enjoy more flexibility to set work, collaborate and share resources for their classes; their technology and data helps us to provide access to Class Teams, Class Notebook and centralised subject Teams through an easy-to-use class dashboard.

We’re thrilled to offer three sessions that will take place on Teams across two days, from Tuesday 24 to Wednesday 25 November.

Planning Long Term User Adoption of Microsoft Teams in Schools and MATs

The first session, taking place at 10am on the Tuesday will centre around helping schools with user adoption and planning for the long-term.


Planning Long Term User Adoption of Microsoft Teams in Schools and MATs

It’s perfect for you if you have already adopted Teams but need a hand getting students and staff on board and using the technology. We’ll discuss ways in which you can get started, as well as how you can develop a long-term plan to make the most out of the suite of tools.

Cloud Design Box hosted this at the Department for Education’s EdTech Festival earlier in 2020 and it went down well with school leaders and MATs who needed a clear plan of action to succeed with the software.

Blended Learning for Primary Schools with Microsoft Teams

Specifically built for Primary Schools, this webinar will provide you with a solid foundation of using Teams to deliver learning in and outside of the classroom, for example, using Class Notebook to host and online lesson and making the most out of the conversation features in Teams. This session will take place at 3pm on Tuesday 24 November.


Blended Learning for Primary Schools with Microsoft Teams

Centralising Resources and Reducing Teacher Workload using Microsoft Teams

We know this year has been tough on teachers, who have had to quickly increase their workload to provide digital and online resources for their classes.


Centralising Resources and Reducing Teacher Workload using Microsoft Teams

Tuesday afternoon’s session has been developed with overworked teachers in mind, who are struggling with Teams. We’ll show you some time-saving ways that you can centralise and improve your resources with Teams. This session will take place at 1pm on Wednesday 25 November.


All our webinars are open to anyone working within a school, academy or multi-academy trust. To sign up for any of the sessions, please fill out this form with your details and you’ll be send an email invite to join us in November.

Setting up Microsoft Class Teams quickly with SDS to prepare for coronavirus school closures

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:

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.


Cloud Design Box

Office 365 User Adoption Podcast Episode 10 – Virtual Lessons using Microsoft Teams

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.

Lesson Recording in Microsoft Steam

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.