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!
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.
Lots of new and exciting features are coming to Microsoft Teams this summer, so get ready for the new academic year in advance and resolve any issues before the students are back.
I’m beginning the process of rolling over the academic year at many schools this month using Microsoft School Data Sync with the Cloud Design Box team. We have come across a few issues along the way. For the administrators out there trying to complete this process on their own, we thought it would be great to share our experience in the form of this video guide taking you through the process.
Before you begin the process, talk to SLT and teachers about the preferred clean-up options.
Expire All Classes
Adds a prefix to the start of the class name in this format: EXPMMYY. If you already prefix your classes with the academic year then there isn’t any reason to run this option.
Archive All Classes (recommended)
Archive makes the Team read-only. Teachers can restore a Team for a class and it will work as it did before. We recommend selecting this option so that teachers don’t have a long list of classes in the new academic year. If you have a course which lasts for two years, teachers can restore the class from the previous year and continue to use it; but it will no longer be updated with live MIS data.
Remove Students from All Classes
This removes students from class notebooks and all student data from assignments. This is non-reversible and therefore we do not recommend this choice.
A few issues to be aware of (which we cover in the video above):
- Some classes will fail to clean-up – you will have to do these manually.
- You may need to refresh the profile page if you get stuck on an error when starting the new term.
- Occasionally a clean-up process may get stuck processing forever. If it lasts longer than 24 hours, log a support call with the Microsoft Education team.
We hope this video helps you out. Please feel free to share your comments, wins and frustrations with the process in the comments below!
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.
Smooth, frictionless user adoption can be tricky.
You’ve decided that Office 365 and SharePoint is right for you. But, there’s the small matter of convincing the rest of your team and getting everyone in your organisation on board.
We’re creating a series of podcasts focusing on real-life user adoption stories, with schools, academies and businesses just like yours.
Our aim is to share and encourage a community resource that will help others who may be struggling with user adoption.
The first episode of this podcast features Tony Phillips, Cloud Design Box Founder, Darren Hemming, our Operations Manager, and Martin Byford-Rew who is the Head of ICT Services at Thomas Deacon Education Trust.
Martin outlines the key challenges he faced when starting to move across to Office 365 and SharePoint, as well as giving some excellent actionable tips on how to roll out the suite across a school, academy or business.
“Our overall vision has been the same throughout the whole process – to move over to the cloud and get everyone to see the value in Office 365 and SharePoint,” Martin tells us.
“However, achieving this has been challenging and we’re still not 100% of the way there. I hope that my experience will help others avoid some of the pitfalls we have fallen down.”
Based in the East Midlands, Thomas Deacon Education Trust is a small but growing organisation with five schools and around 4,000 students. With experience using an on-premise SharePoint solution for several years in one of these schools, Martin has now begun gradually moving everyone over to the cloud. Here’s how he is achieving this:
1. Start at the top.
“We started user adoption from the very top – the board. This involved a very short, concise training session with board members to show them the basic building blocks of Office 365 and SharePoint,” Martin explains.
From there, the ICT team worked their way down the school structure, introducing the technology to each level of the school.
2. Take small, simple steps.
“It’s all about small, quick wins. Teach the ‘ABC’ steps of Office 365 and what you can do with it, instead of overwhelming people with the vast number of features that may not even be useful for them,” he continues.
Martin accomplished this by organising short, 10-minute sessions where he encouraged staff to log in, create and save a file and then share it with a colleague.
“When people see that they can create a document and not physically press save to save a file to OneDrive, they are willing to learn more. Everyone has a memory of the time when they forgot to press save on a document they’ve been working on.”
3. Know your audience.
“There’s no point in presenting a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist. Get to know how your staff work, get to know what their pain points are and offer a resolution from there,” Martin highlights.
“No matter how much training you give someone, if they don’t need to use a feature, they won’t use it.”
By tailoring your training to individuals or small groups of people with a similar job role, you can really get them to understand how the product can help them save time.
Finally, Martin gives some real-life examples of where he has rolled out Office 365 and SharePoint.
1. Parents evening feedback.
Previously, parents would fill out a paper slip, which would then have to be processed and sorted by admin staff. It was a slow process and many parents would forget to complete the forms.
Now, teachers approach parents with an iPad that has four or five questions on. It’s instant feedback and doesn’t require as much time from the admin team.
2. Friday quizzes.
A similar example of how Office 365 and SharePoint has transformed pupils’ learning experiences is with end-of-the-week quizzes.
Again, this was once a paper-based exercise that was time-consuming and unengaging.
Students now answer questions on an iPad or other device and can see their results straight away, as well as compare their progress to their fellow classmates. It gives them an opportunity to take control of their own learning, as well as providing the teacher with insight into how well their class understood the lesson.
Final, takeaway points from Martin on user adoption:
- Keep training short and concise.
- Leadership first and work down.
- Start simple.
- Solve problems.
- Tailor for audience.
- Transformation takes time.
It’s the update that schools have been waiting for. Today Microsoft announced parental access to Microsoft Teams assignments through a regular email digest. This update enables the school to emphasise the importance of homework and provide parents with all the information they need to fully support their children at home.
Below is a preview (real experience may differ) and details are still being released on how this will work
I expect that the teacher will need to enable this option in each class (so that parents don’t get empty updates or lack of content).
School Data Sync (SDS) will now support student contacts as a new CSV upload file. If you manage SDS yourself, this means there will be a new CSV to create and upload. Third party SDS sync providers will soon be able to support this. Parental contacts are optional so no need to rush and upload these. It might be worth waiting a few months to test this before rolling out to all classes and parents (it will give Microsoft time to fix any bugs) and it will give the school chance to cleanse parental data in the school MIS.
Update 26/02/2019: we are just waiting for Microsoft to complete the roll-out of this feature which should be in the next few weeks
Update 01/11/2019: This is finally live – sync your guardians using school data sync.
You can find out more about how we can enhance Office 365 so that it’s really easy for teachers and students to navigate and use. We also focus on user adoption by providing training needs analysis, onsite training workshops and tailored roll-out plans to increase user engagement and get your school off to a flying start. Visit the Cloud Design Box website to find out more.
Rubrics are a powerful tool used to assess students’ work. The criterion helps students to have a concrete understanding and visualisation of what they need to do to achieve a particular score. Each criterion also includes a gradation scale of quality.
Microsoft Teams for education now includes rubric based grading. They can be created and reused across Teams making it a powerful time saving tool for teachers while at the same time helping students understand how to succeed in the assignment.
If you are unfamiliar with Microsoft Team Assignments, please check out our earlier post here.
When setting assignments, you will notice a new “Add Rubric” option.
On this page, you can search for a rubric that has already been created at your school or create a brand new one. In this post, I’m going to go through how to create a new one. Click “new rubric”.
Give the rubric a name and turn on “points” so that we can assign scores to each piece of criteria.
Enter your criteria, you can add more by pressing the plus button. You can also adjust the grading balance for each element. Teams will turn the points into an overall percentage when marking based on the balance given to each criterion.
When you have finished creating your rubric, set the assignment for the students.
When the students have completed the assignment, go to review the work and open the student’s homework. In addition to the comment and grade, you can now select the rubric.
This will show the criteria and you can select which has been met. The student work will be automatically marked based on the grade balance set in the rubric.
This is what the student will see when you have graded their work with the rubric.
It’s another fantastic update to Microsoft Teams for education. There is still more to come this summer including Microsoft Forms integration with self-marking quizzes. We will bring you news and guides on how to use that as soon as it is released!
At Cloud Design Box, our solutions help schools and companies get the best out of SharePoint, Teams and OneNote.
Microsoft Forms are a great way to quickly gather survey results or produce quizzes. It could be testing employees on health and safety in OneNote or it could be setting students a topic quiz in Class Notebook.
In this post, I’m going to go through the steps on how to add a quiz to OneNote.
First, create a new page and call it “Quiz”.
Go to the insert tab in the ribbon and select “Forms”.
Here you will see a list of any forms and quizzes that you previously created in addition to the new options.
Click “New Quiz”.
Microsoft Forms will open in a new tab, give the quiz a title and description.
Click “Add question” and select “Choice”.
Enter a question and all the options, you can press “Add option” to add more answer options.
Next to each answer option, you can provide some feedback for users who select this option using the speech bubble icon (see highlighted below).
Mark the correct answer by selecting the tick icon (see highlighted below).
At the bottom of the question, you can assign points for the correct answer, allow multiple answers and make it a required question.
By pressing the menu (…), you can bring up more options such as shuffling the answers or writing math equations.
You can add more questions by clicking “Add question”. The form will save automatically as you edit it (no save button).
When you have finished creating your quiz, switch the browser tab back to the OneNote file, you will see that the quiz has now appeared in the “My forms” list.
Press the “Insert” button.
Our quiz is now embedded on the page!
When users complete the quiz, they will see their points after pressing submit (with feedback on each question).
The author of the quiz can go back into “Microsoft Forms” via the app launcher (see highlighted below).
They can then see a detailed breakdown of the results with the option to export to Excel.
Microsoft Forms can also be added to SharePoint pages, so you can enhance your intranet with surveys and quizzes!
Microsoft Forms is a great tool in the Office 365 package. By using this tool in your organisation, you could really improve engagement with users.
At Cloud Design Box, our solutions help schools and companies get the best out of SharePoint, Teams and OneNote.
OneNote Class Notebook is free for education users as part of Office 365, it has some additional functionality which isn’t available in standard OneNote files. In this blog post, I want to focus on the additional learning tools available in this version. There is also a video guide for this post below.
How do I get Class Notebooks?
Class Notebooks can be created in a many ways (depending on how your school decides to use Office 365). Class Notebooks can be created from the Class Notebook App, Microsoft Teams or inside SharePoint or OneDrive.
Creating a “Class” in Microsoft Teams will automatically create a Class Notebook for the group.
How are Class Notebooks different to OneNote Notebooks?
Class Notebooks have a section for each student. Each student can see their own section, the teacher resources and the collaboration area. They can’t see other student sections. Logged in as a teacher, you have access to all the student sections.
How do I send distribute an assignment to the students?
Assignments, worksheets or any other hand-outs can be copied into each student’s own section. To distribute a page, the teacher must:
- 1. Create a new page
- 2. Populate the page with what you would like to be sent out to the student (e.g. write an essay on…..)
- 3. In the “Class Notebook” option in the ribbon, select “Distribute Section”
- 4. Select where you would like the page to be sent
How do I review student work?
Class Notebook has a great tool to make it simple to find student work. In the ribbon select “Review Student Work” from the Class Notebook.
From here, you can select a page and switch between students for quick access to their work.
This option is available under the “View” tab.
The immersive reader provides the student with a tool to clearly show text on the page without other distractions (images, formatting, etc). In addition to sharpening the student focus on the text, the tool provides some options to:
- Emphasise syllables, nouns, verbs and adjectives.
- High contrast themes
- Focus on lines or sections of the text
- Read out the text
This is a learning tool that has some good research behind it which suggests that it can be used to improve reading and writing comprehension.
What about formal assignments and homework?
OneNote Class Notebook is a great tool for non-formal work hand-outs. With Microsoft Teams, it can be enhanced to provide formal assignments which can be handed out to students, collected in and graded. We will look at that in the next blog/video post.
Need help setting up Microsoft Teams?
I work for Cloud Design Box and we provide teacher training workshops, support, MIS integration, apps and many other services for Office 365. You can contact us via the website or by email. I hope you have found this blog and video post useful!