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!
Class Notebook has a really nice feature which allows teachers to distribute pages to student sections so that they can work on their own copy of the page. Since we originally looked at this in a previous blog post, Microsoft Teams now supports setting assignments using Class Notebook pages too.
Essentially there are two ways to do the same thing, so which should you choose? We would recommend only using Class Notebook to distribute pages if the work is informal (like class work) and we would recommend setting the assignment through Teams if it’s going to be marked (homework, assignments, etc).
The reason for this is you can collect formal marks and comments in the assignment app that you just can’t do through Class Notebook.
To set an assignment using a Class Notebook page:
Create a new assignment and add the Class Notebook page as a resource. Students will be able to have their own copy of the page that you select.
Select a section to push the page into when the student completes it.
Complete the rest of the assignment form and publish it.
When reviewing student work, you will have the option to annotate the Class Notebook page in addition to adding formal feedback and scores. This gives you the best of both worlds. Simple annotation and feedback on the student work but also a place for formal marks and comments which will become part of an exportable marksheet.
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
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.
I’m going to be at Bett 2018 next week with the Cloud Design Box team, really excited to have some stand space this year with our MIS integration partners SalamanderSoft. Cloud Design Box will be showcasing the best of SharePoint, Class Notebook and Teams integration.
Our stand number is C210, opposite Google on the main corridor leading to the Bett Arena. We even have a seating area and coffee machine if you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of Bett for a while.
Please feel free to pop by and hello to myself, Darren and Lloyd. If you can’t make it, you can sign-up to a webinar so that you don’t miss out on all the exciting Office 365 news and the latest developments.
We will be launching our new SharePoint intranet packages containing features such as:
- Class Dashboard (find all your class data across SharePoint, OneNote and Teams in one easy to access place)
- Modern SharePoint UI Branding (Our slick new branding and navigation interface for the new look SharePoint)
- Team Provisioning and Extensions (We create Teams from MIS data and extend the functionality even further with student folders and class pages)
- SharePoint site automation and templates
- Workflows, training, support and much more!
You can find out more about Cloud Design Box’s products here.
Our partners SalamanderSoft will be showcasing:
- A new free utility ‘Salamander for Apple School Manager’ for uploading data to Apple School Manager directly from your MIS
- Monitor tool for Salamander Active Directory
- Microsoft Teams and School Data Sync including our free utility for uploading data
- Office 365 user and group creation and maintenance, licenses, photos, timetables and more.
- OneNote Class Notebook provisioning and use.
- G-Suite user and group creation and maintenance, licenses, photos, timetables, sites, drive, cloud print and more.
- Google Classroom including guardian and calendar support
- Active Directory user and group creation, maintenance and more.
- Write back of usernames, email addresses and user defined fields into your MIS (where supported by the MIS). Also creation of SIMs system users.
- Support for the above for all UK MISs including Capita SIMS, RM Integris, Progresso, Facility CMIS, iSAMS, WCBS Pass & 3 Sys, Bromcom, Arbor and many overseas ones
You can find out more about Salamander’s products here.
Homework has many benefits for students including learning how to work independently, staying organised and taking responsibility for their part in the educational process. It also gives them a chance to review the lesson and go over the material again.
Assignments give teachers the ability to track student progress and to see if the student understands the lesson content.
Microsoft’s Office 365 now provides another educational tool in their arsenal of productivity apps. Teams is a collaboration tool for your classes with the ability to have discussion threads, document sharing, class notebooks (see my previous post) and assignments.
In this post I’m going to focus on the assignment aspect of teams. You can follow the video guide or the blog post below, I hope this helps you get the most out of Microsoft Teams!
How to view assignments for your class
Inside your class, click on the “Assignments” tab to view a timeline of all the set assignments for this group.
You can select either a horizontal or vertical timeline view of the assignments using the view selector (highlighted yellow below).
How to create a new assignment
To start setting work for students, click the “New assignment” button.
You are then prompted to enter the details of the new assignment
- Assign to: Select which classes to assign to (you can set it to more than one of your classes here!)
- Title: This is the title of the assignment.
- Instructions: Include a description here to help the student complete the assignment.
- Due date and time: When the assignment becomes late (you have the option to allow late hand-in below)
- Late turn-in allowed: If this is enabled, students can still hand-in work after the due date. This is required if you are using class notebook pages.
- Points: Turn this on to allow a mark allocation. Currently these are only available as a number score.
Documents can be added from OneDrive, your computer or from the OneNote Class Notebook. We are hopeful that SharePoint and other class teams will be added to this soon! There are two options for attaching these resources.
Attach reference materials
These documents are for the student to view as part of the assignment. You might include a PowerPoint, links to useful websites, etc.
Specify what students will turn in
Documents uploaded in this section can be edited by the student and submitted back as part of the assignment. This is particularly useful for things like worksheets.
When you have finished the assignment, you can either save it as a draft or assign it to the class. As soon as this is assigned to the class, it will appear in their assignment timeline and they will get a notification on their team mobile and desktop apps.
How to review completed assignments
Use the review button to bring up the assignment timeline and assignment submissions.
Select the relevant assignment from the timeline to show the student work.
Each student has:
- Student work: Links to files that the student has returned.
- Date turned in: The date and time that the student submitted their assignment.
- Feedback: Some written feedback for the student.
- Points: If you have chosen to enable this in your assignment, you can give the student a grade.
Students will not be able to see your feedback or grade until the “Post” button is clicked.
Click the “Export to Excel” button to download a spreadsheet of the assignments.
The grades spreadsheet shows all the assignments set to this class over the school year. It optionally shows grades, if enabled per assignment. No more manual marksheets! You could use this data to import or fill in MIS marksheets quicker.
One of the best ways to engage with students both inside and outside of school using Teams is to encourage them to use the mobile app. Students get instant notifications of any mentions, homework or graded assignments.
Teams automation and customisation
Teams is free for schools, check you have the license enabled to start using it. At Cloud Design Box, we can provision teams from MIS data and create an engaging and simple dashboard to access team data in SharePoint. We can also create student folders inside team sites and extend the experience even further, making it easier and increasing student and teacher engagement. You can find out more information on our website https://www.clouddesignbox.co.uk/.
Over the last few months, we have received lots of positive feedback about the new Microsoft Classroom Preview product. Today Microsoft announced in the Office 365 message centre that this would be replaced at the end of July 2017 with Microsoft Teams for Education.
No need to panic, MS Classroom functionality will still exist but in the Microsoft Teams app (from what we can see from the screenshots). You can still set assignments, create class notebooks, discuss, share files and quizzes but it will all be accessed through the Microsoft Teams interface rather than through the MS Classroom App. There is no news on the Microsoft Classroom mobile app for iOS and Android but hopefully this will be replaced so that students can still get notifications for new assignments and grades.
You may have seen the following message in the Office 365 message centre, notifying you of the change.
On July 31, 2017, we’ll discontinue support for the Microsoft Classroom Preview, as we work to unify our classroom experiences in Microsoft Teams in Office 365 for Education. Since the Microsoft Classroom Preview released, we’ve been very thankful for schools’ feedback from around the world; which has helped us improve benefits and features of the service. Ultimately, we learned to keep it simple and put classroom resources all in one place. We listened and we’re bringing the best of the classroom features (e.g., Assignments and OneNote Class Notebook) to Microsoft Teams in Office 365 for Education.
How does this affect me?
– Microsoft Classroom Preview will continue with current functionality until July 31, 2017. – Teachers will not be able to create new notebooks or assignments after the July 31, 2017. – Current classes and associated content will continue to be available as Office 365 Groups. Teachers can access assignment resources, files, calendars, and conversations, through tools such as Microsoft Outlook and SharePoint Online. If necessary, they can copy Class Notebook content to their personal workspace (e.g. OneDrive for Business). – When the new class experiences become available in Teams, School Data Sync will start creating the new classes for Microsoft Teams. SDS will continue to sync existing Microsoft Classroom Preview classes through July 31, 2017.
What do I need to do to prepare for this change?
We apologise for any inconvenience resulting from this transition. We encourage you to try out Microsoft Teams, and get yourself familiar with the Teams experience. Please click Additional Information to learn more.
School Data Sync has now moved to general availability. Currently this allows users to get data into Microsoft Classroom but does have limitations and can create a considerable overhead when providing the import data.
I’ve produced a quick video below looking at School Data Sync and what is means for UK schools. Hope you find it useful.
UPDATE – 31/03/2017
There has recently been some third party free tools released to automate the creation of these spreadsheets. This is another step in the right direction and hopefully there will be some free tools in the next few months to sync data directly into SDS.
The SDS data can also be used for the new Intune for Education released in April 2017.