Tag Archives: Student

Free webinar: Achieve more in Teams as a MAT with Cloud Box

Cloud Design Box is hosting a free virtual event for Multi Academy Trusts (MATs) to demonstrate how our Cloud Box package can help streamline teaching processes, enhance learning resources and save teacher time using Microsoft Teams and SharePoint. 

The one-hour session takes place on Wednesday 23 June 2021 from 11am until 12pm and runs through a demo of our Microsoft 365 product – Cloud Box – looking at how trusts can set up Teams in a way that creates centralised, long-term resources that all schools in the trust can use year after year. 

Sign up to Achieve more in Teams as an MAT with Cloud Box

Cloud Design Box recently worked with the Fallibroome Trust, which is made up of 10 schools, including primary, secondary and academy-status schools. 

“As the trust grows, our need to be able to collaborate across schools increases and Microsoft is helping us do this,” says Stuart Stuart Carvell, Assistant Head at Eaton Bank Academy, which is part of the Fallibroome Trust.

“Before using Microsoft, we were so used to sending different versions of files, but now we have the ability to co-author the same documents at the same time. We are building resource libraries and thinking of them as long-term resources that we can use year after year.” 

See what Stuart had to say about Microsoft Teams for his MAT:



Delivered through Teams, the session welcomes anyone who is working in a Multi Academy Trust (MAT), whether you’re brand new to Microsoft 365 or have already started using the tools. 

Built around the concept of centralising learning resources and data, the Cloud Box package helps organisations to implement a long-term plan to reduce costs, save time and make the most of the software. 

Thanks to staff training, support and user adoption metrics, no one in your organisation is left feeling unconfident with the new tools and can start using them in ways that really help them in their everyday roles. 

Meanwhile, students have more control over their learning, with the ability to access resources and materials on any connected device, as well as receive real-time feedback from their teachers. 

To learn more about how Cloud Design Box can help your MAT, sign up for the free one-hour session on Achieve more in Teams as a MAT with Cloud Box on Wednesday 23 June.

Track Students’ Reading Progress in Microsoft Class Teams

Reading Progress is a tool in Microsoft Class Teams that supports teachers in tracking their students’ reading fluency and progress. The feature allows students to record themselves reading assigned passages and automatically generates data based on their performance. 

In this guide, we show you how to set up Reading Progress and tailor it to your marking and grading style. 

Note: Reading Progress is currently in the beta phase and due to be released August/Summer 2021.

Watch the full demo by Microsoft here:



How to set up Reading Progress in Microsoft Class Teams. 

Go to your Class Team and head to the Assignments tab. 

Select Create to open a drop-down menu. Select Assignment to create a new assignment. 

Reading Progress in Microsoft Class Teams

In New Assignment, fill out the details of your assignment, such as the title and instructions.

Below the instructions section, select Add Resources.

Reading Progress in Microsoft Class Teams

Select Reading Progress to start setting up the assignment. 

Reading Progress in Microsoft Class Teams - Set up reading progress

First, upload your reading passage – Word Documents are currently the only file types supported, but you can expect PDFs and sample passages in the future. English is currently the only language currently supported. 

Once you have uploaded your passage, you can change several settings, including reading level, genre, the number of attempts your students will have to complete the task and pronunciation sensitivity. 

Pronunciation sensitivity can be set to Less sensitive, Standard (default) or More sensitive, depending on your preferences. This can also be changed after the assignment is completed and you’re reviewing the assignment (see below). 

Teachers can toggle on and off Video Required to determine whether students need to record a video of themselves reading or simply submit audio.

Reading Progress in Microsoft Class Teams - Reading progress settings

When you’re happy with the settings, select Attach to add Reading Progress to the Assignment. 

As with all Assignments, you can add further details before assigning to students. For example, rubrics and points. 

Select Assign to assign to an entire class, group or individual students. 

How students can use Reading Progress.

Students can see the reading assignment in their Class Teams area. 

Select View Assignment to open the task. There is an icon next to the reading passage they need to record. 

Note: The first time students use this, they must allow Microsoft to access their microphone, speakers and camera. A dialogue box will appear. 

Hit Start when ready to read. 

Reading Progress in Microsoft Class Teams student view

Students can use Immersive Reader at this stage to change the way the text looks and assist their reading. 

Reading Progress in Microsoft Class Teams with Immersive Reader

Once the student has recorded their passage, they also have the option to Start Over, or select I’m finished when they’re done. 

When finished, they can return to the original assignment and select the Turn in button to hand it over to you. 

Reading Progress in Microsoft Class Teams student view - playback the video

How to review assignments with Reading Progress.

Head over to your Assignments tab and select the student you wish to review. 

This will take you to the Reading Progress dashboard – the passage is marked up, with words per minute and an accuracy level. 

Microsoft’s autodetect highlights and colour codes mispronunciations, repetitions, omissions, self-corrections and insertions. 

Reading Progress in Microsoft Class Teams - Review the assignment

On the left-hand side, you can toggle on/off autodetect depending on your preferences. 

Below this, a slider for Pronunciation sensitivity can be adjusted. 

Teachers can watch/listen to the recording and manually mark up the passage, as well as jumping to specific words of the passage by selecting Jump to word

Reading Progress in Microsoft Class Teams - Manual markup

Feedback can be given in the box on the right-hand side of the dashboard. 

Select Return to give the feedback to the student.

You can navigate to the next assignment from the dropdown menu. 

How to view Reading Progress Insights and Analytics.

Add an Insights Tab into your Class Team by selecting the plus button.

If set up, Reading Progress appears automatically in your Insights tab. In the future, there will also be a spotlight at the top of the screen for Reading Progress. 

Select Reading Progress to open up the analytics dashboard. 

Reading Progress in Microsoft Class Teams - Insights Tab

Choose whether to bring up data for the whole class, a specific reading level, or individual students. You can also change the dates and timeframe. 

A graph is generated to monitor progress over time and, at the bottom of the dashboard, there’s a word cloud to highlight the most challenging words to students.

Reading Progress in Microsoft Class Teams - Challenging word cloud

If you would like to learn more about how we can help your school or trust, please contact a member of our team today.

Blended Learning in Primary Schools using Teams with Cornerstone Multi-Academy Trust 

In this podcast episode, we speak with David James, Head of Education at Cornerstone Academy Trust and Anthony Lees, Deputy of Westclyst Community Primary School. 

The Cornerstone Academy Trust is made up of four primary schools, including Broadclyst Community Primary School, Westclyst Community Primary School, Yeo Valley Community Primary School and Monkerton Community Primary School. 

Broadclyst has an international reputation for its use of technology in education and has been awarded EdTech Demonstrator School status by the Department of Education. 

“At Broadclyst, we’ve been using Microsoft for the last 18 years and had been using it as a teaching and collaboration tool. When lockdown struck, we were in a good position and were able to support our other schools in using it,” David explains. 

“We faced similar issues to every other school where there was a variable level of staff confidence and competence with the technology, so we found the ability to host live training events via Teams invaluable.” 

Watch the full podcast episode on blended learning for primary schools here:




Using Microsoft tools to train and onboard staff. 

The trust uses Microsoft Stream to create powerful learning resources for their staff.

“We’re all learners, aren’t we? Not just the students but also members of staff,” Anthony says. 

“Microsoft Stream enables you to create automatic transcripts of the training session, allowing teachers to jump straight to the information they need by using the search tool.”

“We can also drop forms and links into a recording, which means we can check staff retention and ask them to respond to questions throughout the recordings.” 

Teacher training with Microsoft Stream

Saving teacher time with Microsoft 365. 

Teachers at the Cornerstone Academy Trust have been able to save time when creating centralised learning resources as OneNote and Teams have allowed them to collaborate across different schools within the trust. 

“Teachers use the collaboration tools to plan together so four people in four different schools aren’t all spending time planning the same lesson,” explains David. 

“We’ve been doing this to reduce the workload on teachers and decrease the amount of time they spend planning so they can use it creating additional amazing resources or focus their time on training and upskilling.”

During the UK school closures in 2020 and 2021, the four schools in the trust pulled together to deliver online lessons to students with one teacher remote teaching to several classes. 

Saving time planning lessons with OneNote

Starting digital learning early. 

Embracing Microsoft 365 at KS1 and KS2 level has allowed the young students at the Cornerstone Academy Trust to feel comfortable and confident with the tools from an early age.

“Even our nursery staff have started using Microsoft. It may just be a ‘What’s happening today’ picture, but gradually it teaches the children that this is how they can access learning,” says Anthony.

“As they move up through the school, they become more confident, more independent learners who take ownership over their learning.” 

Upskilling the parents and their children. 

A challenge the Cornerstone Academy Trust faced when the UK first went into lockdown was that many of the students were accessing learning on their parents’ mobile phones or shared devices. 

“We’ve run a proactive campaign with parents to help them understand how and why we’re using the technology. It’s about being mindful about the learning content so it’s suitable to be viewed on mum’s phone,” Anthony explains.

“Within two days of knowing the school was set to shut, we created a website and dedicated a team of 15 people to produce resources. We wanted to give them everything in one place, with resources and links for parents, as well as a help desk.” 

A central place for learning with SharePoint.

Student engagement and success with Microsoft 365. 

Tracking student engagement with blended learning has been a huge benefit for the Cornerstone Academy Trust. Each school has been able to have a clear picture of which students are succeeding and which ones may need extra support, as well as who is attending and engaging in the learning material. 

“A member of our leadership team is buddied up with a year group for a set amount of time to work with the teachers to find out what’s going well and what needs to be improved.” 

The future of the Cornerstone Academy Trust and Microsoft 365. 

“Our vision is to create one school with four campuses – this way, we can bring together those economies of scale and make things more efficient and effective. Teams is the place where everyone goes and accesses what they need,” David tells us. 

If you would like to learn more about how we can help your school or trust, please contact a member of our team today.

How to use Presenter Mode in a Microsoft Teams Meeting

Using Presenter Mode in a Microsoft Class Teams meeting gives teachers more control over their lesson. They have access to their presenter notes and all the usual Class Teams tools, plus additional presenter options.  

Presenter Mode is only available in the desktop application of Teams.  

 In this quick guide, we show you how to use Presenter Mode and get the most out of it for your next lesson.  

Setting up Presenter Mode in Microsoft Teams. 

Once the Teams meeting has started, select Share Content on the navigation bar. 

Share content in Presenter Mode for Class Teams

This opens up a menu where you can choose to share your entire desktop, specific windows, Microsoft Whiteboard or PowerPoint.  

Select Browse on the right-hand side to either Upload from my computer or OneDrive depending on where your PowerPoint is located.  

 Upload presentation from desktop into a Class Teams meeting

Once you select your PowerPoint, it opens up into the Class Teams meeting.  

Presenter tools in Class Teams. 

The full range of meeting tools, such as View Participants, Meeting Chat and the More Actions menu (…) are visible and you’re able to easily scroll back and forth between slides.  

View participants window is availlable in Presenter Mode z

There are also some additional options beneath your slide deck, including Go to slide, which allows you to bring up a grid of your slide deck and choose a specific slide you wish to present.  

Go to slide view in Presenter Mode

Meanwhile, under More actions (…), you can hide the presenter view from yourself so you don’t see your notes, just the slides.  

Hide presenter view in Presenter Mode 

A further option is to View slides in high contrastToggle this on to only view the images and text on your slides and remove any extra design elements or backgrounds. This won’t change the view for students, only teachers.  

View slides in high contrast in Presenter Mode

What do students see when teachers are using Presenter Mode? 

Students can scroll through the slide deck using the private viewing bar and then select Back to presenter to go back to the slide the teacher is currently on.  

This feature can be switched off by teachers by clicking the Eye icon. When disabled, a line appears across the Eye icon and students are unable to scroll through the slides while you’re teaching.  

Prevent participants from moving through shared presentation on their own

Playing video clips in Presenter Mode. 

There are two ways of showing video clips when in Presenter Mode:  

Videos in Class Teams Presenter Mode

One option is to embed a video into your presentation. This can be viewed by selecting the play button, which plays the video within the presentation.   

Note: This only works if students have the latest version of PowerPoint installed on their device.  

Secondly, you could include a video link. Clicking a link opens the video on a separate window.  

To show the video to your students within the lesson, you need to go back to the Share content button and select the window the video has opened in. 

If you’re using a two-screen setup, it will open on your other screen and in the same way, select Screen #1 or Screen #2, depending on which screen it has opened in.  

Note: You also need to toggle on Include computer sound for your students to hear the video.  

Watch a step-by-step guide on how to use presenter mode in class teams: 

If you would like to learn more about how we can help your school, please contact a member of our team today.



How To Share Pages From Non-Class Notebooks to a Student’s Class Notebook in Teams and OneNote 

In this guide, we show you how to distribute a page from a non Class Notebook to a students’ Class Notebook within a Class Team.  

Here we have a Notebook that has been stored within an English resources folder on SharePoint. Within the Notebook, there’s a worksheet that we need to distribute to the Year 7 English students’ Class Notebooks. 

Select Class Notebook.  

Note: If this button is not visible, select Open in Desktop App from the top navigation bar. If the button still isn’t visible, it needs to be activated via the three-dot (…) menu and Settings in the top-right corner of the screen. 

Once you have selected Class Notebook, select Distribute page to bring up a number of options. 

Open Notebook Distribution

Choose Cross Notebook Distribution to bring up all the Notebooks of the classes you teach.  

From here, you can select the Notebooks you wish to share it to. E.g. “English Year 11” 

Select Student Section

You must then select a student section in the selected Notebook to share the Notebook to. E.g. “Homework”. This action distributes the worksheet from your Non-Class Notebook to your selected students’ Notebooks. In this case, “English Year 11”.   

How To Share Pages From Non-Class Notebooks to a Student’s Class Notebook in Teams and OneNote

Head to your selected Class Team to check whether it has been shared to the Class Notebooks. As you can see, the worksheet is now in the students’ Notebooks. 

Watch a step-by-step guide on how to lock your collaboration space in Class Teams: 

If you have any questions on how to share pages from non-Class Notebooks to a student’s Class Notebook, please contact a member of our team today.



How To Turn Off The Chat Feature in Class Teams

The chat feature in Microsoft Teams is a useful tool that allows students to communicate with their teachers and peers during online lessons. However, there may be times where the chat feature isn’t necessary and is causing distractions during lesson time.

Similar to the mute feature on Teams, this can easily be controlled and turned off, enabling you to teach without any interruptions. 

There are two simple ways to turn off the chat function, this can be done before or during your online lesson:

Disable chat function in Class Teams before your lesson.

You can disable the chat function before your lesson starts through Meeting options. This can be accessed on the calendar entry for your meeting.

Meeting options is found under Details on the calendar entry. 

Disable chat function in Class Teams before your lesson.

When the Meeting options menu appears, you can disable the meeting chat, along with other options for your meeting, such as who can present and allowing your students to un-mute themselves. 

To turn off the chat feature, change the Allow meeting chat option from enabled to disabled. Make sure to click Save after – this disables the chat function and activates any other changes you’ve made. 

Turn off chat function in Class Teams before your lesson.

Your students are made aware that the chat function isn’t available in the chat window when the lesson starts. 

Turn off chat function in Class Teams before your lesson.

Disable chat function in Class Teams during your lesson.

Teachers can also disable the chat function during the lesson. This can be useful when you want to disable the chat during certain parts of your lesson. 

At the top of your screen, there are a few options that allow you to control your meeting. To disable the chat function, you need to select the more actions menu (…).

When the drop-down menu appears, select Meeting options

To turn off the chat feature, change the Allow meeting chat option from enabled to disabled. Make sure to click Save after – this disables the chat function and activates any other changes you’ve made. 

Disable chat function in Class Teams during your lesson.

Enable chat function in Class Teams during your lesson.

At some point during your lesson, you may want to turn on the chat function to allow your students to communicate again. This can be done the same way by selecting Meeting options and enabling Allow meeting chat

Enable chat function in Class Teams during your lesson.

Using Meeting options is a great way to control your lessons and prevent any distractions during lesson time. The simplicity of this process also allows you to quickly change these options during your lessons giving you the freedom to activate and deactivate at any time and allowing students to contribute and communicate at the right times to enhance their learning. 

Enable chat function in Class Teams during your lesson.

Watch our step-by-step video on how to turn off the chat feature in Class Teams:



How To Review and Lock Pages in Class Notebook

Locking a page within Class Notebook is important when marking and assessing work, to prevent the student from editing the document after its deadline. In this guide, we show you how to review students work in Class Notebook and how to lock a page to prevent further editing by a student.  

How to review pages within Class Notebook. 

Open Class Notebook in Teams and select Class Notebook. 

Choose Review student work to open a menu on the right-hand side of the page. Select the Notebook section where the page we need to review is stored.  

How To Review and Lock Pages in Class Notebook

Select the page you wish to review. The names of your students in the selected Class Team appear in alphabetical order. Simply choose the name of the student whose work you wish to review.   

How to review pages within Class Notebook. 

Select Insert to type any notes or add emojis and sticks.  

The Class Notebook is updated in real-time so students can log in and see comments as soon as they’re written.  

How to review pages within Class Notebook. 

How to lock pages within Class Notebook.

Once the assignment has been graded and returned to the student, the Notebook can be edited by the student. Teachers may wish to lock the page so further editing can not be carried out by the student.   

Open Class Notebook in Teams and select Class Notebook. 

Choose Review student work to open a menu on the right-hand side of the page. Select the Notebook section where the page we need to review is stored. E.g. “Homework” 

How to lock pages within Class Notebook.

Choose the page you wish to lock and then select the Page Locking button at the top of the right-hand side menu.  

How to lock pages within Class Notebook.

How to lock pages within Class Notebook.

A tickbox is revealed next to the students’ name. Select either “All students” to lock all student pages, or select individual students to lock specific student pages.  

A padlock appears alongside the students’ name to indicate the page has been locked. Select Apply to lock the page(s). The student can no longer edit the page. 

How to lock pages within Class Notebook. How to lock pages within Class Notebook.

 

How to unlock pages within Class Notebook.

Follow the same process as above, but uncheck the tick box next to the student’s name. Then select Apply to unlock the page(s).  

Note: When a page is locked for a student, teachers have full read and write access to the page.  

Watch a step-by-step guide on how to review and lock pages in Class Notebook:



How To Lock the Collaboration Section in a Class Notebook 

In this guide, we show you how to lock the collaboration section in a Class Notebook.  

The collaboration space in a Class Notebook is where all students can edit the same pages and work together on projects. After using it, teachers may wish to lock the section to prevent students from editing the page, or so that the work can be assessed.  

When you have finished using the collaboration space, select Class Notebook and choose Manage Notebooks. 

How To Lock the Collaboration Section in a Class Notebook 

Switch the Lock Collaboration Space toggle from unlocked to locked.  

How To Lock the Collaboration Section in a Class Notebook 

Teachers are still able to edit the collaboration space when it’s locked, however, students are denied editing rights.  

How To Lock the Collaboration Section in a Class Notebook 

Students are still able to use other areas within their own Class Notebook, such as the Homework and Class Notes tabs.  

There are a few options for what to do with a locked collaboration space:  

Teachers can move the locked collaboration space into the Content Library and distribute the page to their students’ Class NotebooksFor example, as a homework or revision task.   

Alternatively, teachers can use the page as part of an assignment that can then be formally graded. 

How To Lock the Collaboration Section in a Class Notebook 

Once you have finished working in the collaboration space, set it back to unlocked to allow students to join the next time you need to use it.   

How To Lock the Collaboration Section in a Class Notebook 

Watch a step-by-step guide on how to lock your collaboration space in Class Teams. 



If you have any questions on how to lock your collaboration space in Class Teams, please contact a member of our team today.

 

How To Deal With Unwanted Guests In Class Teams Meetings

In this guide, we discuss how we can prevent unwelcome guests from joining our online lessons in Microsoft Teams.  

Enable lobby for all Class Teams meetings in your school. 

Making sure the meeting policy for teachers within this school’s tenancy is set so that the lobby is enabled.  

Firstly, make sure your meeting policy for teachers is set within the school’s tenancy to enable the lobby.  

By default, all attendees enter the session through the lobby, which means you’re able to accept or reject members coming into the session, allowing you to avoid any unwelcome guests attending your session at all. 

Enable lobby for a specific Class Teams meeting. 

If the lobby isn’t automatically enabled for teachers in your school, you can choose to enable the lobby manually on your meetings and classes. 

Once you set up and save your meeting, you can then select Edit.  

How To Stop Unwanted Guests In Your Class Teams Meetings

Select Meeting Options and then set the Who can bypass the lobby? option to Only me.  

Enable Lobby for a specific Classt Teams Meeting

How to spot an unwelcome guest in your Class Teams meeting. 

As students enter the meeting lobby, you can see their names and icons appearing in the Participants panel.  

One sign of a user who isn’t supposed to be in the meeting is they will usually have (Guest) after their name.   

How to spot an unwelcome guest in your Class Teams meeting

However, it’s crucial to bear in mind that some legitimate students may appear to be guests for several reasons. 

Students may share devices with family members and could be joining on other accounts with names you do not recognise. To prevent confusion, you should remind students to sign into their own accounts before joining Teams lessons. By establishing this rule, you can prevent students from missing out on crucial lesson time and learning resources, as well as keep the class safe from unwelcome guests.  

How to remove an unwelcome guest from the Teams desktop app. 

Select the red cross beside the user you suspect is an unwelcome guest and that removes them from the lobby and denies them access to the lesson.  

Note: They can attempt to rejoin, but they’re flagged up in the lobby area with no access to your online lesson. 

Select the green tick beside your students’ names to admit them to the lesson.  

How to remove an unwelcome guest from the Class Teams meeting via desktop app

How to remove an unwelcome guest from the browser version of Teams. 

As students enter the lobby, a notification shows on the navigation bar. 

How to remove an unwelcome guest from the browser version of Teams

While you can admit students from this notification by selecting Accept, we strongly recommend selecting View Lobby to bring up a list of users in the lobby.  

Alternatively, you can also select the View Participants icon on the navigation bar.  

Show participants

When you can view a list of users who are waiting in the lobby and follow the same steps as you would in the desktop app:  

Select the red cross beside the user you suspect is an unwelcome guest, and that removes them from the lobby and denies them access to the lesson. 

Note: They can attempt to rejoin, but they’re flagged in the lobby area with no access to your online lesson. 

Select the green tick beside your students’ names to admit them to the lesson.  

How to view participants in browser version of Teams  

What happens if I accidentally admit an unwelcome guest into my Class Teams meeting? 

Select the three dots (…) next to the unwelcome guest’s name to bring up several options. 

Choose Remove from meeting to kick the unwelcome guest out of the lesson. 

Removing unwanted guest from the meeting

Watch our step-by-step video guide on how to deal with unwanted guests in Class Teams meetings:



If you have any questions on how to deal with unwanted guests in Class Teams meetings, please contact a member of our team today.

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.