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!
In this podcast episode, we’ve taken a different approach. Instead of focusing solely on a school’s user adoption methods, we’re looking at how the process can be made easier when you have a Microsoft Innovative Educator (MIE) in your ranks.
But what exactly is an MIE Expert and how can your school, multi-academy trust or organisation get one?
We spoke with Elaine Topham, Senior Learning Technologist at Grimsby Institute, MIE Expert and one of six UK-based MIE Fellows.
“An MIE is someone who has nominated themselves to join the Microsoft community of educators that work with Office 365,” Elaine tells us.
“The MIE Status recognises those who are using the latest Microsoft technology in their schools and classrooms to better learning and student outcomes.”
Elaine’s journey to becoming an MIE Expert is an incredible one:
“I’ve always been quite interested in technology; however, I didn’t have the best start – I left school at 15 with no qualifications, so it was quite difficult getting into work,” admits Elaine.
In 2001, she landed a work placement at Grimsby College, working with IT technicians to install computers around the campus and also supporting students who were studying Level 1 and Level 2 IT qualifications.
Several years later, she began working at community learning centres, supporting people who were also completing the IT course:
“I loved this role because it gave me the opportunity to work with people who had perhaps never used digital before – it was a really rewarding job.”
Elaine joined Grimsby Institute in 2010, working as a tutor and teaching IT Functional Skills to students.
“I spent five years in that role, but by this point, I felt that my skills were best suited to supporting teachers in grasping digital. For me, this has a big impact on the students’ learning experience,” she continues.
Today, she oversees the work that the innovation team does, administering VLE and ensuring all their staff have the right training and support they need to do their jobs well.
“Our goal is to make sure our staff are supported and can meet the demands of digital.”
Her recognition as an MIE came about after she was encouraged to apply for the programme by her manager:
“I hadn’t heard of the scheme before, but I looked it up and decided to apply. I put a lot of effort into my application, including all the ways I use Microsoft in my job.”
Elaine was accepted and has been an MIE Expert for almost four years now.
“You have to apply each year, answering questions about why you feel you’re an MIE, what tools you use, and how you share your knowledge beyond the classroom.”
The Microsoft Innovative Educators programme is all about building a community of educators that are willing to share best practice and techniques, so a lot of the benefits revolved around this powerful and well-connected community.
When you’re an MIE, you have a monthly connection call via Microsoft Teams with other MIEs, as well as being kept in the loop about early releases, product demonstrations and new features.
“It’s a global programme, so you get to meet and talk with people from all over the world and learn how they’re using technology in their roles as educators,” enthuses Elaine.
“Because we’re speaking regularly with Microsoft, we also get to guide some of the development of the products, letting them know what works best for us, what doesn’t and what we’d like to see next.”
As Elaine explains, having this kind of insight into the digital tools used throughout your school is invaluable:
“Digital moves so quickly, so being an MIE offers me a quicker way of getting the knowledge I need to be able to pass it onto the staff and students at Grimsby Institute. I’m able to know what’s coming out soon and even shape the future of some of the products to improve the learning experience of our students.”
There is no limit to the number of MIEs you can have at one organisation, anyone can apply and it’s completely free.
In the video below, we look at the different ways of setting retention polices in SharePoint and Teams.
Some takeaway points:
- Retention Labels allow more than one policy in a single site
- Users might not remember or know how to apply Labels
- Site policies work without any end-user action
- The document deletion experience is different
Managing document expiry can be time consuming and difficult to track. Maybe you have policy documents which need refreshing every year or machine calibration/certification documents which need to be regularly reviewed.
It’s surprisingly easy to setup expiry notifications in SharePoint. Follow the simple steps below or watch the video for a walk through.
Adding an expiry column
In the document library, click “Add column” and select a “Date” column.
Give the column a name and click “Save”
Format the column
To make it easy to see if the document has expired, we can apply some simple column formatting.
Under the column heading, select “column settings” and then “format column”.
Select “edit template” and pick a colour for documents that are overdue, due today and not yet due.
It should look something like this!
Setup email reminder for expiring documents
In the document library toolbar, select “Flow” (eventually this will be renamed to Power Automate) and then select “Set a reminder”. It will automatically pick up the date column that you have added.
Enter a name for the flow and how many days in advance you would like reminding.
You could always edit the Flow in Power Automate if you wanted to customise it from the standard template.
If you want to find out more about our Microsoft Teams and SharePoint services, check out the Cloud Design Box Website.
We’ve spoken a lot on this blog and in our podcast about how Microsoft Teams and SharePoint transforms the classroom, from sharing class resources with pupils to improving student engagement with Digital Ink and Class Notebook.
However, there are also many opportunities to use these tools to drive School Leadership Teams.
We spoke with Gareth Rose, Assistant Headteacher of Notley High School & Braintree Sixth Form to see how their School Leadership Teams, Heads of Faculty and Subject Leaders use Microsoft Teams and SharePoint.
“SharePoint is a brilliant tool for sharing files. And, while it has a lot of collaboration tools within it, we find Microsoft Teams the easiest way to co-author documents used and created by the School Leadership Teams (SLT),” explains Gareth.
“We have five core Teams: one for SLT, one for the admins who support SLT, a data admin team and a pastoral middle leadership team that includes SLT and the Heads of Houses.”
A Team acts as a central hub for collaboration – a place where you can talk with Team members, share and co-author files and keep meeting minutes all in one place.
“To keep everything connected with our SharePoint site, Cloud Design Box has set it up so that users can access the relevant Teams from their SharePoint mega menu.”
Within each Team, Notley High School has private channels where only specific people can access files and conversations. Private channels in Teams can be controversial as many believe you should simply set up a new Team if a private channel is required.
But, as Gareth explains, it’s a structure that has really worked for them:
“If we set up a new Team every time we need a private channel, we’d have far too many Teams with them all linking off in different directions. With our structure, everyone can access, view and edit the files applicable to them.”
To further simplify processes, Gareth has maintained one rule: SharePoint is for sharing finalised documents and Teams is for collaborating on WIP files.
“All the work-in-progress documents are stored within their corresponding Teams, where they can be accessed and edited by the right people. It’s only when they’re finished that they can be released into SharePoint,” he tells us.
“We have a one version policy – if the file is being worked on, it’s in Teams, and if the file is finalised, it’s in SharePoint.”
It’s easy to see why Notley High has chosen this method of working. This is a great example of Office 365, SharePoint and Teams adoption that shows how the products can be used by the school leadership to work together more dynamically, keeping everyone on the same page and everything in one place, without having to waste time copied into unnecessary emails.
Meanwhile, if you would like to discuss adopting SharePoint, Office 365 or Microsoft Teams for your school or multi-academy trust, speak with a member of our team today.
Cloud Design Box will be exhibiting at Bett 2020 from Wednesday 23rd January until Saturday 15th January 2020 on stand NQ21. Bett is the global meeting place for education buyers and it’s mission is to create a better future by transforming education and bringing together over 800 leading companies and over 34,000 visitors.
We will be opposite the N4 entrance in the North Hall (near the Tablet Academy escape room).
Tony, Darren, Joanne and Lloyd will be on the stand each weekday. Will, Lloyd and Tony will be around on Friday and Saturday.
We will be sharing a stand build with our partners SalamanderSoft. Speak to them to find out more about Active Directory automation from MIS data plus many more tools. You can find out more information on their website.
The team will be demonstrating our SharePoint and Teams solutions. For current customers, we will show you new features set to be released later this year including Teams assignment analytics and our new admin interface to create intranet sites.
If you don’t get chance to see us, feel free to get in touch for a chat and online meeting on our website.
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.
Conversations and instant messaging are only one part of Microsoft Class Teams. Its true power shines through when teachers share their resources with their classes through the File Sharing tabs and SharePoint integration.
Students can immediately access files and resources that their teachers upload and continue learning outside of the classroom.
However, many teachers spend hours uploading and moving files in specific Class Teams. Sound familiar?
Luckily, there’s a much more effective way of managing class resources in Office 365.
Instead of storing your main resources in separate Class Teams, we recommend making use of SharePoint by having a central hub for all of your long-term resources – i.e. the ones your pupils will need over and over again, right the way through the school year.
Not only is this faster for you to manage, but by creating a central SharePoint resource library for each subject, you remove the need to duplicate work while allowing teachers and heads of departments to collaborate when creating valuable learning resources.
“Resources quickly become siloed if you only upload them to individual classes,” Darren Hemming, our Teaching and Learning Consultant says.
Darren is a former teacher of Modern Languages and ICT and is a passionate advocate of blended learning. He has also worked with schools, leading several large-scale learning platform projects for local authorities and for Building Schools for the Future.
“I’ve seen the collaboration and sharing of resources work very well across departments, and even across different schools inside of one multi-academy trust.”
Once this central hub is set up, you no longer have to worry about attaching individual files and folders to individuals Class Teams.
Simply select + to add a tab and then add your SharePoint resource library to the Class Team.
Now, we’re not telling you to avoid sharing anything directly in Class Teams.
Of course, if you have a one-off resource to share with your class on a specific topic, sharing only in Teams instead of SharePoint first makes a lot of sense.
However, creating a central library for your main resources and then adding them to Teams is a much faster, straightforward way of file sharing with your classes.
Microsoft Teams has had a makeover with some new UI and feature changes this summer. In the video below, we go through these changes and what it means for teachers and students using Teams in the classroom.
A new tiled interface helps you to visualise your classes in a more friendly view. Don’t worry if you like the list view, you can always switch back to it at any time.
Moving Class Notebook Content
You can now take your Class Notebook content library and teacher only sections with you. When creating your new Class Notebook, you will have the option to import from previous Class Notebooks.
Assignments are easier to view with the new grouped view. Late assignments are marked red.
There are more updates coming soon too. You can check these out on the Teams Education blog.