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.
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
SharePoint, Class Notebook and Teams forms the foundation for curriculum delivery at The Cornerstone Academy Trust.
Hearing stories about how other schools and academies are thriving with Office 365 and SharePoint is a great way to feel inspired.
Our new podcast series focuses on real-life user adoption cases and aims to encourage a community resource for those who are interested in how Microsoft can help you, and your pupils, achieve more.
In our third episode, Tony Phillips, Cloud Design Box Founder and Darren Hemming, our Operations Manager, spoke with Jonathan Bishop, CEO of The Cornerstone Academy Trust.
The headteacher – who has been teaching for the past 25 years – offers some real insight into the way Office 365 and SharePoint can be embraced in and outside of the classroom.
“Office 365, SharePoint and – in particular – Class Notebook, has had a huge impact on our Trust. OneNote totally underpins our lesson planning, teaching and student engagement – before, during and after lessons,” Jonathan enthuses.
“It’s the one fundamental tool in Office 365 that supports our whole curriculum delivery.”
The Cornerstone Academy Trust is a multi-academy trust that currently covers Broadclyst Community Primary School, Westclyst Community Primary School and The Cornerstone Teaching School.
Supporting children from the age of two through to 11, the Trust places technology firmly at the helm of the school ethos.
“We have invested in a number of Surface Pro tablets so that our students can access learning resources from wherever they are in the school or at home,” he tells us.
Jonathan describes one typical use of OneNote in the classroom:
“Teachers write on the whiteboard in digital ink, and this immediately syncs to the pupils’ tablets. This content is then used during smaller, targeted group sessions. And, when they get home, students seamlessly pick up what they were doing during the day, further strengthening their learning.”
All learning resources are available at the child’s fingertips, while teachers can work together and prepare valuable learning materials for students.
“We’ve worked with Cloud Design Box to configure each Class Notebook into different zones: one for teacher content, a collaborative zone for on-going projects and a personal area for each child.”
Permissions and roles can be set with ease for each resource. For example, teacher content is read-only and cannot be edited by pupils, while personal pupil areas can only be accessed by the individual and their teacher.
“Parents can also view the content to see what their children are up to in school, whether this is tracking progress or watching a video of their nursery-aged child learn about butterflies.”
More recently, Cloud Design Box has worked with the Trust to integrate Class Notebook with the communications tool Microsoft Teams.
“Teams has built on the strong system we already had in place. It’s added an extra layer of support to our teaching and learning,” Jonathan reveals.
“The ability to chat about work in targeted groups enhances the learner experience and combines the structure of individual assignments with a collaborative team-driven approach – similar to how adults would in the office.”
In fact, Jonathan is very passionate about how digital tools like SharePoint and Office 365 equip pupils with the skills needed for future employment.
Currently, there is a debate about whether or not we are losing traditional skills, such as handwriting and literacy, but Jonathan argues that tablets and technology are complementing education.
“We don’t think of technology as replacing traditional skills, we think of it as allowing a pupil to gain new, 21st century skills that they’ll use in the workplace.”
Some final takeaways from Jonathan:
- Digital is enhancing the classroom.
- SharePoint is a solid foundation for curriculum delivery.
- Collaboration tools empower students to develop skills for their futures.
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.
The future role of SharePoint with the advent of Teams has been on my mind for over a year now. Teams is built on top of SharePoint but is an application rather than a website. Teams has chat and collaboration, but SharePoint has news and is interconnected with related sites through Hub sites in sometimes a more intuitive interface. Teams is gaining more user adoption with its modern way of creating an efficient workplace. The governance and admin controls are on their way for Teams too. Which should you use? Do you have to make a choice?
As a SharePoint and Teams provider, it has been hard to determine if Teams was there to replace SharePoint or that it would work side-by-side with SharePoint. My initial thoughts were that SharePoint would be the organisation intranet (communication sites), a place to go for company-wide communication and resources. Microsoft Teams or SharePoint Team sites were great for small-medium team collaboration.
At the European SharePoint, Office 365 and Azure conference 2018 in Copenhagen, Jeff Teper (Corporate Vice President – Office 365) explained the vision for SharePoint and Teams.
The vision Microsoft have is that SharePoint Team sites and MS Teams live side-by-side. In fact, they should be the same collaboration areas but accessed through different mediums. Eventually everything in SharePoint should be surfaced in Teams. Recently Microsoft have released an option to create a Microsoft Team from a SharePoint Team site, this even adds a cool link to open the Team.
The release of SharePoint Framework (SPFx) web parts for Teams supports moving towards this goal, surfacing the same functionality for both platforms (just in a different shell). It also works the other way around, Microsoft Team SharePoint Team sites (the site behind the Team!), can be added to SharePoint Hub sites just like any other SharePoint site so news and events can be aggregated. When planning site architecture, we can now imagine that whatever site or team is planned in either SharePoint or Teams, both could be accessed with either application.
There are still going to be instances where one is preferred over the other. In some scenarios, Office 365 groups with owners and members might not be the preferred access model for SharePoint intranet sites but there is a valid option for these sites – modern communication sites. Microsoft mentioned that they will be closing the gap on differences between communication and team sites and that one day you should be able to convert one to another. This again would help organisations on a long journey moving to a modern team-based flat structure.
More exciting updates to come….
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.
There’s a real buzz around Microsoft Teams. Microsoft have been increasing the momentum by releasing updates to improve the class collaboration tool recently. In this post I’m going to look at some of the updates already released and some coming very soon. You can find out more about the future updates here: Microsoft Education Blog.
Assigning to multiple classes
Sometimes teachers set the same assignment to multiple groups. This is now possible when setting an assignment in Teams. Just click the team name and select additional classes.
Tailoring assignments for individual students
Individual learning needs means that teachers sometimes have to set different assignments to students in the same class. Microsoft Teams now allows this using the student drop-down so teachers can assign different assignments to different groups of students within the same class.
Scheduling assignments and planning ahead
Teachers can now plan ahead by scheduling assignments. The assignment is only published to the student on the scheduled date allowing the teacher to set assignments for the whole month, term or even year in advance!
Microsoft Forms will soon be integrated much tighter with Teams. Currently you can use Microsoft Forms to create quizzes and embed them in Class Notebooks or share the link for the assignment resource. This new integration will feed quiz results straight into the Microsoft Teams mark book. It will be really easy to create self-marking quizzes for students.
A question that has come up a lot recently has been “What will happen to my old class teams after year rollover?”. Microsoft have now answered this by archiving old class teams. These teams will be available in read-only mode, so you can still access your resources and work. The membership of these classes will not be updated post-rollover as the classes will no longer exist in the school’s MIS.
At Cloud Design Box, we create a seamless user-friendly environment for students and teachers to navigate between SharePoint, Teams and Class Notebook. To find out more, you can sign-up for one of our free webinars by clicking here. You can find out more about our products on the Cloud Design Box website.
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.