3 Power Tips for Classrooms with Office365

posted Mar 12, 2016, 8:25 PM by Miguel Guhlin   [ updated Mar 21, 2016, 11:52 AM ]
Looking for powerful tools to enable critical skills like group to group creativity, collaboration, and sharing? Microsoft Office 365 provides educators with a powerful suite of tools that can be used to empower students to create, connect, collaborate and share their processing of academic content. If you are familiar with GoogleApps for Education tools, then you already have foundation skills to take advantage of Office 365 tools.I invite you to explore how MS Office 365 tools--OneNote and Sway--can boost teaching and learning in your classroom. Here are 3 tips for using Office365 tools in--and out--of the classroom.

Tip #1 - Create Shared Resources.
"I wish I could create resources and quickly get them to my students," Ms. Aguilar said. "Do you know how I can do that?" OneNote, which recently announced Evernote Notebook import capabilities, features Notebooks that can be easily shared with students. OneNote Notebook makes it easy to create class notebooks. Some of the main benefits include the following:
  • Work together on class projects
  • Share assignments with students
  • Provide students with feedback on their work.
There are 3 components: a) Collaboration space; b) Content Library for sharing course materials; c) Student Notebooks that allow students to place work--handouts, class notes, homework and quizzes are 4 standard categories--there, with interactions happening between student and teacher only. OneNote Notebooks can also be shared with teachers, as well as students, making it possible for teachers to collaborate on lesson plans (video tutorial). You can also record audio notes for students (as they can record an explanation of their notes, handwritten diagrams) and save them to the note.

You can also take advantage of the OneNote Clipper to save content to a notebook that is shared with students. And, of course, students in a group can easily share web-based resources using the OneNote Clipper to a common notebook. Another approach would include using IFTTT.com to share links connected to a hashtag (#msaguilarclass) or tweeted by a particular account. IFTTT.com will take information organized by hashtag or tweeted by a certain account directly into OneNote Notebook.

Tip #2 - Collaborate with student learners.
Wondering how to increase engagement among students in class? Consider using the guided notes technique with OneNote. The approach is described in this way:

The student is given a copy of notes summarizing content from a class lecture or assigned reading. Blanks are inserted in the notes where key facts or concepts should appear. As information is covered during lecture or in a reading assignment, the student writes missing content into blanks to complete the guided notes. (Find out more)

The guided notes approach enables students to fill in the blanks. OneNote makes it easier verify students completion of notes electronically rather than reviewing paper notebooks. Students also end up storing their work digitally so that they can review their content. Of course, sharing resources is also possible with staff using OneNote or Office365 groups. You can also save MS Office documents in OneDrive, a cloud storage space, so that others can access resources.

Tip #3 - Share digital content.
Need a convenient way to enable student groups to work with each other and share content? Use Microsoft Sway:
Sway is an easy way to create and share a polished, interactive, web-based canvas of your ideas. Sway looks good on any device or screen (mobile, tablet, PC or Mac) using only the browser – no app installation required to view a Sway. (Source)

 Consider this example of cross-country collaboration--featuring Serbia and Mexico--to create a multimedia, multi-lingual product using Microsoft Sway:

Ana Živković (Serbia, @teacherka) is an English as a second language (ESL) teacher in Serbia. After 7th grade literature classes at her school and a partner school in Mexico both studied Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s “The Little Prince,” they made artwork, animated film and live action videos to bring the narrative to life and outline its lessons. Then the two classes got together over Skype to discuss their experiences. Here is the Sway Ana used to bring to life the story of how a classic tale, mixed with modern technology, could unite students across the globe in a fun and interactive way. (View other examples)

While there are many exciting ways to use Office 365 tools to transform teaching and learning in your classroom, keep it simple and focused on creating and sharing.  OneNote Notebooks and Sway make that possible!