Let’s get Digital in 2019

New Year hosts a plethora of personal and professional goals. Some easier than others to commit to. When we look at statistics, 63% of resolutions are broken within the first month. There are varied factors that contribute towards this majority percentage but all is not lost when keeping in mind the end goal.

Here are the top 5 Teacher New Year’s resolutions:

  1. Stay Positive
  2. Revive Classroom routines
  3. Work-life balance
  4. Give more personalised time to Students
  5. Keep on top of marking

Whilst these may strike as everyday practice of most Teachers, how do we ensure we are productive and proficient at keeping on top of them all?

A Cloud-based learning environment has the potential to help tackle the teacher workload, invigorate the curriculum and help with the work-life balance without being to much of a monumental change for a school to adopt new ways of thinking, working and learning.

Be Specific – A vague goal will automatically program failure because you won’t know when you have achieved it.

Specific target – Move all files and folders to an online platform.

In practice and outcome – As a Whole Staff, use your Cloud-based service (Office 365/G-Suite), to collectively move all your important files, folders and stuff into the cloud. It is simple to do, it’s just saving it to a new space that is accessible anywhere, anytime on any device. Once this is complete, all documents and presentations become live. This means that teachers can collaborate on the same planning document at the same time, without being locked out or having multiple versions saved.

See the source image

Set Tangible deadlines – When you’re setting a goal, be sure to set a deadline too! It ensures a collective mindset on what it is you are trying to achieve.

Specific target – Record presentations to promote anywhere, anytime learning.

In practice and outcome – Within PowerPoint and Slides, you are now able to record your entire presentation, including any annotations/notes you made during the learning process. Having these saved in a virtual library (back to your online shared folder space) means that students can access the resources they need, if they were to miss a lesson. This virtual library will grow over time and give a transparency to parents about what is being taught in the lesson so it can be used at home before test/exam period for revision. Imagine, an entire years worth of learning, all stored online and at your and the students fingertips.

See the source image

Don’t forget the plan! – If you are considering moving to the cloud, it is always best to think first about the goals you want to achieve. A cloud solution needs careful consideration and planning before implementing. Our Cloud Solutions Consultants at LGfL are committed to providing as much help and support to schools who are looking to migrate their school to a cloud-based solution. Email training@lgfl.net for more information on getting started.

See the source image

Office 365: Establishing a Vision

As teachers, we all want a world where children grow up to flourish and live healthy, productive and fundamentally happy lives. Making change happen takes a growth mindset and leaders at every level – those who are committed and adept learners.

The Microsoft Education Transformation Framework helps leaders set a direction with four key building blocks to guide leadership and policy development:

  • Vision for change
  • Strategic Planning & Quality Assurance
  • Partnerships & Capacity Building
  • Inclusion & Accessibility

How can we work towards a Cloud-based solution?

Deep and sustainable transformation can only happen with the support of people at every level – Leaders, Teachers, Parents Local Authorities and most importantly, Students! Transformation is not about replacing what works, but to enhance it in a productive and logical process.

What’s transformative leadership and policy all about?

Vision for change

Consider the development of a clear, succinct vision to drive change. By creating a powerful rationale that’s shared by all stakeholders, you can spark the momentum required for long-term impact and adoption. Regular bite-size training and use of the Microsoft Educator Community drives engagement and support for all.

Strategic planning & quality assurance

Think about what it is that your school want to achieve through a cloud-based platform. Start with an effective plan to achieve tangible steps towards that long-term goal. Using Microsoft Teams is a great way to launch engagement with simple collaboration and communication. Giving teachers opportunities to practice and play with the products will provide insight into how they can be embedded purposefully and effectively.

Partnerships & local capacity

Connecting with other teachers, schools and local authorities provides a support network – providing rich insight to how Office 365 can be used effectively on multiple levels. These relationships can help build capacity, whether through digitising administration, tackling the teacher workload and upgrading staff skills.

Inclusion & Accessibility

Making technology more accessible is core to ensuring nobody is left behind. Office 365 is built for all users with its enhance learning tools and immersive reader applications. All of which are built in at no additional cost. Microsoft’s Accessibility site includes guides and examples of how technology can support diverse needs and enhanced outcomes. The immersive Reader and Learning Tools are free with research that reflects improved reading and writing for people of any age or ability.

Take the next step: (Click on the links)

  1. Get Trained on the Microsoft Educator Community
  2. Sign up to a free Office 365 Workshop
  3. Fill in this Form to start building your Education Transformation Framework

Office 365: Content to Creation

Teachers everywhere are working tirelessly to design lessons and activities that reflect 21st century learning skills that promote greater conceptual understanding and outcomes. Whilst understanding how to teach effectively with technology can be challenging, there are many simple to use tools out there, that help develop learning outcomes and enhance the teaching and learning process. Energising the Curriculum is vital, if students are to acquire new knowledge and retain it, so providing them with the right tools, imperative.

Historically, PowerPoint has proved a useful tool for students to produce presentations, showcasing their knowledge and understanding of a concept taught. However, we may well have witnessed their heavy focus around making fonts technicolour, motion paths whizz across the slide and transitions captivating for the audience. Of course, the creative aspect is important for capturing audience attention, it is the content that we want greater focus on.

Introducing Microsoft Sway, the digital storytelling app, designed to put together presentations quickly with built in presentational features, where content is the focus. Start a Sway presentation from scratch or type in a theme/keyword, focussing primarily on the content, allowing the app to make it captivating for it’s audience. It is just like having a corkboard, where you add your content onto and the application puts it together for you. Just like having a virtual assistant, allowing you to focus more on content and less on those presentation features. Not only is it simple to use, but great for collaboration too! Up to 10 students can work on a single Sway at any time, promoting teamwork and providing every student with a voice during the learning process.

See the source image

.21st century educators are behind the driving force of using Sway in the classroom to spark creativity in students. The days of writing lengthy essays are long over with this powerful content presentation application. Sway delivers attractive features and brings ideas to life in minutes. A teacher can use Sway interactively to add text, links, picture, video and audio to share content.

Engaging students with technology is core to narrowing the achievement gap in children’s education. Sway is incredible for building fast presentations to any kind of audience and sharing it as an online tool for educators to use as part of their lesson, CPD session or even school newsletters. Here are the top 5 tips to engage students to #SwayEveryday

Here’s a quick tutorial video to help get you started:

Top 3 Tips for using Sway in the Classroom:

  1. Inside and Out Collaboration: Empower the students to share responsibilities of creating their Sway and encourage them to work both in and out of the classroom. This is crucial for anytime, anywhere learning.
  2. Create stories: Digital literacy plays an important role in language development for students, especially Key Stage One. Students have a thirst for reading stories. Educators have the ability to create an interactive story book by embedding text pictures and audio. Sway benefits from text book navigation, giving the reader a fun experience of reading their favourite stories.
  3. New ways to News: Creating a school newsletter using Sway has never been easier and once you have decided on a template, you’ll only need to amend the content each week. Embed picture, videos and text and  transform communication in your school instantly. Parents can easily access the Sway through their devices at home, requiring only a link sent directly to them.

 

Unlocking Creativity with Paint 3D

Whether you’re an artist or just want to try out some doodles, Paint 3D makes it easy to unleash your creativity and bring your ideas to life!

With Windows 10, you have a new, free, built-in app called Paint 3D that allows you to create models beyond basic 2D design, giving an experience to, create, edit and share in a new dimension. Make 3D masterpieces and scenes, all with a stroke of your digital pen or touch.  You can also access an online 3D community, Remix 3D, to find, use and remix models from within the Paint 3D app itself! Even more, you can drop your creation into the real world with the mixed reality viewer, bring immersive experiences to students and their learning environment. Imagine creating a 3D model of a World War Two fighter plane and placing it in the classroom for students to explore. The impossible made possible!

Find your inspiration with Remix3D.com Community

Manipulate shape and colour in a whole new dimension with the easy and simplicity of the Paint we know and love! You can even change a 2D image into a 3D object. Start by creating objects, which you can rotate and see from every side, then add a splash of colour with the new and improved brushes, such as transparent watercolour or oil brushes so real that you can see the paint smudging.

Check out the introduction video to help get you started: 

Paint 3D allows you to easily pull from 3D art in Remix3D.com’s growing catalog for you to customize, edit, and share. Remix3D.com is your online home for 3D content and community. Connect with other creators, showcase your own creations and get inspired.

Pull 3D art from Remix3D.com, like this patch of patch

Realistic Textures

Add fantastic new textures or materials such as sparkling gold, stained hardwood, or soft grass to your creations and benefit from the realistic look and feel of your design. Make any model come to life, across all curriculum areas for students to gain a deeper understanding of what they are learning.

Add realistic textures to any object to make them come to life

Unique MEME Creator

Personalize shapes with 3D stickers or even wrap your own photos around objects. Stickers automatically wrap around 3D objects and contour to fit making it simple to use without having to be an artist or graphic designer. Have fun applying pictures of friends to 3D figurines and emojis.

Add stickers that automatically contour to fit 3D objects

Bring your ideas to life with 3D Doodle

Doodle like never before. In the new Paint, your doodles will jump into 3D. You can even take your drawings for a spin and view them from every side. Manipulating the object is easy with the familiar experience of cropping, resizing and editing images within Word and PowerPoint. Let your imagination break free.

Use 3D Doodle to draw puffy clouds

Jump In

Paint can do a lot more than it used to. These are just five of our favourite features, but with a little digging you’ll discover tons more. Jump in and explore.

The Microsoft Educator community hosts courses, resources and quick tutuorial videos to help get you started along with a STEAM series, designed to inspire cross-curricular learning. CLICK HERE to access the portal

To get started, sign up on Remix3D.com and download Paint 3D

 

Office 365: Reimagining the Writing Process

Finding time for students to imagine, draft, write and revise; quality feedback opportunities; creating effective collaborative environments; providing high-level instruction regarding the technical components of writing – can prove increasingly challenging elements of a Teacher’s role. With data and evidence growing in demand, as teachers, we want a way to effectively tackle the workload and energise the curriculum in new ways.

Microsoft Teams is a digital application that brings conversations, content, and apps together in a seamless and collaborative way. Having all your ‘stuff’ in one safe and secure environment can help tackle the teacher workload and free up invaluable learning time and support for students. Whilst hosting a ‘classroom in the cloud’ may seem like an alien concept, migrating a core area like the writing process in a more manageable way, unlocks proficient ways of working on a document, with live feedback and simple submission being some of the many advantages.

The ability to distribute and share assignments with your students, whilst providing live feedback before they hand it in, naturally revise the skills required in that particular unit of work, maximising their written outcome. Students need time to reflect, be creative and showcase the skills they have been taught and technology comes second nature to them. The writing process and supporting it are an on-going processes that require student and teacher deliverables. By using an application like Microsoft Teams, it takes the familiarity of word processing, feedback and learning to an entirely new level.

As mentioned earlier with the writing process, assessment takes planning, time and consideration. Instead of a single submission date and the rush to finish on time, providing regular live feedback develops the thought process and direction of writing, leading to a greater outcome. By creating this model in a digital way, students are sent notifications with deadlines and check-ins so they are supported every step of the way! Also, you can provide all revision materials and success criteria with built in accessibility tools, so all students get the best chance of succeeding.

See the source image

Engaging with Technology

Students will see the assignment every time they visit the Teams site in its designated area. Additionally, within the application, you can create a OneNote Class notebook to share resources from units of work covered, turning it into an online library at their fingertips. The benefit of having your own electronic notebook with you is that its accessible anywhere, on any device, any time.

The Class Notebook allows you to share all content related to the course in one place. Anything you can print to a printer you can send to OneNote. Therefore, you can quickly post an existing Word document to OneNote detailing the writing assignment as well as the criteria you will use to assess the student’s final outcome. Add in criteria, word banks and other useful resources that will aide a student in the writing process. Additionally, you can send all or a part of your instructions in the content library to every student with the distribute content feature in the Class Notebook add-in. For more on OneNote Class Notebook, click here.

See the source image

Top 3 Tips for engaging students with the writing process: 

Dictation:

One tool that crosses over both genres is the Dictation feature found in Learning Tools for OneNote. With the dictation tool, students simply speak and OneNote does the typing. Dictation is not only a great way to combat the desperate stare at a blank, white page, but it is also a perfect accessibility feature for students with written expression disorder, dyslexia, dysgraphia, or other learning differences.

Ideation, Informative and Persuasive Writing:

Once a student has used the dictate function to summarize what they are learning about pollution, they can move their work to Word 2016 and use the Researcher function to gather more resources for the assignment.

 

Frictionless Collaboration:

If a writing project requires collaboration, Real Time Collaboration in Word is a wonderful tool for students. Finding time outside of class to work on a writing assignment can be challenging, but thanks to Word Online through Office 365 students will not have any problems finding time. One student can work on it right after school, and another can complete his part at 9 p.m. after football practice. Because the document is on Office 365, students can access the document anytime, anywhere with their phone, tablet, or computer – even offline.

 

Interested to find out more about the writing process? Click here and complete the CPD Course now to earn the badge and points on the Microsoft Educator Community! 

Why go Cloud?

Cloud Computing has been one of the biggest buzzwords over the last few years but surprisingly, it’s likely that we have all been using it for more than 10 years now! Gmail, Office 365, Facebook and Skype are all examples of cloud solutions that we have probably experienced. We may not think about these products in this way but the simple cloud principle behind them gives us easier access to our everyday like school email account, documents and student information. An added benefit to this cloud-based scenario is it is availability on any device, anywhere, at any time which is great for teachers who work in different ways!

Productivity in the cloud is ever-evolving and the latest innovations are making everyday applications that we use in the classroom even more mobile and collaborative. With the combination of training, support and LGfL TV, moving to the cloud can effectively tackle the teacher workload and manage simple tasks like setting assignments for students. It would also allow teachers to work collaboratively, more seamlessly.

As an example, let’s take a Medium term plan. We have all experienced trying to open a document at the same time our partner teacher does during a planning session. Multiple versions get saved onto the staff drive and USB pens, copy and pasting issues…it becomes difficult to work with and plan effectively this way! By using a cloud-based platform, teachers are able to work on a document collaboratively, in real-time! The document is automatically saved to a shared folder and it gives teachers back so much more time to focus on other tasks. This makes using a cloud-based solution as easy as keeping up with your personal life on Facebook.

Moving to the cloud can often feel daunting and knowing where to start, an even greater challenge. LGfL can provide training, best practice and technical support to help you migrate to the cloud seamlessly. Our dedicated Learning Resources Consultant’s not only support you with getting the most out of your cloud platform, but assist on curriculum mapping and building a digital transformation framework to develop your schools cloud journey.

Digital-transformation.jpg

How can the Cloud transform your School?

Flexibility – From a Teaching and Learning perspective, using cloud-based software means you are able to finish that report on the bus into work, provide live feedback to students in class and bring their latest progress data into the school hall for parent consultations. The anywhere, anytime approach really provides teachers with their classroom at their fingertips.

Security – Rest assured that your data in the cloud is much more secure than what’s hosted on a tower under your desk or in your server room. With certain applications within your cloud platform, as a Teacher, you are able to control what the students are able to access to make their experience safe and secure.

Capacity – Even now, schools spend a lot of budget on resourcing and managing infrastructure which may be out of date. With cloud computing, that’s no longer an issue. Now, you can focus on how the solution provides a shift in productivity, collaboration and progressive technologies.

Cost – Using a cloud technology can reduce maintenance fees. No more servers, software, and update fees. Many of the hidden costs typically associated with software implementation, customization, hardware, maintenance, and training are rolled into a transparent subscription fee. LGfL provide training, absolutely free and can be customised to the need of schools, on an individual basis.

It’s open –The Internet and your cloud platform will allow you to connect services to each other with seamless integration. This means that you can centralise your information and access it from anywhere in the world, on any computer or mobile device, at any time.

For more information on using a cloud-based platform and training, click here.