Week 1: Setup, initial thoughts and feedback

A week has passed since the nearly 60 pupils in three classes were issued with Surface Pro 4 tablets as part of the digital prototype.

This week has been a very busy week setting up and using the devices as well as pupils preparing and sitting some SQA unit assessments.

On Monday in all three classes we used the Surfaces for the first time, most pupils had done some setup at home over the weekend and played about with the devices at home to gain some familiarity.   The first task for all the pupils was to watch me show the pupils how to setup the OneNote 2016 app.  This was done using the Microsoft wireless adapter and a HDMI to VGA connector that allowed the image on my pupil test Surface to be projected onto my classroom whiteboard.  Pupils then used the resources on OneNote to answer some questions on work we had started last week using the on screen inking for the first time.  To maximise normal class learning I had decided, with the agreement of my Head Teacher, to use form tutor time, 30 minutes on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday to set up the Surfaces and issue tasks to the pupils to carry out.  This would free up more time in class for physics learning and preparing the pupils for their planned assessments.

These pupil tasks are set in Microsoft Classroom which I am promoting as the place they should go to first to find out what they need to do whether at home or in school.

The video tweeted by Scott Letts shows how assignments are set in Microsoft Classroom.

I had made video screencasts to show the pupils how to setup the initial accounts on the Surfaces and this was one of the initial tasks for all the pupils.

Tuesday form tutor time

In form tutor time Tuesday, pupils were asked to setup their Surfaces adding Glow/O365 accounts.

Adding a Glow/O365 account

Adding a MS account

They were then asked to make sure their OneNote 2016 accounts were setup, if they hadn’t already done this.  This involves going to Glow logging in, then choosing the Office 365 tile.  Opening Classroom with the leaf, then choosing the class and the class notebook option. Then click open the class OneNote, this will open the online version of OneNote, you then need to click on the open in OneNote open in the middle at the top.  Choose the 2016 OneNote version.  Now the file will open in the desktop application.  It will then download to the Surface.  After that you can just open OneNote 2016 directly.

It was also recommended that they install:

1.      OneDrive : This is where you should store all your files.  Open this app and enter your Glow details with @glow.sch.uk to set it up to always send your files to the cloud storage.  https://www.microsoft.com/store/apps/9wzdncrfj1p3

2.      Office Lens: Add this app to take picture of the board and send them to OneDrive or OneNote. 


3.      Mindmap app is good for mindmap learning get it from the Store. 


4.      Flashcards Pro is good for making flashcards you can get it from the Store. 


5.      Setup Glow email for the calendar and emails are sent to the Surface.  Go to settings – accounts – email – email calendar and contacts and add account entering your Glow details.

Pupils were also directed to O365 Apps they could install on their phones to keep up to date with the tasks to do and to aid communication.  Adding some apps on your phone could help you keep track of tasks and get notifications.

Yammer – for discussion and sending messages. 



Classroom – to get information on the tasks and deadlines. 



Wednesday form tutor time

During Wednesday’s form tutor time, they were asked to take a picture and send it to OneNote.  This was easiest to do using the OneNote app rather than the OneNote 2016 version they had already setup since the OneNote W10 app has a camera feature in built or you can use the Camera tool and then Share this to OneNote.  This meant pupils also had to connect this software to their Glow account.  Pupils need to open the correct page in OneNote before sharing or taking the picture.  In class this could be a way to share/store a picture of an experiment, some work, of the whiteboard. 

Thursday form tutor time

On the Thursday the pupils were asked to answer a survey to check if they had set up the Surface, if they had any technical problems, if they were familiar with how the learning was going to be in the weeks ahead.  I also asked them about what they thought so far.  Microsoft Forms are included in Glow and have great analysis charts and tools that can be exported to Excel for free.

win_20161027_10_49_42_pro win_20161027_10_51_18_pro

Here is a copy of the survey Form they used.  Here are some of the answers:










Using digital technology for assessment reflection and next steps

In class time after the assessments I asked pupils to carry out some evaluation, reflection and discussion to determine next steps and how to improve.  I used a Form to do this, which I created by adapting a paper evaluation we have been using for several years.

n5-effot h-forms-evaluation



This evaluation will be used as part of my learning conversation with the pupils.  This learning conversation can now by augmented by digital conversation as well as verbal feedback and discussion in class.  Pupils were encouraged to determine their SMART targets for the forthcoming month, it is hoped that their increased ownership of this target will provide a greater impact.

Week 1 summary

Lots of progress this week, Surfaces set up, pupils using OneNote and inking into their devices.  Most pupils able to take pictures and insert them into a class notebook.  Most pupils able to use Word Online to write information.  Almost all pupils knowing Classroom is where they find the tasks to do and able to access the tasks and can submit tasks back to me for review.

The IT generally working pretty well, the network firewall setting was changed for the Surface Wi-Fi such that it now allows access again to Yammer and O365 videos.  I installed OneNote Learning tools on all the machines and changed their user accounts to admin accounts whilst the pupils worked on their assessments.

We made sure Surface pens were paired correctly to allow for the buttons to work correctly for the shortcuts.  Troubleshooting videos were made to help the pupils if this happened to them.

Lots of learning and reflections on learning too to help improve their physics.

Next week more resources will be uploaded to OneNote and pupils will increasingly be asked to carry out tasks at home to prepare for class.  The amount asked will increase as we progress through the week and into the following week.  I hope to have tasks uploaded 7 days in advance, we have all made great progress but are not there yet!

Next week I am visiting St Mungo’s High School in Falkirk who are a Microsoft Innovative School.

I am looking forward to the visit to meet with teachers using O365 software in their classes and meeting digital contacts in person.  I have been asked to present and sharing our Carnoustie Surface experiences.

Surfaces are go!

This week it was back to school.  The network upgrade had been carried out and the Surfaces delivered from IT.  I had found that the OneNote 2016 desktop version had not been installed during the holidays but with support from the school technicians and our IT department we managed to install the application on all of the 60 devices.  This was quite a long undertaking since it was not possible to download an install package so each Surface had to be done separately.  The installation process did allow us to check the devices were able to connect to the network.  The network connection has been done using the MAC address of the device and no logging in is required by the pupils.

The devices were also setup with an administrator account that the pupils can use.  This is in addition to the default password protected administrator account that was put on the device.  Whilst we know the pupils can delete the other account since they have admin accounts, this will give them the flexibility to install software that might be helpful to their learning.  Several of the pupils are looking forward to using the Surface for music, art and technical drawing lessons.  The admin account with the password will allow us to access the device if required for checking or if the pupil locks themselves out.

Parent information evening

On Thursday evening we had invited the parents and their children into the school for an information evening.  I was delighted that Margo Williamson, Strategic Director Angus Council and Steve Roud our IT Service Manager were able to attend.  Their support and leadership together with that of my head teacher Donald Currie who was present too and depute Archie McInally have been key in the progress made to date with the prototype.  I was also pleased to have Andy Nagle, Senior Education Manager at Microsoft in attendance.

View and download presentation from docs.com


There were a number of questions from parents at the evening some of those asked included:

Q: Do you think that it will take the pupils time a long time to learn how to use the technology?

A: Most young people are very familiar with new technologies and whilst some might take longer than others, I believe they will pick up how to access the materials and use the technology in a short amount of time.

Do you think that the pupils are mature enough to learn in this way?

A: Other parents present answered that they felt their children were mature enough and should take responsibility for their learning.

Why were senior pupils chosen rather than pupils in S3 where it matters less?

A: Senior pupils were chosen because we felt the prototype would have the maximum positive impact on these pupils.

Why is this being done in Physics?

A: The digital prototype was open to all teachers in Angus to bid to be a part of it.  Physics pupils are involved because I am a Physics teacher and I made a bit to carry out a digital prototype since I strongly believe that learning in school should reflect learning in the 21st century.

What is the evidence for this type of learning?

A: There are lots of schools using flipped learning approaches in their work.  National publications such as described in the proposal.  Locally we have experience in Webster’s High School of flipped learning in Higher Biology.

Can pupils get paper materials if they want?

A: Yes

Are you worried that the technology will distract from their learning?

A: The purpose of the digital prototype is to use technology to enhance the learning, if the technology is getting in the way of the learning then we will amend the prototype to ensure that this doesn’t happen to ensure the technology is used to benefit.

You talk about pupils having discussions with each other to help their understanding.  Will this prevent my child from making progress with their learning?

A: I believe that discussion between peers and with the teacher is a key component in learning.  These type of discussions are encouraged in my classroom since research has shown that pupils own understanding benefits from teaching and helping others.  With flipped learning peer discussion continues to be important.

We asked parents to let us know if they had any concerns or questions and that their and pupil feedback would be really important.  It was stressed that whilst this is an innovative project, we are not losing sight of the main objective which is to enhance the learning and teaching and ensure pupils attainment is as good as it can be.

Many of the parents were very positive about the prototype and shared how excited their child was about being involved.  A number had only children at university where flipped learning and increasingly independent learning was required and felt that doing this in school could only be helpful in the future.

One parent sent a lovely email of support:

Dear Mr Currie,

I would like to express my appreciation to Mr Bailey for tonight’s presentation and to yourself for being a supporter of such a fantastic addition to my son’s learning.
From the moment he was told he was to receive the Microsoft surface pro 4 he has been eagerly anticipating its arrival. I feel this is a wonderful opportunity for the students to engage in Physics in a new and exciting way. Whilst not always understanding the technology myself,  I recognise that it is the future for our children and am grateful that CHS and Angus Council Schools and Learning has supported this innovation.
Please thank Mr Bailey for his research , effort and enthusiasm in making this happen.

Next Steps

After the evening I have decided next week to have some familiarisation and setup sessions with the pupils in form tutor time to minimise the disruption to their physics learning.

I would also like to explore more about what research is available regarding flipped learning in schools.

At the moment I have set up the Microsoft Classrooms and OneNote notebooks for each of the three classes.  I have populated the Higher classes with a decent amount of material but need to add more for the N5 classes.  The intention is to add these resources so that pupils can do the flipped learning at home this next week and then apply their learning in class the following week.

The next week will be one that involved lots of testing and learning whilst endeavouring to ensure as much progress as possible with the pupils learning.

OneNote is free for education

In the prototype I am using Microsoft OneNote on the Surface Pro 4 devices.

Whilst Microsoft OneNote comes installed with Windows 10, the native app has less functionality than the OneNote 2016 version. The differences between OneNote and OneNote 2016 are detailed on this page which also states that OneNote is free.

Despite the statement on the page above that OneNote was free, there remained some uncertainty regarding whether the 2016 version that is often delivered as part of the Office suite (Often 2010 or 2012 still in schools) was free.  The council IT department were of the belief that a license was needed to install OneNote and a number of teachers familiar with OneNote several Microsoft Innovative Educator Experts #MIEExpert such as myself believed that it was only the app that was free. I therefore contacted Microsoft by Twitter to get confirmation and received this response.

To eliminate confusion between the 2016 version and the native app it is now possible to remove the native applications from Windows 10.

The only feature I know that is in the Windows 10 OneNote app but not the 2016 ve

The link to the 2016 version is a bit hidden on the onenote.com page so I made a video to show where it is.

The ink to math tool is the one of the few functions not yet in the 2016 version.

The Learning tools add in available for the 2016 version makes the 2016 version the logical choice for education purposes. The learning tools are really helpful for pupils with additional support needs such as dyslexia.

Almost ready!

After 6 weeks of discussions and setup the Surface devices are close to being issued to the pupils.  Progress to date includes:

  • The setting up of the special wireless network for the prototype.  The network will recognise the MAC address of the devices and logging into the network should be as simple as opening the browser and clicking connect.
  • The upgraded Wi-Fi access points are scheduled to be installed in the October holiday after an initial mix up with an engineer coming into the school but not being able to carry out the work due to a lack of permission.
  • The drawing up of an acceptable use policy (AUP) for the pupils who are part of the prototype.  Once again I was helped by colleagues throughout Scotland, Malcolm Wilson @claganach at Falkirk who shared their agreement and @sheenaboyle who shared Balfon High School’s agreement for their iPAD pilot.  Following consultation with colleagues we decided to use an agreement very similar to the shorter AUP from Balfon High.  The agreement we have gone with can read here.
  • Each pupil within the prototype will be issued with a Surface Pro 4 tablet which has a pen, keyboard and ruggedised case for protection shown below.  After a period of deliberation it was decided that a more robust case would be worth the investment to provide increased protection for the device when in transit from home to school.

sfpro4_closed_pto3_blk_grandeUAG Case

  •  The Surface devices have been upgraded to the latest firmware and the Windows 10 Anniversary addition.  I felt this was an important task to be done before giving the devices to the pupils since when I tried this update on the first Surface received it took several hours to do and the inking features of  the Windows 10 update are a key feature of the prototype.   Therefore an image was created and this was installed on each device by IT.
  • Discussions regarding insurance and repairs of the devices have taken place with AC risk assessors and a procedure agreed in the event of loss or damage to the device.
  • A letter has been written and handed out to the pupils involved to take home to their parents/carers to introduce the aims of the prototype and the user agreement.  Parents and their children have been invited to an information evening on Thursday 20th October at 7 pm in the school.  At the evening I will share information about the prototype, flipped learning and demonstrate how some of the online learning will take place.  We also plan to issue the devices to those attending the meeting.

Things still to do

  • I plan to use Microsoft OneNote for the prototype but have found that the desktop version of OneNote 2016 has not yet been installed on the Surfaces, I had expected this to be part of the image installed on each device.  I am not yet certain why this didn’t happen but anticipate it might be to do with the differences between software licenses for educational and corporate requirements.  Whilst OneNote is included as part of Windows 10, this is the app version which has fewer features at the moment than the Office version OneNote 2016.  This page compares the features.  OneNote is free to download from Microsoft .  Sadly this means that the software will have to be manually installed onto all 60 devices before they can be used as intended.  I hope that this can be done before issuing to pupils otherwise it will need to be done in a lesson.
  • Other software that I need to add to the image is the OneNote Learning tools.  These learning tools are helpful for all learners and particularly those with additional support needs.  onenote-learning-tools-add-in
  • At the moment the Surfaces have been setup with an administrator account with a name like CarSurface01 .  I do wish to provide the flexibility for pupils to install software that helps learning which means they need an administrator account, however it will be more convenient for them to have their own log in as this will then allow them to customise the password and use the Windows log on details such as Windows Hello.  I feel it is important that pupils can make their devices secure for only their access.  I also want to retain the possibility of access so think the best way to do this is to leave the existing account with a password on the device and create a new account for the pupil.  Since the pupil account will be an admin account it would be possible for them to delete the other account but I will ask them not to do this!  This will then allow a back door into the device if required.  The AUP includes a clause where the device can be requested to be handed in for checking and this other account would allow that to be done if needed.
  • I also need to prepare the presentation and information for the parents, and prepare the induction, health and safety, e-safety and care of the device lesson for the pupils.
  • Remove barriers within school to using my classroom PC to create learning materials.  I have found that in school I am still unable to upload my Office Mix presentations and videos.  Use some of the Glow services including Skype.  I am also aware that many staff lack access to OneNote as it is not installed on PC’s by default and this means it isn’t used for collaboration or learning as it could be.

Finally the most important thing yet to be done is to create more of the learning resources that the pupils will be using.  This will include setting up the Microsoft Classroom, the OneNote notebook including more Office Mix narrated presentations and quizzes.

In summary lots of progress has been made but there remain a number of significant actions to do ideally before the pupils are issued with the Surface devices.  To date it has been rewarding and frustrating dealing with the challenges of making progress with the digital prototype whilst maintaining my full time teaching commitment (S1 Science, S3 Physics x 2, N5 x 1, N5/H x 1, H x 1, AH x 1).  The pupils are very excited and enthused about being involved in the prototype and this makes me determined to do my best to provide the best learning and teaching resources to help them with their learning that I can.