There are so many choices for sources of news for learners to find out about what’s going on the world today, whether printed media, online news sites or social media. But how can learners be helped to be able to work out if what they are reading has any substance in fact, how accurate the information is, or what the biases are likely to be?
Is what you read in the style of what might be considered traditional journalism where different views are balanced against each other, he said this, she said that, with linked references and explanations? Or is it one-sided propaganda littered with emotive inflammatory language twisting quotes out of their original context and little reference to sources?
How can you spot fake news?
How to Spot Fake News – the IFLA (the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions), with thanks to www.factcheck.org, created an infographic detailing steps we can all take when trying to work out if what we are reading, hearing or watching is verifiable. This helps teach the skills of critical thinking and media literacy. This describes with visual representation 8 steps to take to help determine the likely authenticity of shared information: to consider the source, to read beyond the headline, the check credibility of the author, to look at linking sources, to check the date to see if current, to research to see if it’s satire, to consider your own biases and the likely ones of the source sharing the information, and to consult fact-checking sites. The infographic is available to download as either an image or in pdf format for printing.
Digital Literacy and “Fake News” – Resources to Help you help your students – many links collated by librarian-turned-technology-specialist Nancy Watson @nancywtech which help teachers guide their learners through ways to spot fake news and techniques to work out the authenticity of the shared information. The links include sites aimed at different age groups, teachers, younger learners, as well as for general public use. They include fact-checking sites as well as tips and advice to determining reliability of what is shared.
Digital Literacy and the “Fake News” Epidemic – Nancy Watson has produced a superb resource for educators sharing a host of advice, tips and resources to support teachers support their learners to better be able to be discerning about the information shared online or in the print media. This includes examples of fake news and outlines the steps anyone can take to determine it to be factually inaccurate.
Fake or real? How to self-check the news and get the facts – a post by digital news intern Wynne Davis describing the issue of fake news and giving practical advice for all ages about how to help determine whether what you are reading is true or fiction. Tips include checking the domain name (especially similar-sounding names), looking at quotations in the story (and checking up on who they are and anything known about them online), searching the quote itself to see if it properly attributed or taken out of context, check the comments to get a flavour of whether others call out the facts as being untrue and cite sources to back up their claims, reverse image search (right click on an image online and choose to search Google for it to see where else it is used and the context in which it is used).
The student’s guide to media messages – we are surrounded by media in many different forms, all vying for our attention and using various methods to persuade us of something (to purchase, to support, to oppose or more). Frank W Baker on the ISTE site shared 9 Lessons to boost media literacy which included a helpful infographic poster of key strategies and steps everyone can apply to what they read or view, whether in books, blogs, online video-sharing sites, television, social media posts or magazine. The 9 lessons offer suggestions for teachers to tackle the subject in different ways. The infographic poster (based on ideas in Frank Baker’s referenced book) combine to encourage learners to ask themselves if they can identify the author, when something was created, whether there are references or sources quoted which can be verified, the reliability of the web address and the literacy level of the actual texts used. And always to consider who created it, what the purpose might be, who was the intended audience, what persuasive techniques have been employed, what was missed out, who might benefit from the message and if it feeds reinforcing stereotypes.
Identifying Fake News: An Infographic and Educator Resources – a blogpost by Michele Kirschenbaum on the EasyBib site which includes a visual representation of steps to take in order to try to work out whether information can be trusted. As well as the steps outlined the blogpost also includes links to additional resources to support teachers in a classroom attempting to guide learners in putting the skills into practice Continue Reading →
Virtual Reality, or VR, provides a means to have an experience of a location or object (whether real or imaginary) through a mobile device, often viewed through a headset, in such a way that when the viewer moves around they see the virtual view moving with them. So the images are usually 360 degree images and can be in 3D so that when viewed on a mobile device within a headset with twin lenses it appears to the viewer as being as close to being there as possible. When you move forward, tilt your head, look up – it’s as if you are doing the same in the virtual reality experience.
What are the options for the classroom?
The least expensive option for using Virtual Reality in a classroom would be Google Expeditions using Google Cardboard viewers (while they can be viewed without a twin-lens 3D viewer the viewer will lose the feeling of 3D) which are held by the hand up to the eyes. More expensive options are available with a variety of VR viewer headsets (such as Microsoft HoloLens, Gear VR or Oculus Rift headsets) and accompanying sensors (often handheld) so that the experience can involve touching or interacting with objects within a VR experience – as you approach or touch something in virtual reality it will react in a way as it in real life.
Google Expeditions with Google Cardboard Viewers
Google Expeditions are virtual reality experiences designed with a classroom guided exploration in mind. The teacher downloads the choice of virtual reality location using the Google Expeditions app and starts the expedition. Then when the pupil on the same wi-fi connection starts the app on their device they will see the teacher-directed expedition awaiting them.
In Google Expeditions the teacher application provides suggestions for questions or directions to guide learners as they explore the virtual environment. The teacher can see on their mobile device app where the learners are exploring on their screens, and can make suggestions as the learners explore.
How do I use Google Expeditions with iPads or Android tablets?
The video below shows how Google Expeditions can be viewed on iPads rather than smartphones. Many school may already have iPads or Android tablets, and the Google Expeditions apps will work on these too. However the Google Cardboard viewer is designed with the size of a smartphone in mind. If you wish to use the app on an iPad or Android tablet then when running the setup at the point where you see the two images side by side there is a small icon at the top right which lets you change the twin view to single view. Having done that the view will no longer be 3D and will no longer be held up to the eyes of the viewer but simply handheld.
Where can I find Virtual Reality Experiences for my classroom?
Google Expeditions provides a superb source of Virtual Reality experiences ready to be downloaded for use on devices in the classroom.
Discovery VR provides a wide range of downloadable virtual reality experiences in an educational context. Each is available for specific devices and come with notes for use by the educator with their class to guide their learners in the exploration of the experience.
10 Ideas to get started with Virtual Reality in the classroom – a blogpost by Jaime Donally listing and describing sources of VR experiences for a classroom setting, including Nearpod, YouTube, AugThat, Google Spotlight Stories, Discovery VR, Google Street View, Roundme, Edorble and more. The post includes advice about each and how they might be used with learners.
In a nutshell, it’s an online environment where a teacher can assign tasks, track who’s completed tasks with ease, or provide feedback to support learners, share in seconds OneNote pages to every individual pupil’s section which can only be seen by the teacher and that individual pupil, have peer-to-peer conversations for collaborative work between learners or for teachers to provide individualised support to learners through teacher-pupil discussions. It joins up features available in Office 365 for Education – the OneNote Class Notebook, messaging, calendar, feedback, groups and email especially for classrooms. It works via a browser, or computer or mobile app for smartphone or tablet.
Click on this link for an interactive step-by-step guide to Microsoft Classroom, what it looks like, how it works and how a teacher might use it with their learners. This interactive guide takes you through the steps combining video, audio, screenshots as well as inviting you to click on the sections to see what happens and move to the next step to find out how Microsoft Classroom works for a teacher.
Teachers and pupils in Scottish schools have access to Microsoft Classroom using their Glow login details. Just log into Glow, choose any Office 365 tile then, from any part of Office 365, just click on the 9-square waffle and choose the Classroom tile. Alternatively go to Microsoft Classroom website and use your Glow login details to log in straight from there https://classroom.microsoft.com/
The Microsoft Educator Community has an introduction to Microsoft Classroom guiding users through the features, setup and management of Microsoft Classroom. Educators are encouraged to sign up on the Microsoft Educators Community as recognition is then given for completion of a course and assessment in the form of badge and certificate https://education.microsoft.com/GetTrained/introduction-to-microsoft-classroom
When setting up the app on a mobile device it will usually ask for the Office 365 for Education – that will be the full Glow email address.
How to make use of existing OneNote Class Notebooks in Microsoft Classroom
Schools which have already been using Microsoft OneNote and have existing OneNote Class Notebooks can associate Microsoft Classroom with existing Class Notebooks. To do this ensure you have the desktop version of OneNote installed on your computer, and have added the Class Notebook Add-in. Then to associate an existing Class Notebook with a Microsoft Classroom click on > Connections > Map Class Notebooks.
Is there a feature you’d like to see in Microsoft Classroom?
Memes and animated gifs abound in social media. You don’t have to look too long online to see these appear, often being shared and shared by many people via their social media accounts, or prominent on webpages or blogposts to draw in the reader to find out more about a story or data.
Having learners create their own memes or animated gifs can support their learning across all areas of the curriculum. The process of demonstrating understanding of a concept involves learners in reflecting on their learning, often discussing with others to test the depth of that understanding, and then finding creative ways to present the information to others. Where learners are encouraged to make these animated gifs or memes to demonstrate their understanding of concepts they are reflecting on what the key points are, they are summarising, in effect creating a visual précis of information.
So what is an animated gif?
Animated gifs are short animations lasting just a few seconds, sometimes just a sequence of related images, sometimes a short looping segment or clip of a video, sometimes a stop-motion style of inanimate objects brought to life to convey a message.
And what is an image meme?
Image Memes generally may consist of a single photograph with text along the top and foot of the image, sometimes black top and bottom borders where bold white text is superimposed. The text is often in capitalised Impact font.
The text is usually very short and the text along the top can often be the draw to bring in the viewer, and then the text along the foot can spin the idea to make the reader reflect on the issue, often with humorous effect.
Where learners might make memes and animated gifs
Animated gifs and memes present messages in a visual, attention-grabbing way, to make those who view them stop and think. The most thought-provoking memes and animated gifs distil what can be a complex concept into the main idea which can be understood in just a few seconds.
A Mental Health and Wellbeing project, AyeMind, (which inspired this blogpost after a presentation by Dr Trevor Lakey, Health Improvement and Inequalities manager with NHSGGC) developed by the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde along with partner organisations, has a fantastic website to be a part of providing positive mental health support for children and young people.
Part of this was about digital inclusion, and using the tools, platforms and means of communications familiar to children and young people to engage and share. Part of this project was enabling talking about mental health issues in a positive, supportive environment and giving the children and young people a voice and opportunity to make better use of the Internet, social media and mobile technologies. The memes and animated gifs on the AyeMind project website were created by children and young people as part of the project.
How to create an animated gif
There are a number of free online tools which let users create an animated gif. When using in an educational setting it would be prudent to check for suitability of advertising or galleries of user-created content which is rarely moderated.
Ideally find a tool which just offers the tool for creation of the animated gif. Each tool which creates an animated gif may provide different options such as the limit on the number of images which can be uploaded, the option to control the speed or frame-rate of the animation, the size of the output animated gif image, and sometimes further options. Some simply provide the option for users to specify the location of an already uploaded video online, and the starting and finishing point for the clip animated gif to be created.
Online tools or mobile apps for creating an animated gif:
ABC.ya animator – aimed at being suitable for young children since it only permits drawn images or selection of pictures from an inbuilt galley of images.
GifMaker.me – animated gif creator with several options from which to choose in controlling how the animated gif will be presented, and provides the option to add music or even combine several animated gifs. As with any creation tool it provides the opportunity to explore sources of images and content found elsewhere, to use only where permission is granted and attribution given as required. http://gifcreator.me/ is the version of this gif creator which does not require Adobe Flash so works on most devices.
MakeAGif – provides the option to make a gif from an uploaded existing video or from an online source on YouTube, from which the specific segment can be selected. Be aware of the gallery of examples which would not all be appropriate for an educational setting.
EZGif – provides the option for animated gifs from multiple images (up to 400) or from video. There is advertising on the site but no gallery of user-created content.
Online tools or mobile device apps for creating an image meme
Any image-creation tool (or a presentation tool like PowerPoint) on computer, mobile or tablet device can usually be used for creating an image meme – wherever an image can be placed with the facility to overlay text either along the top and bottom of the image, or within a border of black along the top and bottom of the image for white text to be superimposed on these black panels. There are online tools but as with any free online tool a having unmoderated galleries of user-created content has to be a factor an educator looks at in assessing the suitability of a tool in an educational context, however the following may provide the teacher with ideas, guides as well as inspire an adaptation of an existing meme to suit the learning need. Meme creation online tools include imgFlip Meme generator,MemeMaker.Net,MemeGenerator.net, and ImageChef Meme Maker (be aware that all of these have galleries of user-generated content which would not generally be suitable in an educational context but selected memes may be shared by a teacher for showing examples).
Gathering feedback, taking quizzes to reinforce learning, undertaking surveys of views, signing up or registering for an activity – just some of the ways forms can be used by schools. And now there is the option to use Microsoft Forms – available as a free online tool which uses a Microsoft Office 365 account (available to all Glow users) to set up the form either by going to https://forms.office.com or, if already logged into Office 365, via the Forms tile in the office 365 navigation tiles waffle. Office Forms can be created by either learners or educators.
Forms work nicely on any smartphones, tablets or PCs. Setting up requires the creator to be logged in to Office 365 but those completing the created form can be completed by anyone without requiring any kind of logging in (if that setting is chosen by the form creator), or they can be anonymous (if that is the setting the creator of the form wishes to use), or if they wish to restrict responses to their class and to ensure their identity they can use the login details of office 365 users too (if that’s how the creator of the form wishes the form to be completed). So the form creator gets the choice to suit the purpose and audience of their form.
Feedback is immediate, real-time, to the form creator and the results can be displayed in different ways to suit the need of the form creator.
For Sway users you can embed a form created with office Forms live in a Sway presentation information can be shared about a topic being studied and a quiz included alongside the content.
Creating your form
Either go to https://forms.office.com and log in with your Office 365 account (for Scottish schools that will be your Glow account) or, if already logged into Office 365, choose the Forms tile in the office 365 navigation tiles waffle.
Click on + Newto start creating your new form (you can click on the title of any previously created form in order to edit that, and if you wish to base a new form on an existing form you can click on the … ellipsis to the right of the form title and choose copy – then you can edit the copy to create a new version.
Just click on “Untitled form” to edit the name of your form, and click on “Enter a description” to add explanatory text as you may wish to include to explain the purpose of the form and perhaps mentioning the intended audience. Then click “+Add question“
Choose the type of question.There are five types of answer formats:
multiple choice questions (where you can choose to accept only one answer or multiple responses)
free-text (and you can choose either short or long text)
ratings (you can choose number or star rating)
quiz-questions (where you can provide immediate feedback to anyone filling in the form as to whether the respondent gave the correct answer or not (click on the tick icon to indicate which answer would be the correct answer – and just click on the speech-bubble icon to add comments to any response choice, which may give encouraging comments or suggestions for what to do next in response to the answer given, or any kind of feedback you wish to display when a particular choice is chosen)
You can choose whether there can be multiple responses or only one answer accepted, you can require that specific questions have to be answered before a user can complete the form, and by clicking on the …ellipsis you can choose whether a subtitle (which could provide explanatory text for each question) is displayed, and whether you wish to shuffle the order of questions so that each time someone sees the form the questions are displayed in a random order.
Add as many further questions as you wish. You can re-order the questions by clicking on the upward or downward facing arrows above each question, and you can copy an existing question (and edit that copy), or delete an existing question.
You can add a branching question option so that, depending on the response to one question, anyone responding can be directed to different questions to reflect that choice.
Previewing your form
To see what the form will look like for people about to fill it in you can click on “preview” at the top navigation bar. You can see how the questions will be laid out on a computer, and you can also choose to see how it will look on a mobile device.
Sharing your form
Once the form is complete click on “Send form” – this will open a side panel with various choices. It will provide a link to share with those you wish to respond to the form. It will create a QR code for quick scanning by users using a mobile device, and it will provide html embed code if you wish to embed the form within a website page or blogpost. This screen also gives you the option to choose who will be able to fill out the form – you can choose only people within your organisation (for Scottish schools using Glow that would be Glow users only), and within that you can choose whether or not to record the names of those responding in the results, or you can choose to make the form available to anyone with the link (where no sign-in will be required for people responding to the form).
If you click on “See all settings” at the foot of this side panel you will get further choices:
Looking at the results of your form
When you wish to look at the responses to a form you have shared then simply open the form and click on the responses tab along the top of the screen. You will get an overview of the number of respondents, the average time taken to complete by respondents, and whether the form is still active or expired 9if you’d set it to have a deadline). There is also the option to download to a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet (which comes complete with auto-filter drop-downs to easily sort the information generated to suit your needs).
Tracking Significant Aspects of Learning – Athole McLauchlan used Microsoft Forms with pupils at Bearsden Primary School as a way of recognising and reporting on wider achievements of learners. Click here to see a copy of the form used (this is a mock copy for readers of this blog to try out the responses and does not affect the real form used with pupils). This covered pupil voice, sporting achievements, learning for sustainability, healthy choices, STEM, reading and writing for pleasure, creativity and personal interest, and skills for life and work. One question included a “bucket list” – looking at pupil aspirations (with reference to 50 things to do before age 11). Forms can be used to generate a report on school-wide data, as well as to look at the responses on a form by any individual (a form can be anonymised or it can require login and a name to be provided depending on the purpose).
Steven Payne, an educator in Western Australia, shared the results of a mock use Microsoft Forms – showing the results, and the way in which they can be displayed, which the creator of the form can see once respondents have completed the survey.
Jim Federico commented in a tweet that Microsoft Forms being built into Office 365 for Education means no add-ins are required, and includes question types which auto-grade.
Kurt Söser, an educator in Austria, has provided a step-by-step guide to his experience setting up a quiz with Microsoft Forms and using it with his learners.
Vicent Gadea, an educator in Spain, described co-assessment using Microsoft Forms “1st time was complicated then was very powerful for us.”
Koen Timmers, an educator in Belgium, has described in a step-by-step guide, illustrated with screenshots, how to set up a form using Office Forms, and shared what the responses look like for a form he created.
Gordon Wardlaw, teacher at Grangemouth High School in Falkirk Council has shared in a Sway presentation about his use of Forms with his pupils.
There is a range of online form tools available, each of which can generally be used in similar ways, so it can be helpful to look at how others have used these tools when thinking about how online forms can support classroom activity.
What to Think About When You’re Surveying Students – a post by Marcia Quackenbush and Pamela Jakwerth Drake which provides a host of ideas for using survey tools with learners, outlining the benefits as well as considerations specific to schools to be borne in mind, and links to various resources.
Comparison of Google Forms with Microsoft Forms – an informative blogpost by Miguel Guhlin describing each of the features side-by-side of the form-creation tools from both Google and Microsoft. Each tool changes to meet the needs of users and it is great for educators that two tools are available. Ideas for use of forms in either tool can be readily used in either tool, so often the tool to choose will be determined by what platform a school has already been set up for teachers and learners to use with accounts in either tool. So if you see a form shared in one platform which inspires you to make use of the idea you will find it will work in both.
FindTime – a quick way to find a time which best suits everyone when you are trying to arrange a meeting with a group of people.
There will be many times teachers are trying to organise a meeting time for a group of colleagues (sometimes in their own school, and often with colleagues in other schools, and sometimes with people outwith schools altogether) , but when you send out a message some people may reply only to you, some people may explain how they could make one time if they re-arranged something else, some say that a particular date is their preferred time, and some they just can’t manage at all.
How do you make sense of all of these replies?
FindTime is one way of neatly taking all of that into account where you simply make some suggestions for meeting, add the people to be invited (just by adding heir email address), and everyone simply clicks on times which best suit them from the link in the email (they don’t need to log into anything), which times they can’t manage, and which they could possibly do if they re-arranged something else. And FindTime also gives you the option to hold suggestions in Outlook calendars and confirm to all attendees what the outcome was once it’s been clearly identified as the best option.
FindTime works with Office 365, so for Glow users the person who creates the meeting invitation simply has to use their Glow account to set up the meeting, but thereafter anyone can be invited to the meeting, with no need for others to be Glow users of for anyone to log into anything. The email invitation sent out includes links specific to each invited individual so they simply click on the link in their email to make their choices.
First time setup for the organiser
First time set up just needs the add-in for FindTime to be added to the Outlook calendar, in Glow Office 365. So do the following:
Log into Glow and navigate to Office 365 (Calendar).
Click on the button which says “Install for free – requires office 365” – untick the box which asks if you wish sent news of updates, and then click on the button which says “I’m ready.”
In the login screen which then appears add your Glow email address where it asks for your Microsoft Office (that will be your Glow username followed by @glow.sch.uk). That will take you to the normal Glow login screen so simply sign in as normal. A button will appear to show that the add-in for FindTime is now installed.
How to start a meeting invitation
The organiser of the meeting is the only one who has to have a Glow Microsoft Office 365 account – everyone else just needs to have an email address, which does not need to be within Glow nor Office 365. Navigate to the Internet browser tab where you have Glow Microsoft Office 365 Calendar (note that this also works from within Microsoft Office 365 Outlook email too, so the steps below work whether email or calendar part of Office e365).
Choose the drop down arrow beside “+New” and choose “Calendar event.”
Click on “Add-ins” and choose “FindTime. The first time you do this only you click on the “FindTime “link now” box which appears. Thereafter you’ll see the FindTime option each time you choose that from the add-in menu.
Underneath where it says “People” you’ll see a box which says “Add people” where you simply type email addresses of each of the people who are going to invite – once each name is typed you click on “Use this address” which displays under the email address” to add each email address one by one (don’t user the + sign beside the box as this will only add from your address book).
Now select the meeting options in the FindTime panel (it’s suggested to specify the meeting duration, then select as or as many days/times options as suit you). Then click “Next” – here you can click on the cog for “Meeting settings” to specify whether you wish to have notifications, to hold possible dates in diaries, or to automatically schedule the dates which suits everyone (probably you’d want to decide that for yourself so may no choose that last option).
Finally click on “Insert to email” and send to those you are inviting to participate.
And once you get the invitations?
Each user simply clicks on the link in their email and makes their choices (preferred option, and yes or no for each suggested time/date) before clicking on the “Submit” button. And that’s all they have to do. The organiser can go to https://findtime.microsoft.com to review meeting details of any meeting they have organised, and edit or send out details to participants as required. They can also see the details from with their calendar entry for the selected time/date in Office 365.
Yammer is an online discussion/collaboration tool which provides schools with a secure online environment where all pupils in a class can ask questions of their peers, where they can seek answers and help each other, bounce ideas around and deepen their own understanding of what they are learning in class. It is available to all users of Office 365 for Education, meaning all Glow users, pupils and staff, have access to this tool. And it can be accessed by signing in online in a browser or using a mobile device app.
Yammer provides an ideal tool through which learners can learn about the use of social media, in a protected environment, where the pupils can be guided to model behaviours for use in an online discussion tool, which will apply to any social media tool pupils may meet outwith their schooling. So if a teacher is looking to help pupils learn about safe sharing, and what not to share online, being supportive and respectful of views of others, and a place for pupils to engage in deepening their understanding through questioning and responding to others, then Yammer provides a great environment for a school.
How do pupils and teachers get started using Yammer?
Glow users simply sign into Glow then navigate to any part of Office 365, such as the tile for Office 365 (School Site) and then click on the 9-square waffle icon to navigate to the range of tools available in Office 365 – and choose the Yammer tile.
The very first time a user clicks on the Yammer tile they will be invited to invite further users – don’t invite others but instead just close that window (click on the greyed-out cross at the top-right or click on the background page behind the invitation panel.
You’re then in Yammer and can start browsing some of the Yammer groups open to all users. Or, if a pupil is ready to join the private class Yammer group set up by their teacher, then the first time the pupil simply searches for the class group name, clicks on the link and requests to join by clicking on the “join group” button – that sends a message to the teacher who accepts their pupils into the group.
Alternatively, rather than go to Glow first, users can search with an online search engine for Yammer or go straight to https://www.yammer.com where they can then simply log in using their Glow/Office 365 email address and password.
How do you set up a Yammer group just for pupils and teachers in a class?
A class teacher can quickly set up a private class group in Yammer. Click on “+ Create a new group” and then give the group a name – include in the group name something which identifies the school as well as the class name.
Choose “Private – Only approved members” and untick the box which gives the option to “List in Group Directory” – that way only pupils who know what to search for will be able to find a teacher’s Yammer class group, and only pupils who the teachers knows are members of their class will be granted access by the teacher. Setting up that way avoids the teachers having to add a list of usernames – they simply tell their class what to search for, and to click on the “join group” button when they find the group.
A teacher can see the list of pupils waiting to be added to their class yammer group by going into the Yammer group and then clicking on “Members” at the right-hand side. This will show which users have requested access and are pending approval by the teacher.
It would be recommended to have additional teacher colleagues added as joint administrators – beside their name on the list of members just click on the cog icon and select “Make admin” to elevate that teacher to be a joint administrator of that Yammer group.
What can you do in a Yammer discussion?
You can ask questions, respond to requests from others, add comments or create polls to garner views of others. Attachments can be added to any discussion post – so pupils can perhaps discuss or share comments about a resource. You can even use the “praise” button to acknowledge the input of other users. A Yammer group provides a place to share resources, and links to related sites elsewhere.
20 Ways to use Yammer in Education – a post describing 20 different ways in which Yammer can be used by schools, whether simply sending out messages to everyone in a class, setting up groups for specific groups, using the praise button, promoting an event, holding an online debate, developing a mentor programme, using Yammer to teach online safety specifically in relation to safer use of social networking, and more.
Kirknewton Primary School in West Lothian has provided an excellent description of how they are using Yammer with pupils. This blogpost gives screenshots of different aspects to how they use Yammer, as well as the rationale to the choice of tool and the purposes behind it to better support learning and teaching. This has included using Yammer to support collaborative writing. Mrs Anderson, Principal Teacher at the school said “As a teacher and parent I feel that it is very important that we educate children about the safe use of social media – using Yammer has been a fantastic way to do so, in a safe environment. Feedback from parents has been positive.” “The impact on learning and teaching is evident in the content of the group and the enthusiasm of pupils (which is evident in the online interactions).”
Students being creative with Yammer – a blogpost by Kevin Sait of Wymondham High School describing how they got pupils started using Yammer and how the use developed in different ways, including as a safe environment in which to teach safer use of social networking tools, supporting learning in second languages (where discussion took place entirely in the language being learned), and pupil-created groups to showcase work, including art and writing.
What safeguards are in place for Yammer users in Glow?
Yammer groups can be set up to be private (such as for a class of pupils so that the Yammer group can only be accessed by pupils in that class with their teachers). There are also Yammer groups open to users across Glow and educators within Glow nationally act as Moderators for Yammer users, welcoming new users, helping guide users to use appropriate language in a supportive way.
Everything in Yammer is identifiable to the individual user. There is a simple “report a concern” option for all users (either use the question mark icon on a page or anywhere you see a “Report a concern” button) which will alert the national Glow administrators to concerns raised, and who will provide the support required to resolve any issues.
There’s also a filter to ensure inappropriate language can’t accidentally be posted.
And of course the educational-focussed environment shared between learners and educators means there is a visible supportive environment. Users can set email alerts either to all posts in a specific Yammer group, or to individual posts where alerts would be sent for replies or comments just to that post.
Yammer Mobile App
Yammer has an app for mobile devices – search on the app store for your device. Then once downloaded simply log in with your Glow/Office 365 email address (that’s where your Glow username has @glow.sch.uk added to the end, after your Glow username). For many users the use of the app will be the most convenient way to access Yammer.
What help is available?
Day One Guide for the Glow Yammer Network (accessed using Glow account – but also available as a document download from the public-access site Yammer Guide for Glow Users) – a very helpful guide of do things to do, and things to avoid, as well as guides to getting the most out of Yammer, specially in the early stages of getting used to using Yammer in a school.
Yammer Guide for Glow Users – a Glow-specific help guide to getting started with the use of Glow. This includes guidance and suggestions for managing Yammer in an educational context. This link provides Yammer-in-Glow-guidelines as well as further tips and advice for learners and teachers using Yammer in Glow.
So how are you using Yammer in your school?
Do share in the comments below how Yammer is being used in your school
Docs.com from Microsoft provides a free way to share your Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Sway and PDF documents.
These shared documents can be viewed by others just by sharing a link (whether in social media, print form or by text or email message). You can embed any shared document on a website or blog. You can choose to keep documents unlisted so that others can only access them if they have the direct link, or make them public for anyone to view.
Upload from various sources
You can upload your files from your computer, tablet or mobile device, or from Sway, Office Mix or OneNote online accounts, or your OneDrive cloud storage.
Documents can be grouped into collections by you – so a teacher in a classroom might group resources according to curricular area/subject, or stage or for a specific group, or for an event. So when you share the link to that collection all of the related files, resources and presentations will be displayed together.
Sign in with Glow account
You can create a new account or sign in with a Facebook, a Microsoft account or Office 365 – and importantly for schools works with Glow accounts, meaning that for Glow users it’s just one username and password to access and make use of this tool, as well as all of the other resources and tools within Glow.
Analytics and Journal
Your Docs.com account provides you with analytics to give an overview of which documents have been viewed and how frequently. And you can also add journal entries to describe documents you have shared.
Get started with Docs.com in 3 steps – a short Powerpoint presentation, shared with Docs.com which can be viewed online, to show just how easy it is to get started with sharing a document online using Docs.com
Sharing OneNote notebooks is a particularly useful feature of Docs.com. The following video by Darrell Webster shows how useful this feature is for teachers to share with others, and how to use Docs.com to share any OneNote notebook
Tinkercad is a free online tool for creating images which can be rotated and viewed on screen as if in 3D from different angles, and which can also be used to send to a 3D printer to create real physical objects. Tinkercad is designed to be used by any age, whether for a simple or complex object, to make a toy or a design prototype, jewellery or ornament for the home. And even if you don’t make the physical object there is a lot of design skills and satisfaction which can be gained just by using the tool to design a virtual object.
If you can imagine the object in your own mind Tinkercad provides the tool to let you create it in reality. And as it is browser-based it only needs a user to be on the Internet to be able to sign up for a free account and to start a design, and continue anywhere they can get connected online – there is no software to download.
A search on YouTube for “Tinkercad tutorial” lists a vast array of videos by Tinkercad users showing how they have created a wide range of objects, so that others can be inspired to get their own creative juices starting to flow. Tinkercad also has its own YouTube channel with a range of videos showing how to use the tool for a multitude of model-making requirements so that there is no need to start from scratch – someone will have created an object from which another user can adapt to get what they are imagining.
Tutorials in using Tinkercad – there are video tutorials showing how to get started using Tinkercad and how to use the tool to refine and customise the models being created. These tutorials are interactive in that you are guided through the steps while you are using the tool so everything is shown on screen at the point where you need the guidance.
There are many videos showing how to make basic models, as well as objects which could form the basis for objects by others and which therefore just need customising to suit the user’s needs.
How are other people using Tinkercad?
Tinkercad has its own blog which provides illustrations of how other people are using Tinkercad, and shares advice about the process users went through, and what they did with their creations.
Tinkercad Project Ignite provides ideas specifically aimed at using Tinkercad in the classroom. This provides a means for teachers to create a class without the need for pupils to sign up with an account, but instead use a teacher-created sign-in code. And of course there are hosts of projects, with supporting resources, for engaging classroom activities using Tinkercad.
Tinkercad produces files in a format which a 3D printer can translate into a 3D physical object. But if you don’t have access to a 3D printer then you may wish to consider sites such as Shapeways which lets you upload your file and they will calculate and quote a cost so that you could decide to have it created and sent in the mail to you. http://www.shapeways.com/create
How are you using Tinkercad?
How are you using Tinkercad? Do please share in the comments below this post
Microsoft in Education is a site which provides free on-demand personalised learning for teachers in exploring the use of digital technologies to support learning and teaching – learning at a pace which suits each teacher on the topics they find most useful to them, at the time they need it.
The online hub provides a Training and Professional Development section which is divided into Quick Tip Videos, Courses (which can be filtered by age range of learners, tools, skills to be developed, etc), and Learning Paths which provide a more in-depth look at use of digital technologies compbing different methods of delivering the information and sharing of skills as well as exemplars.
There is a wide range of free instant-access online courses. Some of these are short tool-specific how-to guides to learning the basics of getting started using specific digital technologies such as Sway, Skype, OneNote, Powerpoint, Minecraft, Office Mix or many other tools. Some are just short quick-tip videos highlighting a specific feature of a particular piece of software.
Some courses are longer and look at how digital technologies can best be used to support learning and teaching in different contexts. These combine text guides, video explanations and examples, as well as quizzes to help understanding.
And by signing up to the free Microsoft in Education Community a teacher can access a wider range of resources shared by other teachers around the globe, and when working through the range of courses on offer a teacher can gain visual recognition through digital badges of their accomplishments. Working through the online resources, with badges to record progress, can provide an extra degree of motivation when there is a tangible record of what skills have been acquired, and perhaps a spur to just complete another one (and another, and another!!).
So whether starting out, or just looking for an illustration of a particular application in a classroom setting, reading about how others are using digital technologies to support learning, an online space to discuss with colleagues worldwide what’s worked (or look for advice when you might be looking for a solution to something which has not worked in your situation), or wanting to further explore how to integrate digital technology to best support learners in your school, there is something here for every teacher.
Sign up for free now at the Microsoft Educator Community at the link below: