Sway for engaging online presentations

Sway_logoMicrosoft Sway is a presentation tool which is free and works on any device. It can start with a simple word-processed document (or from other sources such as Powerpoint or PDF) where you’ve put your ideas and, with just a few clicks, you can upload the document, highlight text you wish to emphasise, which parts to make into new sections, where to add images, embedded video links and images, and add emphasis in an engaging way.

The Sway below by Tim Clarke and Henry Penfold is an introduction to Sway – including step-by-step how-to guides to getting started as well as example Sways which have been created embedded right in th same Sway

The following video shows how to create a presentation in Sway using the new layout set up specifically for presentations. This video shows how to use groups, grids, captions, and focus points to ensure your chosen message comes across in they way you wish with the emphasis on the content you deem to be most important.

Want to make a tutorial presentation using Sway? The video below shows how you can structure a Sway presentation to use embedded videos, images and text to explain the steps in any process for explaining to others.

How to use Sway for a school project. The following video shows how Sway can be used to create a project on any topic in an educational context.

Click here for links to video guides to using Sway from Microsoft.

Click here for a guide to using Sway specifically in Glow Office 365 – this also links to a variety of examples of the use of Sway in a school context

To share your Sway

To share your Sway presentation with others you simply copy the weblink URL which Sway provides for you, and share that, whether via social media or email (there are specific buttons at the share part of Sway which provides you with the appropriate link for each method of sharing. This can also be used to embed in a Glow WordPress blog – just add the short link in the body of a blogpost and it will automatically embed. Note that if you are using your Glow user account to share your Sway link the Sway presentation must have ben made public for others to see it, it cannot be embedded elsewhere online (such as a blog) unless the Sway presentation is public and can be seen by anyone on the Sway settings.

Below is an example Sway “Sway for Education: Sway in the Classroom” which provides examples of how Sway can be used, and also shows in itself what a Sway presentation can look like.

How to make your Sway presentation even better

Here’s a Sway presentation below by Nathan G Freier of his top 10 tips and tricks to make your Sways look great.

Examples of Sway in Education

Sway – The star of your 2015 Classroom – a post on the Microsoft Australian Teachers Blog. This provides a host of ideas for how Sway can be used in a classroom context, as well as examples of created Sways.

Sway in the Classroom – examples from Scottish schools collated by Laura Paterson

School Newsletter from Lockerbie Academy – an example of a school newsletter which can provide a different way of presenting information, news, updates and more about school life. The link can be shared with parents/carers in a short text or email and looks more engaging compared to a printed version.

Stirling High School Newsletter – this Sway (as well as the associated pdf version) was created by pupils

The Sway below illustrates the use of the slideshow feature in Sway

The Sway below is a neat collaboration by pupils in different high schools working together to create a story – digital story telling “The Street of Shadows” by pupils in Largs Academy and Garnock Academy in North Ayrshire

The Sway below is the result of a project by primary 1 pupils at Westquarter Primary School in Falkirk about “Why We Do Research”

The Three Little Pigs – a neat use of Sway to share the activities of Polbeth Nursery School in West Lothian related to the tale of The Three Little Pigs – this Sway incorporates video, image decks (some of pictures of outdoor activities, and some of the artworks created by the children), and note of comments by the children.


The “Uses of Fibre Optics” Sway below was created by Cameron Gilmour, pupil at Kirkintilloch High School in East Dunbartonshire as part of Physics coursework

The “Uses of Fibre Optics” Sway below was created by Payton Trimble, pupil at Kirkintilloch High School in East Dunbartonshire as part of Physics coursework

If you are looking for a bit of interaction with viewers of your Sway you may wish to consider embedding a Padlet wall in a Sway presentation. The following Sway demonstrates what an embedded Padlet wall would look like – viewers of the Sway can add comments, links, pictures or videos on the Padlet wall/page and these automatically appear within the Sway. Note that for classroom use you will want to be aware you can password-protect a Padlet page or set up a page to have moderation so that posts would not go live unless you approved them.


Learn how to use Sway

mec-swayintroIntroduction to Sway on the Microsoft Educator Community – so if you’ve been inspired to create your own Sway then have a look at the Microsoft Educator Community Introduction to Sway free online course. It includes short video tutorials, presented in sequence so that you can choose just those parts which you feel you need. There are examples of Sways created for the classroom with explanations of how they were created and used. When you think you have grasped all you need to know you can then complete the short interactive quiz – sign in with your Microsoft Office 365 account, so teachers in Scottish schools can sign in with their Glow email address. And when successfully completed you will gain recognition with a badge, points and certificate.

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