Category: Secondary

Digital Learning in Maths

Hugh Wallace

Teacher of Maths

Kyle Academy, South Ayrshire

Twitter @MrW4ths


  Waking a Digital School

As with all schools in Scotland, Kyle Academy closed our doors on Friday 20th March with very little warning, and quite literally, no time to prepare.  The final week was spent ensuring that those who were still able to attend school, had a note of their Glow login details and knew how to access Microsoft Teams.

For some staff, they had already been using Teams with a handful of classes, but for most, they hadn’t logged into Glow for a very long time!  This was going to be a challenge!

As the ‘Digital Champion’ in school, and the only MIE Expert, I knew it was time to step up and offer support to the school community.  This has been a huge task, but I feel very proud of where we are now!

One of my first tasks was to establish a Staff Team for Digital Support rather than sending out yet another email.  This has proved invaluable as a ‘one-stop-shop’ for colleagues.  A place to find out more information, ask for help, highlight problems and share examples of good practice.

 

 

 

Thinking of the wider school community, one of the main tasks early on was to provide additional support to students and parents who were new to Microsoft Teams.  To help with this, I put together a couple of guides which were shared by parental email and twitter.

Feedback for these guides for computer and mobile users has been positive and has since been tailored by other schools.  You can view the original sway here.

 

  Digital Learning in Maths

Regular use of Microsoft Teams was already embedded in my own classroom practice and colleagues in the department were supportive.  It’s often difficult to deviate from traditional teaching methods in Maths, but it is possible as long as the tasks are both relevant and accessible.  Despite working in a department where you are the only one below the age of 50, who says you can’t teach old dogs new tricks?  Huge respect for Donna, Sue, Joyce, Karen and Sharon and very proud of what they have achieved this term.  Well done!

  Setting up Teams

Teams were setup for all our students, but classes working on the same level were added to one Team.  This reduced the need for duplicating tasks and lessons.  All our Teams were setup with a consistent use of channels.  We wanted to make it as easy as possible to navigate, particularly in the junior school where pupils may be a member of 15 subject Teams.

Here is an example of our S2 Maths Team comprising 4 classes of 33 students each.

 

General – Where weekly tasks are set alongside important announcements and all assignments.  Only staff could post in this channel which prevented instructions getting lost.

Online Classroom – Where the live lessons are delivered for all students in the Team, each Monday.

Ask (Mr Wallace) – For students to collaborate with their own teacher and peers.  Teachers would ask students to post a photo of their work if they needed help then provide feedback.  We held smaller live tutorial classes in our own channel.

Technical Difficulties – To ask a technical question or report a fault with ICT.

Weekend Challenge – A bit of fun for our S2 students!

 

We had a similar picture for Higher Maths, with 3 classes added to the Team.

General – Worksheets and core tasks are posted on a Monday and a Tuesday, immediately after each live lesson.  We also post assignments on a Wednesday, due for the Friday.  All solutions are also provided in a sway in this channel.

Online Classroom – Where the live lessons are delivered for all students in the Team.

Ask (Mr Wallace) – For students to collaborate with their own teacher and peers.  Teachers would ask students to post a photo of their work if they needed help then provide feedback.  We held smaller live tutorial classes in our own channel.

Extension Tasks – To distinguish between the core tasks and extra material for students who would like to deepen their understanding with more exam level questions.

We received very positive feedback from students early on, advising us that Maths was one of the easiest Teams to navigate.  I then continued to liaise with departments to review their own Teams and adapt a similar format for consistency across the school.  Where staff adopted this, the results were very positive and students appreciated it.

  Setting Weekly Tasks

For most classes, we found that Sway offered an excellent tool to provide easy access to short video clips, worksheets and extracts from textbook resources.  Sway does most of the work for you in terms of presentation, you just need to concentrate on collating the content!  The Sway was setup with tasks for the week, presented in small manageable chunks.  Given the nature of the content, we agreed that we would then share a link to the Team using the option for ‘anyone with a link’ to view.  This also allowed us to email the link directly to parents of students who were not engaging in the Team.

Examples:

Solutions were included for students to self-mark, and there was no requirement to send through evidence of all their working.  We felt it would be very time consuming to provide feedback on all tasks but students were always encouraged to get in touch or post a photo should they need help.

  Live Lessons

From the second week in lockdown, I started to experiment with a variety of video conferencing tools but wholeheartedly supported the use of Teams Meeting despite the lack of incoming video from a student account.  For those reading outside Scotland, Glow have currently disabled incoming video from students.

In the department, we all felt that the nature of Maths lends itself much better to live delivery than pre-recorded PowerPoints.  This format still provides the opportunity to adapt our lesson, just like what we would do in the classroom.  We were able to put students on mute and deliver our lesson by sharing our screen and making use of OneNote and the Microsoft Whiteboard apps.  Students always have the opportunity to raise a hand in agreement, or unmute if they wanted to ask a question.  In the end, most students preferred to ask their questions in the chat area which we would monitor during the course of the lesson.  We all found it was beneficial to have two screens when delivering a lesson.  The main screen would allow for digital inking and the second to keep an eye on the hands and chat.

  Class Notebook

To deliver successful lessons to my Higher class, I found the Class Notebook open in OneNote for Windows 10 just fantastic, especially when paired with my own Microsoft Surface Pro.  Luckily my colleagues managed to get their hands on the smaller Surface Go which had coincidentally been bought for the PE department in school, complete with keyboard and pen!  The Class Notebook was setup from a template of notes which I’d collated a number of years ago when I first started to teach the course.  Each lesson was easy to navigate in the Content Library by topic section, then lesson.  Each lesson was numbered in successive order and carefully matched to suit my worksheets which were set as tasks in the Team.  Whilst each lesson had already been typed up, digital ink allowed me to add annotation, highlights, sketches and refer to a marking scheme.  It really was magical!  Whilst I always used the OneNote for Windows 10 app, there was never a problem with sync back to the Class Notebook in Teams.

Here are a couple of screenshots of my lessons in the Class Notebook:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In addition to the Content Library, latterly we started to use each pupils personal area in the Notebook.  Ideally we would have liked students to post photos of there work directly into their own Homework section, but without adequate training, I asked them to submit photos of their work as an assignment in Teams.

  Weekly Assignments

To help manage our workload and assess student progress, each week we would set one formal assignment which would be reviewed by the teacher.  Usually this was a short auto-marking Quiz using Microsoft Forms in the format of multiple choice or short response.  Students would receive instant feedback since we had pre-populated a summary message per question which would display after submission.  This then meant we only needed to input a more general comment when reviewing responses.

 

 

Latterly, we tasked students with completing a few Maths problems and asked them to submit as a File Upload.  This was ok, but I wanted to add annotation so I copied their photo submissions into their private section in the Class Notebook and used digital ink to leave feedback.  This would have been perfect if students were able to submit their photos directly into their OneNote, but I know this will need further training once we are back in school.

 

Engagement

Overall, we have been delighted with the levels of engagement in Maths during lockdown, particularly in senior certificated classes.  This is testament to the hard work and support from a committed group of staff, not just in our department, but across the school.  By setting clear instructions, short tasks and regular live lessons, we led from the front to establish a new routine with our students.  Pupils appreciated this.  Ok, we can’t get them all to engage, but that will always be part of the challenge.

Remote Learning in Computing Science

Bitmoji image of Miss Mutter and twitter name @FHSComputing
Hello, I am a Computing Science teacher at Falkirk High school, this post is about my experience of moving to remote learning and my journey through it until the summer break. I have been an MIEExpert for 3 years and gained MIE Trainer status during this period of remote learning.

Before moving to remote learning Microsoft Teams was used by a small number of teachers across our school. I lead the schools eLearning staff working group and had been providing training to these colleagues on using the main features of Glow (Teams, OneNote Notebook, Forms, Sway, O365 and Immersive Reader) that we thought would be most useful in our setting. We had planned to roll this training out across the entire school this year with eLearning staff and our pupil Digital Leaders supporting and leading the way. This did happen, just not how we had planned.

In the two weeks prior to starting remote learning I provided training sessions to staff on the basics of using Glow and Teams so that all staff had a grounding on it and could use this whilst working from home. I also synced all Glow pupil groups within our school to enable staff to quickly create the teaching groups and teams they needed. All Staff rose to the challenge and engaged with digital learning tools in a way that I have never seen before in my 20 year teaching career. I remember one of the last things I said to my Head Teacher was that “My silver lining out of all of this will be the staff engagement with Digital Tools and Technology for learning.” My view has slightly changed on that front – I’ll explain later.

Graphic showing Glow and Digital Tools used during remote learning
Overview of my original use of Teams and Digital Tools

I have been using OneNote Notebook for a number of years and then Teams when it launched in Glow with most of my classes. I had used O365, Immersive Reader, Forms and Sway before but not extensively. Additionally, some of the tools I’m using now I had never heard of before remote learning.

When setting up my Teams I wanted to make things as easy as possible for pupils to locate work and navigate their virtual learning space. With this in mind, the first assignment I set all of my pupils was a ThingLink on Navigating our Team. This gave them pictures of their Team with links to explain each part so that they could gain an understanding of how our virtual classroom was laid out and would operate. ThingLink is a digital tool that I had not heard of prior to remote learning but is one I will definitely continue to use. I had great feedback both from pupils and staff on it and great engagement from both when using it.

Screen clipping of the Navigation ThingLInk
ThingLink screen clipping from pupil Teams Navigation Assignment

 

screen clipping of Team ChannelsAll of my Teams have been set up the same way. I have added different channels to hopefully indicate what each one is being used for rather than all communications being in the one General channel. It can otherwise quickly become clogged up making it difficult to locate work, etc. I also set my General channel for staff only commenting as this is where I post Assignments and Announcements to. This should mean that it is easy for pupils to see the weekly work and important announcements.

screen clipping showing a weekly work announcement in my team

I am using Assignments to issue weekly work to all pupils. This means that each child gets their own editable document (Word, notebook page, spreadsheet, PowerPoint, etc.) that they can work on, complete and submit for marking and individual feedback. Pupils can clearly see what assignments they have outstanding and completed. Using the Grades tab they can also see their progress and scores for all submitted tasks. All of my Teams have a OneNote Notebook which gives each child a space to work.

screen clipping of notebook setup
OneNote Notebook Lesson Outline

My organisation and layout of my notebooks has developed through remote learning. I now have clear Success Criteria, Tasks and Exit Passes to help the children see exactly what they need to do for each lesson and for me to gain feedback about how they felt about that lesson.

I have been teaching programming to my new S4 class. We started this when we “Moved On Learning”. At our school we code in Python and normally use our desktop PCs or Laptops in the lab, however, not all of my pupils have these devices at home. Some are using a tablet or their phone to complete work. Some have opted to download Python onto a device while others are using PythonAnywhere which is all done online. The actual Python coding is identical in both environments but the platforms themselves are quite different, therefore, I have been recording myself doing the tutorial tasks in both platforms and embedding these into a Sway each week. The pupils then watch the tutorial for the platform they are using.

screen clipping of python code in assignments
Python Code attached in Assignments

I was delighted when pupils were attaching their programs to their assignments when it showed me the code in the assignment window. I did not expect to see the code within the Teams assignment. This meant that I could view their code, mentally run through it to check that it would work but it also made discussing their code easier. Because I could see the code line numbers it made our discussions easier because I could state the line number in which they needed to revise. There were occasions where it was necessary to “show” pupils what I meant as communicating via keyboard was not always easy and I have started using Trinket for this type of thing. I can create Python code in Trinket and share it via a link with pupils to edit and experiment with which has helped them to see the differences between their code and mine. Trinket is another digital tool that I was unaware of prior to remote learning but will definitely continue to use.

I have also been using Forms to create surveys and quizzes. Sometimes I have set these as the weekly work tasks on their own but also embedded these into Sways and OneNote Notebook pages depending on the task. This has allowed me to combine a variety of resources (theory, pictures, video and quiz) enabling all of the elements of that task to be in the same document making it easier for pupils to complete the work set for them.

praise given to Miss Mutter by a pupil

I have had positive feedback from pupils when issuing praise stickers for completing work, being kind or helpful to others in the team and have received praise from pupils myself. Which I must admit nearly made me cry. It was really nice to get this from pupils as it let me know that everything I had been doing was working, helping and appreciated.

Other Digital Tools that I have been using to support teaching and learning during this time are  Wakelet, Flipgrid and Canva. I had been using Wakelet this year with my Higher Computing class. We had been adding online resources to it as we came across them building up a bank of revision materials as the course progressed. During remote learning I have been using it as a central point for storing staff training “How To” videos that I have produced. I have added the Wakelet as a tab in our whole staff team so that everyone can access it easily. As part of the staff CPD Training that I offered I created a Wakelet on making a virtual emoji classroom and shared it with staff to help them to create their own virtual classrooms. I have used Flipgrid to record ‘shorts’ (videos of less than 10 minutes) and shared these with pupils in my Teams. These short videos have normally been instructions on how to do something or a welcome to our team message from me. I have not used this app with pupils recording their own videos but this is something that I would like to be able to use in the future. I stumbled upon Canva during an online CPD session that I was taking part in during remote working. Canva is a design app that allows you to quickly design and create great looking publications either working from templates or from your imagination. I have used it to create certificates of appreciation for my pupil Digital Leaders, pupils submitting work, infographics, a twitter header image and various Teams announcement banners. All of your creations  can be animated, downloaded as pdf, image or video and shared with a link directly into my Teams, etc.

Announcement Banners
Announcement banners

My other roll during remote working has been training and supporting staff within my school with Glow, Teams, using Assignments, O365, ThingLink, Forms, Sway, Voice Overs in PowerPoint and OneNote Notebook. This has been great fun and very rewarding with staff sharing their successes and creations with me. Again reinforcing my original ‘silver lining’ from lockdown. However, I did say earlier that my view of that has slightly changed and it has – I’ve been so impressed by our pupils; taking part, sharing, asking questions and trying things out, however, in equal measure also by their parents and folks at home, supporting them (and me). I have received some lovely messages from them which has been greatly appreciated.

I have also achieved MIE Trainer status during remote learning. I had completed my own training for this way back in 2018 but had never tracked the training and support I had been providing to staff until now. Something else from remote learning that I will continue to do.

My silver lining now – the way in which pupils, parents and teachers have collectively engaged with Digital Tools and Technology for learning.

MIEE and Trainer Badges

 

You can find me on Twitter @FHSComputing

Creating the Remote Inclusive Classroom

The transition to remote, and now blended learning, has been incredibly challenging for students and educators alike but it has especially difficult for those with additional support needs. Many have co-occurring difficulties and rely heavily on a variety of support mechanisms in the classroom. So the key question is how do you maintain this level of support when the classroom the student and educator are in is no longer the same four walls? How do you create the inclusive classroom when the physical classroom is no longer there?

Thankfully, Microsoft’s Learning Tools are available to all educators and staff with M365 levelling the playing field and ensuring that every student can share their voice and become successful learners. The best aspect of all is that the tools are completely integrated into Microsoft tools such as Microsoft Teams, OneNote and Flipgrid. No extensions or additional cumbersome steps to install an add-in are required to access the tools. The tools are there by default and that is key for creating any inclusive classroom: accessibility by default.

When I am creating my classroom, inclusion is always the first aspect I consider. It is so important to ensure that we intentionally include otherwise we are always destined to unintentionally exclude. I am now going take you into the strategies I employ to develop the inclusive classroom and I have broken it down into four key areas: reading, writing, maths and communication.

 

Image showing symbols to represent the four areas of the Inclusive Classroom: reading, writing, maths and communication

 

 

Reading

Immersive Reader logo
Immersive Reader logo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Microsoft’s Immersive Reader has completely transformed my classroom and, I am not exaggerating when I say that it has been life-changing for many of the students I work with.

I had used various Text to Speech software applications in the past with limited success. They did the job but were clunky and often prone to crash. Worst of all they were just another thing to worry about. As soon as I pressed the Immersive Reader logo on OneNote for the first time I was hooked (I always feel like a little bit of sparkle dust should appear when I click). I couldn’t quite believe the options available to my students. Page colours could be instantaneously changed (no more need for coloured overlays; the students kept losing them anyway), line focus meant that my students could remove distractions and focus on one, three or five lines at time (no more reading rulers; again they just lost them). Picture dictionary available to show an image of a word to support comprehension, using Boardmaker symbols that I had used for years without the need to print out, cut out, laminate, lose them and repeat again and again.

Last time I checked, Immersive Reader can translate text into 63 different languages and that list continues to grow and grow. I have now introduced Immersive Reader to every student I work with for the past three years since I discovered it (and every colleague too).

With the transition to remote learning, many students are now getting bombarded with so much more text to read than ever before. Every assignment can be full of text instructions, PDF and Word attachments also full of text, links to websites again with screeds of text and so on. It’s not surprising that many students are not engaging with online activities.

By introducing Immersive Reader to all my students (and colleagues) in school prior to lockdown, I’ve also empowered them to develop the skills needed to access any form of text. Microsoft Teams is the hub we use to communicate and share and Immersive Reader is there in every line of text for anyone to access with just 2 clicks (click three dots and click Immersive Reader).

Immersive Reader is not just exclusive to Microsoft tools but can be found across a whole host of third party applications such as Wakelet, ThingLink and Buncee.

Going back to my earlier point about bombarding students with a whole host of materials, Wakelet is a fantastic app to consider using to mitigate this. All of your resources can be housed in one Wakelet collection, with a clear sequence for students to follow and can be shared in one single URL or QR code. Best of all, Immersive Reader is integrated and accessed at the click of a button (the Immersive Reader logo in this case).

If you have never seen it in action before, prepare to be blown away here:

Immersive Reader in action

What about if the text is on paper you ask? Fret not, because combining the magic of OneNote and Office Lens, you could be using the power Immersive Reader within 90 seconds. Don’t believe me, check it out below for yourself.

OneNote and Office Lens: The Superhero App Duo

Writing

Also integrated into almost all Microsoft tools (apart from Microsoft Teams which I will come to in a minute) is Dictate. I have tried various computer dictation programs over the years but they required both a studio quality microphone and a heck of amount of patience to train it to actually recognise a coherent sentence. Dictate is already there, integrated into OneNote and works on any Windows, Mac or Chromebook device, and it is incredibly accurate . It can even understand my Glaswegian accent! The only downside is that Microsoft Teams does not have Dictate built in (seems strange to me that the instant messaging app does not have the ability to instantly message). You can get around it by taking advantage of the device’s in-built dictation tool (Window Key + H for Windows devices if you are wondering).

Dictate in action

Students can now access support for reading and writing at any time, in any place, with any device and, more importantly, without asking. This has now become even more important because of Covid-19, as in many cases, there is often no one there to ask. By introducing and training students to make the most of these integrated tools, we have inadvertently equipped for a situation that we could never have predicted.

Maths

Many students have real anxiety about undertaking maths work and I can’t say I blame them – maths was never my strong point. Even drawing a straight line with a ruler I can find challenging. The digital inking tools in OneNote are a complete gamechanger in this regard. You can use the digital ruler to get a perfect straight line (even tells you the exact angle!). The page can turned into a maths jotter by the square grid option and the individual squares can be made as large as like. For someone like me with writing difficulties such as dysgraphia, this makes such difference (when I was at school, I could never fit the numbers in the boxes in the maths notebooks the teachers gave me!)

Even if you can’t access the digital inking tools, OneNote can solve typed equations for you, break down the steps and you can also create Forms quizzes of the back of one equation for your students to practice with. The questions have, of course, Immersive Reader ready to leap into action.

Immersive Reader for maths equations

Communication

Establishing and maintaining communication can be the most challenging aspect of creating a remote inclusive classroom. A number of local authorities have initially prevented live teaching to take place and even fort those that have allowed it, educators are prevented from seeing their students in Microsoft Teams as the camera is disabled for them. That’s before you consider the fact that many students will not have the opportunity to connect live for a whole host of reasons. For this reason, and a whole host of other reasons, I have turned to the video discussion tool, Flipgrid for asynchronous communication.

 

Flipgrid logo

 

Flipgrid is an incredible app that I love for two simple reasons:

1. It is inclusive and accessible to all!
2. You can use it for absolutely anything – “If you can think it, you can Flipgrid it!”

I will use a whole other blog to share with you with how Flipgrid is the perfect tool to amplify voice asynchronously in the remote classroom. Let’s just say, that Flipgrid allows both educators and students to share their voice in the way most suitable to them. Both teachers and pupils can use the camera to share their video asynchronously by recording short videos (up to 10 minutes) but if they (or you for that matter) don’t want to appear in the camera, they don’t have to. They can use videos of objects, photos, sketches on the whiteboard/blackboard canvas, emojis over their face, text…the list could go on and on.

I have been specifically using Flipgrid in two ways during lockdown: to create short videos to explain the instructions in the assignment and creating short videos to share spelling rules and show how to decode words and blend sounds. This they can’t get from a PDF worksheet!

Anytime I want to record a video for my students (whether it is a Face to camera video or a screen recording), I immediately jump onto Flipgrid. Accessibility is definitely everywhere in Flipgrid, not only is Immersive Reader integrated for use with any piece of text, Flipgrid will automatically generate captions which you can also edit (so important when you are sharing videos and you have a thick Scottish accent like myself!).

 

Screenshot of the edit captions option on Flipgrid
Screenshot of Edit Captions feature in Flipgrid

 

Developing communication skills during remote learning does not just mean having face to face interaction with their teacher but the opportunity to connect with their peers as well. Microsoft Teams provides the perfect platform for this. I have specifically created a team for my Tutor group for this purpose, the opportunity for students to chat and connect with their friends in a safe space. I even throw in a fun Kahoot Quiz every Friday and there is great chat on the team before and after (even the classroom assistants get involved). It can get quite competitive!

Building self-esteem in all students is important but especially those with additional support needs such as Autism Spectrum Condition. Finding ways to do this during such difficult times can be tricky but one thing I have found that the students have responded to is the use of Praise stickers in Microsoft Teams. When students have completed work to a high standard, I always ensure I pick out a praise sticker, whether it be the awesome one or the achiever one or the courage one, and share it with my students. I’ve had some lovely messages from parents who have been so appreciative of me doing this.

 

Image of awesome praise sticker on Microsoft Teams
Praise sticker in Microsoft Teams

 

I would just like to end by saying that this does not mean every one of my students have engaged with remote learning and achieving their full potential. Several have not shown any sign of accessing the materials at all. I have just had to accept that there are many factors that are out with my control e.g. access to devices, connectivity, support from home, motivation etc. What I have tried to ensure is that I fully consider everything that is within my control to ensure that my materials and lessons are inclusive and accessible to all. After all, if we don’t strive to intentionally include we are always destined to unintentionally exclude!

About Me

I am an Additional Support Needs teacher at Lanark Grammar School. I am also an MIE Expert, Master Trainer and MCE (Microsoft Certified Educator). I am also a Flipgrid Student Voice Ambassador and Grid Guide and a Wakelet Ambassador. I was awarded MIE Expert of the Year for Scotland 2019-20 and I also won a global competition ran by Flipgrid to attend E2 Education Exchange in Sydney, Australia.

You can find me on Twitter: @cgerrard02

Photo of Chris Gerrard

Digital Technology in Business Education – The Lockdown Rollercoaster

About Me
My name is Sarah Wyllie and I am a Business Education Teacher at Marr College in South Ayrshire. I have been a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert (MIEE) for 1 year and managed to gain my MIE Trainer badge during lockdown. I have really enjoyed being a member of Team MIEE Scotland – I am so thankful for their support and encouragement throughout the year. Alongside my colleague, Alan Simpson, we have been working to develop the digital skills of staff and students at Marr College. We set up ‘Digital Drop Ins’, which have continued online, and also a team of enthusiastic Student Digital Champions.

Looking back on my experience during lockdown I can only describe it as a complete rollercoaster. The highs of students and staff overcoming obstacles, pulling together in difficult circumstances, and growing in confidence in using digital tools. Seeing some students really embrace the change and adapt to their ‘new normal’ was inspiring. The lows were just never feeling quite good enough, not having enough hours in the day (or night) to get things done and worrying about engagement and accessibility. I have learned a lot along the way…

1 – Making Resources Easy to Access

Having a platform that acts as a one-stop-shop for students has been invaluable. We use Microsoft Teams to post announcements, answer questions, share resources, have live meetings with the class, set assignments and provide feedback. Students can access everything on Teams using their Glow login. As a Business Education teacher, I have been using Teams for a few years now but over the last couple of months I have learned so much more about how to make the most of Teams.  
 
 
 

 
2 – Students Like to See and Hear You

Feedback from students was that they missed being able to hear and see their teacher – just as we missed being able to hear and see them. There were several ways we tried to combat this:

    • Meetings – we held weekly live meetings with our classes using Microsoft Teams. We used this to signpost learning for that week, answer any questions from students and check in on pupils. Feedback from students was that they really valued this. It also gave them the opportunity to connect with one another. At the end of each meeting we would play a live quiz using Quizizz – students loved this part of the meeting! The winner each week was posted on Twitter and in the praise channel.
    • PowerPoint Recorder – being able to record my screen and share this as a video has been incredibly helpful. For example, Administration & IT students learn how to use different types of software and so screen recorder has helped us record demonstrations to share via Teams, students can pause the demo video and watch it as many times as they like. Record slideshow also allowed me to narrate my presentations, annotate on the slides, have my face visible in the recording and export this as a video to share with students.
    • Audio and Video Feedback – using OneNote allowed me to provide students with different types of feedback, including audio and video feedback. Students could then replay this when needed.
    • Help Videos – both staff and students needed support in learning how to use these digital tools. Using screen recorder to make help videos seemed like the best option but sharing these videos in an accessible way took a few attempts! I used a variety of different techniques including: Wakelet, Flipgrid, YouTube, Twitter, Satchel One (Show My Homework) and embedding videos on the school website. You can view our Teams Help Video Playlist below.

3 – Accessibility is Key

What can I say about the wonderful array of free Learning Tools available in most Microsoft software? A few of my favourites are Immersive Reader, Dictate and live captions on PowerPoint.

If you have not investigated Immersive Reader then you should take a look today, you will be amazed. To find out more view the video below and visit Chris Gerrard’s helpful blog all about the many different accessibility tools on offer. As a school we are also very fortunate to have access to Read and Write software which we were also able to make available to students from home.

4 – OneNote

I have been using OneNote for a couple of years now – and love the range of features it offers. It acts as an electronic jotter or ring binder for students, keeping all their notes and tasks in one place. When classes initially stopped during lockdown, I was so thankful for OneNote because I will still able to access all my student’s work from home. Students can type directly onto the page, can upload files and can print directly to a OneNote page.

As a Business Education teacher, the ability to print directly to a OneNote page has been incredibly useful for Administration & IT as students need to be able to print their work, in a particular way, to gain marks. Even in the classroom this has dramatically cut down on the amount of paper and ink used in the department while still ensuring students develop printing skills.

Other useful features include: digital inking, dictate, immersive reader, embedding other resources, clipping tool and audio and video feedback. You can also add digital stickers – I even attempted to make my own stickers to highlight common mistakes made by students.
 

Staff OneNote Help Video Playlist

5 – Keeping it Fun and Staying Connected

Though we could not all be together as a class – it was important to try and feel connected. As a department we tried to do this in different ways. We had weekly meetings with S3-S6 classes, shared fun Friday quizzes using Quizizz or Kahoot and we used our ‘ice breakers’ channel to learn more about each other, for example playing 2 truths and a lie.

We also used Thinglink to create a ‘virtual classroom’ to share with students. We added this as a new tab in Teams and embedded them into our class notebooks. Our S3 Administration class even used their PowerPoint skills to create their own ‘virtual’ workspace! To view one of my Thinglinks click on the image below. 

Transitions were also very different this year. We were keen to welcome our new S1 students to the department. I used Joomag to put together a welcome booklet for them – with a gallery of images and staff videos.

In school I run a newsletter group aiming to celebrate successes at Marr College. During lockdown this was a way to share positive news with parents, students, and staff, maintain a feeling of community spirit and allow students to share what they had been learning. I used Microsoft Forms to collate student stories and included the option for them to upload pictures of their activities if they wanted to. This was also a way to check in with students. I really enjoyed seeing our students’ responses – it always gave me a boost. You can view some of our school newsletters by clicking on the image below.Our students, parents and staff at Marr College have made amazing progress in developing their digital skills. I have received lovely messages of support from staff and parents and I am excited to see where we go next! To view any of our resources please see the links below.

MIEE and Trainer Badges
MIEEXpert and MIE Trainer badges

 

 

 

 

Help from the MIEExpert Community

The amazing MIEExperts up here in Scotland are keen to help teachers across the country whenever they can. As well as sharing on Twitter, below you will find a list of those that you can reach out to in your Local Authority and beyond for help and support with using Microsoft Technologies in your class and school.

This could be help with running a staff training session, ideas for in the classroom or any general tech questions you may have.

The MIEExperts have added their twitter handle to connect that way or you can complete the contact form at the bottom of this page and someone will be in touch.

Members of Team MIEEScotland can be found in schools, colleges and councils all across the country.

 

 

 

 

Name Local Authority Level Twitter Handle 
Pilar Arqued Aberdeen City Primary pilararqued
James Mclean Aberdeenshire Local Authority Jimmclean1
Alexander Forrest Aberdeenshire Secondary ExcelGeek4
Nina Phillips Angus Secondary tangerineneen
Andrew Bailey Angus Secondary andrewkbailey13
Mandy Davidson East Dunbartonshire Secondary AllM14891126
Claire Cooper Edinburgh Secondary Ccooper1978
Lynsey McNamee Edinburgh Secondary MissMcDesignTech
Simon Luxford-Moore Edinburgh Independent Sector

Primary

Secondary

MrLux4DMoore
Al Friend Eilean Siar Secondary halamanbay
Sarah Clark Falkirk Secondary sfm36
Malcolm Wilson Falkirk Local Authority claganach
Tracy Mutter Falkirk Secondary FHSComputing
Emma Hedges Falkirk Primary MissHedgesVPS
Jacqueline Campbell Falkirk Local Authority
Sarah Clark Fife Secondary sfm36
Scott Jamieson Fife Secondary mrjamiesonbio
Gemma Sanderson Fife Primary gems_sand
Jennifer Harvey Fife Special/Primary relativism
Laura Peden Fife Primary l80pdn
Ian Gibson Fife Secondary gibsoni
Dawn Jones Fife Local Authority DawnJonesICT
Rosslyn Lee North Ayrshire Local Authority rosjlee
Julie Sanderson Perth & Kinross Secondary breadalbanebus
Stuart Smith Perth & Kinross Secondary iamstuartacus
Shelley Thomson Scottish Borders Secondary MrsTEHS
Amanda Pickard South Ayrshire Primary AJOBPickard
Lynn Robertson South Ayrshire Local Authority SACTechDigital
David Sassarini South Ayrshire Secondary DavidHS12
Lisa Afrin South Ayrshire Primary Mrs_Afrin
Hugh Wallace South Ayrshire Secondary MrWM4ths
Sarah Wyllie South Ayrshire Secondary MissDoubleYou1
Chris Gerrard South Lanarkshire Secondary cgerrard02
Kirstin Barr West Lothian Secondary kirstin_barr
Susan Anderson West Lothian Primary miss_anderson
Kirsteen Steven West Lothian Primary kirsteensteven
Bill Crawford Forth Valley Further Education beadysea
Amanda Ford West College Scotland Further Education aford78
Tony Gurney University of the West of Scotland Higher Education tonygurney

You can use this contact form to send in a request for assistance or ask a question.

Growth Mindset for Experienced Teachers

 


Hi I am Mandy Davidson Acting Principal Teacher Curriculum Support (Wider Achievement) RME/RMPS/Care  at Lenzie Academy.

I came to be a Microsoft Expert because it was the easiest way to find out how the limited technology I had could be put to the best use.  Nobody around seemed to know the answers to my questions or to even know a person who might. Discovering the Microsoft Educator Centre and meeting individuals like Malcolm Wilson (@claganach) and Sarah Clark (sfm36)  and Ian Stuart (IanStuart66) helped me see what could be done if I kept trying. My first sway for the MIEE application focussed more on what I hoped to do than what I had already achieved. I was amazed when I was given the place on the roll of honour!  The more I’ve talked about my role as an MIEE, the more I have realised that there is a barrier between many of my peers engaging with this massive CPD opportunity and ironically it is not ” time” that none of us have had prior to lockdown. The barrier is recognised by many departments in my school and no doubt schools around the country, who display posters detailing the different approach between having a fixed mindset and having a growth mindset. Yet the very teachers who encourage their pupils to” prepare to fail ” as a learning opportunity, to accept they are always learning and quote the line “it is not I can’t but I can’t yet”, will shake their heads when I suggest that they too can become a Microsoft Expert. I always say I use a computer like a drive a car; I can do the basics and familiarity makes it easier, but I’m no mechanic!

The more experienced we become as a teacher, the more comfortable we become with our areas of expertise and the more concerned we are about what we don’t know. In some subjects where the content changes little over the years, the comfort and the fear may be even more of a contrast . The perception that the students around us need to know that we are the experts, in order to accept our delivery of lessons, fuels the fear that we cannot experiment with new platforms in case it all goes wrong. Looking at the fixed mindset image above ask your self honestly how many of the fixed mindset phrases have you used when discussing using technology to teach?

Growth mindset vs fixed mindset
how the different mindsets work.

Lockdown has forced many teachers to turn to technology in order to continue to provide education remotely. The opportunities created by using Teams, Forms, Sway and PowerPoint with narration have been publicised and many teachers are now engaging with them. Countless organisations are offering advice, how to videos and it can all be overwhelming for someone with a fixed mindset who has hitherto been very comfortable with their individual face to face approach to teaching.

So my advice as a Microsoft Innovator Education Expert is quite simple. Use the MEC tile that already exists in Glow. If you cannot find it on your launchpad then add it from your apps library. Then explore and develop your own growth mindset! Start from an area with which you are familiar, it could be Teams or other Office 365 tools and watch the videos and complete the quizzes.

Microsoft Education Community
The bridge to all new ICT learning

They really are not scary and although you have to gain 80% to pass, there are resit opportunities so what do you have to lose!

Once you pass some quizzes you will gain badges in your personal profile.

Each badge is worth a number of points and all can be used as part of  your CPD evidence for GTCs

Microsoft badges

Some badges also come with certificates whilst others are part of learning paths and the certificate is awarded at the end of a significant amount of work. Each certificate details the time spent on acquiring them.

Engaging pupils                                                                                                                                                                                                   Collecting badges can become addictive once you realise that, just spending a little bit of time working through the video tutorials, can save you hours of time in creating and distributing quality learning opportunities.  Before you know it you will have acquired 1000 points and you become recognised as a Microsoft Innovative Educator and you join a fast paced growth mindset community from where your learning will really take off!

Microsoft Innovator Educator

Certified MIE bade The MIE Community In Scotland exists in the virtual world so even if there is nobody at your school that has any expertise in using Microsoft tools, you can gain support at the click of a mouse, from teachers just like you, who have learned the short cuts and possibilities available through Glow and are willing to share.  Twitter is the platform outside of glow where you can gain insight into how you can stretch your understanding, as most of us have twitter accounts and there are regular tweetmeets for #MicrosoftEduChat  #TeamMIEEScotland and #MSFtCelt ( team Scotland together with the Welsh team). What makes us experts is not that we know the answers but we are not afraid to ask the questions – how do you do that? Is that on glow too? Can I have a copy?

https://twitter.com/MrsTEHS/status/1261024735325851649?s=20

So as an experienced RME teacher what are my favourite tools for teaching and learning? Microsoft Teams is key as you can literally teach an entire course through a class team. I facilitate a Religion Beliefs and Values remote learning Team, as with the minimal support required for the Level 5 award the pupils who have opted into this team just work their way through their investigation and reflection. The fact pupils can literally complete all work on their phone helps to engage many of them more than a jotter and a text book. Forms to gain pupil voice or quizzes for formative learning are quick and effective and last of all my love of Sway with the ability to include so much information in an accessible format where readers can focus on what they need to learn. With these tools I have increased my engagement with pupils that I only used to  physically see once a week and for whom the instant and personalised feedback encouraged greater participation and deeper reflection. Now I am shielding physically away from my  closed classroom,  this interaction has continued and the record of all interactions are now documented in the new Insights tab.

As the PT of Wider Achievement I can facilitate a number of Youth Achievement Awards via Teams and together with our school Youth worker Caroline Shirreffs we are currently supporting senior pupils creating their Personal Development plans for their Platinum Award. Being able to have online meetings has actually given us more time than we would have managed to gain in school as these pupils have such busy lives! My YPi teams who collaborate via Teams chat and create group presentations show the scope is as limited as the learner’s imagination.

You may have thought you did not have time to learn about all these tools but the time it saves makes up for the investment. You just need to be a bit braver and click on the MEC tile. A whole new world of opportunities await!

Find me on Twitter  @AllM14891126

 

 

 

Remote Learning in Business Education

Background

Hi, I am Shelley a Business Education Teacher in the Scottish Borders. This is my first year as an MIEExpert and a Microsoft Trainer and I am very passionate about digital technologies.  Due to the nature of my subject in School I am fairly comfortable with using Microsoft  software and  I have

been using Microsoft Teams for about 3 years now, so the transition to remote learning for myself has been quite seamless.

My Local Authority has introduced 1:1 iPads in Secondary Level, you can follow the progress of this @inspireSBC 

 

What am I using in my Virtual Classroom

  • Microsoft Teams
  • Class Notebook/One Note
  • Thinglink
  • PowerPoint (creating video content)
  • Microsoft Forms
  • Satchel One (Show My Homework)
  • Post it App
  • Kahoot
  • Loom

  Microsoft Teams

This is used as a tool to communicate with learners and give praise.  I have several channels:

  • General
  • Question & Answer
  • Whole Class Feedback
  • Exit Tickets

The General Channel is for Owner only posting, this makes it clearer for learners to access information without it getting lost in a long thread.  This means that announcements are clear.  I LOVE announcements you have the ability to personalise your header and make information stand out. 

Any queries/questions are put in the Q&A channel. I also use this channel to give out praise to students to help build realtionships. 

The Exit Channel is used for learners to post their POST IT note exit tickets directly to this channel from their app.

I also have a weekly Assignment Task for each class which will either be Summative (points attached to task) or Formative (rubric attached to task).

The benefit of the weekly assignment is that all information is automatically stored into a digital grade book which can then if need be exported to excel. You also have the INSIGHTS tab which allows you to analyse your data.

  Class Notebook 

I have set notebooks up with the Microsoft Teams Apps for each of my classes and created Sections for them so that they can keep a Digital Jotter of their work and I can monitor their progress and give feedback.

Benefits of the class notebook are immense from easily distributing pages, reviewing student work and leaving feedback.  I love the versatility of being able to embed Audio, Video and Microsoft Forms directly into the one page making accessing resources easier for learners.  I also love that learners can reply verbally to feedback or use the audio tool as an exit ticket.  This then allows you to stay connected (its lovely to hear their voices!) but also identify any misconceptions that may need to picked up on the following week.

ThingLink

I am using this as an interactive classroom.  Each of the tags can be clicked and will give learners either video, text or tasks.  It allows me to also add audio to any of the content.  This blog does not support the interactivity/embed in the graphic but  you can click HERE to go to the online version of this example.

Happy to share, help and/or collaborate 

Shelley

How I am using Microsoft Teams for physics

Being a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert (MIEE) has allowed me to develop my digital skills over the past five years.  However before this current crisis I had only used Microsoft Teams with a few classes.  One of the first things I did was review some of courses on Teams and Forms on the Microsoft Educator Community to reacquaint myself with some features and to learn new ones.

 

Guided by what makes good teaching and learning and readings such as this one on tips for effective learning at a distance by Paul Kirshner and his comments on the differences between distance teaching and emergency remote teaching.  The Education Endowment Foundation published a paper called distance learning rapid assessment.

My philosophy is that good learning and teaching is good learning and teaching whatever the context and it is about using the digital tools to support our pedagogy choices.

Firstly it is important to have clarity, I mean this both in terms of what you want the students to learn and how and also the clarity of the instructions that you are providing to your students.

Some of my tips for clarity are:

  • Use more than one channel in your Team.  Posts about assignments are made in the general channel.  It can be a good idea to make the general channel so that only owners (teachers) can make posts and have other channels for questions/chat.  This means instructions can be clearly seen.  The latest post is always at the bottom of a team.  If the instructions move up the page you can move them back to the bottom with a short reply to the original post (you can even delete the reply if you want afterwards).
  • Use announcement within Teams, make the tasks explicitly clear and logical for your students.  Try to minimise the number of documents that you want students to access for one task.  Add hyperlinks within your Teams announcements to the resources that you want students to use whether documents or videos rather than instruction pupils to go to the files section and open file X.
  • Avoid making a post to remind about the work that just says complete the work stated in the earlier post.  Instead either move the first post down by replying to it or copy the instructions from the first post and then make amendments for the new post.  Sometimes it can be hard to scroll up the team channel to find where work is.
  • Consider making channels for different weeks of work or topics to help improve the clarity and to put all the questions asked in the same place.
  • Make the learning intentions and success criteria of tasks clear and place these within the wider context to help them scaffold learning to prior knowledge.
  • Give short assignments using teams assignments, these can not only have dates so students can plan their work, but better allow you to see how students are progressing and allow feedback.  My students have indicated to me that they prefer more shorter assignments than one larger one.
  • Be aware of the files that you attach for any student task.  What size are they?  What format are they?  For example a PDF file is difficult to edit and cannot be edited directly in Teams.  Make sure documents attached to assignments are the x version of the Microsoft files, docx, xlsx, pptx etc. rather than doc, xls, ppt.
  • Be aware that a number of learners are using phones as their main device.  Simplifying instructions can help how many clicks they need to follow to read instructions and complete work.
  • Within the Teams assignments I also include all the hyperlinks to the file documents in the same way that I do for the announcement posts in the channel.  These links can be copied from place to place.

Here is an example of one of my Team announcement post with a custom background, hyperlinks to videos and documents and in this case 4 assignment tasks.

The Microsoft Teams structure approach describe in my detail in my blog was informed by Microsoft webinar on remote learning at the University of NSW, Australia.

My approach to planning learning has been to plan student work on a mostly asynchronous basis.

  • Retrieval practice quiz using Forms and sometimes a quiz on prior learning.
  • Introduction video (created using PowerPoint recorder) and shared via unlisted YouTube.
  • Activity task (Quizlet, Quizizz, Animations/Simulations such as PHET, and at home experiments)
  • Diagnostic assessment (Microsoft Form)
  • Consolidation task (Forms, card sorts in Excel, Padlet etc.)

Synchronous activities include:

  • Responses to questions posted on the Teams channel.
  • Weekly catch-up Team meetings with students, answering questions, providing advice and support, modelling tricky problems modelling on paper or using the Whiteboard app or OneNote.
  • Live quizzes on platforms such as Kahoot, Quizlet, Quizizz.

About me

I am a physics and science teacher working in Angus on the beautiful and sunny east coast of Scotland.


In addition to being a teacher, I am a consultant physics teacher coach with the Institute of Physics Scotland and as part of that role have been running webinar training sessions for physics teaching using Microsoft tools.  Details of support being provided for physics teachers by the IOPS can be found in the Scottish Physics teacher group on Talk Physics including shared Microsoft Forms quizzes, videos, introduction videos, simulations and activities.


I have a interest in professional learning, pedagogy, evidence informed teaching and have contributed to Pedagoo and ResearchEd Scotland events.

I tweet on andrewkbailey13

My YouTube channel includes videos for teachers and pupils on Glow. 

My personal digital learning blog can be found at https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/an/digitallearningprototype/

This includes posts on:

Microsoft Forms and Feedback

My Microsoft Team

I have been a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert since 2016 and am now a Microsoft MIE Master Trainer.

Welcome Everyone

unicorn with a scottish flag

Some of the amazing Microsoft Innovative Educator Experts from across Scotland will be sharing their learning success stories in this blog.

This blog is designed for all teachers to see HOW Microsoft technologies are being used in classrooms across Scotland.

Its about the learning and the way these teachers are using technology with their students.

We will have regular updates that we hope will give you some ideas for how you can use tools like Teams, OneNote, Sway, Forms etc in your classrooms.

Also have a look at the bloggers twitter feeds as well as #TeamMIEScotland and #TeamMIEEScotland on twitter for help, support, tips and tricks.

If you would like to develop your skills in the use of any of these tools you can sign up for free CPD on the Microsoft Educator Center https://education.microsoft.com/en-us

We hope you find this blog helpful and please reach out to any of the bloggers

Sarah Clark MIE Fellow Scotland (twitter @sfm36)