Category: Sway

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

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

 

 

 

A Day in Lockdown with Mrs Pickard and P1b

I’m a primary school teacher, passionate about digital learning but by no means an expert.

This is where I am in our class learning journey with Microsoft Teams after 8/9 weeks of lockdown.

I am now using Thinglink as an interactive classroom, below is an image of my example to show my interactive classroom, the blog does not support embedding so you will need to click on the image or link to be able to click on the hotspots in the Thinglink.

I even have my pets helping me now:

Travis’ Classroom building sentences

Hobbes’ Counting Classroom

and Wilson too

 I used this app to help

Travis, Hobbes & Wilson

talk.

I didn’t start here, it has been a journey.

So I thought I’d tell you a little bit about the journey, where I started, what I did and why and where I am now.

Yes, I have been teaching Digital Literacy skills to every class I’ve ever taught from the first week, including this years primary 1b (brilliant).  The trickiest thing I found for the wee ones is keyboard skills, learning phonics is tricky but ‘find the ‘a’ on the keyboard’ was just another way of identifying and learning the sound, playing with keyboards, typewriters, another choice.

Before lockdown all of the p1b boys and girls could login to a desktop, click on a shortcut and login to a website with little or no help using their own unique login.

The week of lockdown I showed them Glow and Teams, they logged in and logged out.

Microsoft Teams is where I communicate with my class

In the beginning

A typical day started with a post from me saying good morning and

  • asking the class to reply to the message answering a question, e.g. best part of your weekend.
  • Suggesting activities/tasks, e.g. Sumdog, Reading Eggs.


After 8 / 9 weeks in we had progressed to:

A typical day starts with an Announcement with a pretty image to catch the eye and mark a new day.  The morning message can include lots of different things and reflects the morning meeting message we did in class at school:

  • Tasks
  • Challenges
  • Activity ideas
  • Pictures
  • What’s in store for the day
  • An MS Forms poll about something, e.g. vote on a story, when to meet
  • Links to songs, videos, Go Noodle
  • Fun Facts

The responses in the beginning:

  • Short phrase or sentence
  • an emoji

After 8 / 9 weeks p1b answer and share with:

     

  • Photos
  • Videos
  • Emojis
  • GIFs
  • Reactions to the post

Announcements is what I use to post in Teams.

In the beginning

  • I didn’t use them at all
  • I just put up a general conversation post

After 8 / 9 weeks I use them for:

  • The morning message
  • Challenges
  • Extra fun surprise tasks/activities
  • Extra information

What is so good about announcements?

  • My class love them,
  • I can personalise the image to make them eye catching and fit the post/announcement
  • I actively encourage emojis, GIFs, reactions as responses
  • I would argue that they encourage engagement

Assignments – this is where I set up and schedule teaching and learning

In the beginning

Initially I didn’t use assignments at all, I just put up a general post

Then I started to set one or two very simple assignments each day which included:

 

  • A Title
  • One or 2 instructions

After 8 / 9 weeks I use assignments all the time to set for:

  • A title
  • Short instructions
  • Resources attached
  • Scheduled

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What kind of resources do I use to create and build lessons?

In the beginning

  • Sway – gathering resources, adding audio, video, pictures, links, e.g. Word Building – oa
  • Forms – for quizzes and assessments, check ins, polls e.g. Daily Check In

  • Education City – create work for pupils focussing on specific skills  

Sumdog  – set maths challenges focussing on specific skills.

After 8 / 9 weeks I use:

  • Sway
  • Forms
  • Education City
  • Sumdog
  • Reading Eggs

PLUS

Flipgrid – to create a topic, to host videos, pupils respond to with their own videos

 

Wakelet – pulls together different resources from different places.

 

 

Kahoot – great for a quick assessment or for fun

 

 

 

ThingLink – super visual, interactive, easy to use

 

 

 

What kind of assignments?

Why do I use assignments?

  • I can create a lesson and schedule it for a date in the future 🗓
  • The assignment appears as a post in the general chat and provides a link for the pupils to click on – easy peasy
  • I can assign to the whole class, a group or an individual – great for differentiation
  • The pupils can attach work – photos, etc to their assignment and hand it in
  • The pupils work is saved in Sharepoint – in individual folders by assignment – all done for me – no extra work, no clogging up the files section in Teams – super organise, easy peasy, woohoo! 🙌
  • Feedback is private between me and individual pupil 👍
  • The Grades tab tracks assignments completed so I can see what’s happening 😊

 

Happy to help, share and collaborate

Amanda Pickard

@AJOBPickard