Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Doodle4Google - are your learners drawing doodles? Closing date 22 October

Have you entered the Doodle4Google South Africa competition with its great prizes on offer? The closing date is October 22nd. Drawing these doodles could be a great end-of-term activity for your class. Read the following letter from Google South Africa 

"Dear Teacher

Would you like your student’s artwork to be viewed by millions of South Africans on the homepage of www.google.co.zaWould you like your school to benefit from a R100 000 technology grant?

Then we would like to invite your school to take part in the Doodle 4 Google ‘South Africa of My Dreams’ competition, which offers school children across South Africa the chance to design a Doodle to appear on Google.

At Google we use the homepage logo designs, Google Doodles, to celebrate different people, events or special dates. These Google Doodles are usually created by our web designers and represent important cultural occasions. However, this year we would like to open this special space up to the designs of South African school children between the ages of 6 - 17 years.

As we celebrate 20 Years of Freedom in South Africa this year, we are asking learners to create a Doodle around the theme ‘South Africa of My Dreams’. We have a host of local celebrity judges lined up to shortlist their favourite Doodles, followed by the South African public casting their vote for the final winner. This Doodle will then be shown on the 2  December 2014 on the homepage of Google.co.za for all South Africans to see!

To take part, visit the Doodle 4 Google website, download the competition entry form and get your learners Doodling. Learners can take part in the competition by Doodling as a homework assignment or you could have a Doodle day , as a classroom activity.

Submit the entry forms online or post them to us no later than 22 October 2014For more information visit our website at ww.google.co.za/doodle4google,where you’ll find all details of the competition and inspiring lesson plans that will make it easy to integrate the initiative into your daily teaching. 

We look forward to seeing your Doodles portraying our beautiful country.

Good luck!
The Doodle 4 Google team"

Friday, 26 September 2014

Nokia’s Mobile Maths platform can be accessed from your Smartphone

The great thing about Nokia mobile maths is that this platform, which is for Grades 10 – 12 Maths students  in South Africa, is available on any Internet-connected mobile phone, tablet or PC, and is “zero rated” for use on the MTN and Cell C networks. the sole aim is to help South African high school pupils to better master the subject of mathematics.


Access to the Nokia Mobile Mathematics (MoMaths) portal has been “zero rated” on MTN and Cell C, which means that learners don’t pay for the data they use while accessing the service.
Now that the end of the year exams are on the horizon, the 10 000+ CAPS-related exercises of varying difficulty can be used for revision. Learners can also collaborate with others, compare achievements and get guidance on how to progress.

Photo taken from the MTN blog

The new service is fully browser-based and works on any phone, tablet or PC without needing to download an app. After a quick sign-up process, students can practise problems in a number of categories like finance, trigonometry, calculus and statistics.
While working on questions, learners can read background theory, see examples of solved problems and engage with others. Points are awarded for successfully completed exercises and, if a learner chooses to, they can share their points and compete with other students. Research suggests the MoMaths programme can improved the maths score average by 14 percentage points.

photo taken from The Guardian
This service was piloted in 2009 with various groups but now it is free to the public. This is an offer that every Maths learner should take advantage of. This is free Maths practice at your fingertips. Not only is this a great service but the good news is that learners will be able to access this service for as long as they want without incurring any cost.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Tips on how to create great videos using the online video-creation tool, WeVideo

Submitted by Fiona Beal
Digital Storytelling is all the rage currently. One of the online tools that one can use to create a story is WeVideo.  WeVideo has several pricing plans one of which is a free plan.


I am particularly interested in this application as it is one of the Apps that integrates with Google Drive.  Richard Byrne has written about this feature in a post called ‘Create Videos Online with WeVideo in Google Drive’.


What is WeVideo
In a post on WeVideo Richard Byrne from Free Technology for Teachers says ‘We Video is a collaborative online video creation tool. In the video editor you can upload your own media clips or use stock media clips to produce your video. The video editor provides tools for trimming the length of display and or sound of each element you add to your video project. What makes WeVideo collaborative is that you can invite other people to create and edit with you. WeVideo offers four different user plans. The free plan allows you to upload your videos to YouTube and Vimeo but does not allow local downloads.’

I have been getting the WeVideo tips for getting started sent to my email box and here are some of these ‘Getting Started’ tips.

#1: What is a digital story
This initial video shows you five tips to create a digital story:
1- Start with an idea
2- Write your story
3- Create a storyboard
4- Research and gather elements
5- Build your story


#2 Storyboard editing.
WeVideo has 3 editing modes and this video shows you how to edit in storyboard mode.


#3: Editing using the timeline mode
This is the second WeVideo editing mode.This video shows you how to edit in advanced timeline mode.


#4 WeVideo- Hub (media & project management)
This video explains the project managing hub. This is the place to manage projects, manage media, publish videos, settings and more.

For anyone wanting to get started and explore WeVideo their blog has three posts that look very exciting: Personal Narrative & Digital Storytelling with WeVideo [Part 1] [Part 2] [Part 3]
This definitely seems to be an application to try out with classes at a school.

More information about WeVideo
WeVideo Academy: http://goo.gl/C0JYRg
WeVideo blog: http://blog.wevideo.com/
WeVideo Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/wevideo
WeVideo YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/wevideo

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Create a Google site from scratch…in minutes!

Submitted by Fiona Beal
Recently I saw a Google+ post from Google for Education that said ‘Make a Google site in minutes’. This immediately caught my attention as I imagined it would take a mush longer time than that.  The post in question said that all one needs to do is follow the six steps listed below. I tried it and, quite honestly, it IS as simple as that!

What is a Google site?
A Google site can be seen as an interactive website that is quick and easy to create without any knowledge of HTML. It is a quick way   to make information accessible to others.  A group can work together on a Site to add file attachments, information from other Google applications (like Google Docs, Google Calendar, YouTube and Picasa), and new free-form content.

Why use a Google site?
Sites are great for class websites, student eportfolios, private discussion boards with parents, group projects, research projects and more. 

Video tutorial on creating a Google site
At our first Google Summit in South Africa we were privileged to have Chris Betcher from Australia presenting. He is well-versed on creating Google sites and here is his video tutorial ‘├Źntroduction to Google sites’.


Text-based tutorials on creating a Google site
The following two really superb tutorials can be found on Chris Betcher’s own Google site called ‘Summit stuff’ http://goo.gl/Y2Nrel.
  • Designing Google Sites: Part 1
  • Designing Google Sites: Part 2
Google Sites Examples
Click on the following image to be taken to a page of Google Sites examples to copy


Monday, 22 September 2014

Office 365 #11: Technical stuff – software required by Office 365

Office 365 requires the following software:
- The current or immediately prior version of Internet Explorer, or the latest release of Chrome, Firefox or Safari.
- Any version of Microsoft Office in mainstream support.

Google Chrome
Latest version can perform all browser-related tasks

Latest version can perform almost all browser-related tasks

Latest version can perform almost all browser-related tasks

Mobile Devices
Not included

Internet Explorer 10
Dependent on Operating System - must have Windows 7 or 8
Windows server 2012, 2008 and Windows 7
32-bit version can be used for all Office 365 tasks
64-bit version can be used for almost all Office 365 tasks

Internet Explorer 9
32-bit version can be used for almost all Office 365 tasks
64-bit version can be used for most Office 365 tasks

Internet Explorer 9
Windows 7 or Vista SP2

Internet Explorer 8
Windows 7, Vista SP2, XP-SP3 (32 bit), XP-SP2 (64-bit)

Internet Explorer 7
Not supported

Office 2010 Service Pack 1
(Service Pack 2 Recommended)

Windows 7, 8, Vista SP2, XP-SP3 (32-bit), XP-SP2 (64-bit)

Office 2007 with Service Pack 3
Windows 7, 8, Vista SP2, XP-SP3 (32-bit), XP-SP2 (64-bit)

Office for Mac 2011
with Service Pack 3

Mac OS X 10.6 or later

About Firewalls
To download and install some updates, Office 365 desktop setup needs to connect to the Microsoft Update service. However, in some networks, access to sites and services that are outside of your company’s firewall are blocked by the system administrator. If you cannot access the Microsoft Update service, you need to contact your system administrator for assistance.

Office 365 #10: Upgrading from your free trial to the full version

This is the fifth post in a short series of Office 365 posts which have been written by Microsoft South Africa, taking you through getting acquainted with Office 365. They are available in the Microsoft Provisioning Guide
  • Once your domain has been verified as a bona fide education establishment you will be able to convert your trial into the full version when your 30 day trial comes to an end.
  • Go to your dashboard.
  • From the left-hand menu, select purchase services.
  • Select the option for Office 365 plans for education.
  • You will be taken to the screen where you will be able to enter the number of licences for each type (faculty and student). You will see that the licences are free. Select the number of licences you think you will need.
  • Add these to your cart and go to the checkout area. You will not be charged for these licences.

Friday, 19 September 2014

Chromebook #4: Apps for the Chromebook

Submitted by Fiona Beal
One of the great things about using Google Drive and in partivular the Google Chrome browser, is that the list of education apps that integrate with Google Drive  is growing daily. These apps are available from the Chrome webstore. They make a Chromebook really come alive in a classroom setting.

Holly Clark writes a lot about the Chromebook so I thought I would make a start by installing the apps she suggests for the Chromebook in her blog post ‘Chrome Apps perfect for the Chromebook Classroom’  These are apps which, she says, can make student thinking visible.  I have just noticed that she has used a Thinglink interactive image to explain the apps and what they can do in a classroom setting. Click on the image below to be taken to Holly’s interactive image.


Thursday, 18 September 2014

Chromebook #3: Create a Pinterest board to store your Chromebook Internet finds

Submitted by Fiona Beal
Now that I have started using a Chromebook I keep seeing great articles about them on the web. One of the best ways to keep a record of those articles is to create a board in Pinterest and store all the wonderful sites you come across. I did just that! Click on the image below to be taken to the Pinterest board entitled ‘├çhromebook posts’.


Chromebook #2: Finding relevant Chromebook tutorials

Submitted by Fiona Beal
I started to look for some tutorials on using Chromebooks and came across this fantastic collection of three tutorials shared via a Thinglink interactive image! (Note to self: must make much greater use of Thinglink). These are tutorials provided by the ICT Co-ordinator at a school known as Saddleback. They are provided in three levels - beginner, intermediate and advanced -  each with its own test and certificate.  Click on the image below to be taken to the actual interactive Thinglink image which will take you in turn to the tutorials.


This is a great way to get to know Chromebooks. Thank you to Andrew Moriates from Saddleback School for sharing so generously. 

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Chromebook #1: Getting to know the Chromebook

Submitted by Fiona Beal
imageLast week I was kindly loaned a Chromebook by Alister Payne, Deputy Principal at WPPS school in Cape Town. (Their school is planning to use Chromebooks throughout). Great excitement! These devices are currently not readily available in South Africa...but the first consignments are on their way! I had the privilege of using a Chromebook at the Google Teacher Academy in New York in 2012 and was impressed with its immediate start up speed in less than 10 seconds, it’s 8 hour battery and its light weightnot to mention it’s cheap cost (R3,500)! Ever since that time I have been waiting in anticipation for them to hit the South African market. They are mainly ideal for a 1:1 classroom with good Internet connectivity.

The video below is a quick take on Chromebooks. 


My first task was simply getting to know the Chromebook. A wonderful interactive Thinglink image created by Rafranz David was a great start! Click on the image below to be taken to the original Thinglink Interactive image.


Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Applications for Microsoft Innovative Educator Program are now open…don’t delay in getting involved!


The Microsoft in Education Global Forum is taking place in Redmond, Washington in March 2015. If you think you’ve got what it takes to be recognised as a Microsoft Innovative Educator, join the Microsoft Educator Network and upload a learning activity that demonstrates how you are using 21st century teaching practices in your classroom by 24 October 2014

Microsoft believes that technology alone cannot build 21st century skills for students. Technology is an accelerator, but alone it does not enable change. Microsoft believes in the power of the educator, and the impact educators can have when they are brought together and recognized for their achievements.

Microsoft offers engagement opportunities aimed at empowering educators like you effectively use technology to develop your students’ 21st century skills. Join over a million educators, helping over 190 million students in over 200 countries who are shaping the future of education by becoming a Microsoft Innovative Educator – Expert (MiE – Expert).

As some of the world’s most innovative educators, MIE Experts advance the conversation about improving student outcomes through innovative uses of technology in teaching and learning. Participants of the program can expect:
  • Free Microsoft tools and technology
  • Exclusive professional development opportunities
  • To develop your personal “brand” and career as a thought leader by participating in case studies, speaking engagements and content development
  • Eligibility to earn an all-expense paid trip to the Microsoft in Education Global Forum in Redmond, Washington in March 2015.

As an MiE – Expert your role in the Community will be to:
  • Build educator capacity for using technology in teaching and learning to improve student learning
  • Advise Microsoft and education institutions on how to integrate technology in pedagogically sound ways
  • Be an advocate at conferences, events and trainings for how Microsoft technology can improve learning

Get started with four easy steps

Step One: Review program commitment
Your commitment as a MIE Expert is to be an advocate for using Microsoft technology to improve student learning. In a year, MIE Experts typically:

  • Attend 8-10 webinars to learn about and give feedback on new technologies and education concepts
  • Build educator capacity in your community (school, district or at training events) by training or coaching educators and inviting them to join the Microsoft Educator Network (educators at your school and/or 200 others)
  • Develop your own capacity as a thought leader:
    • Speak at 2 or more conferences
    • Regularly contribute to social media such as Facebook and Twitter referencing #MSFTEDU
    • Author one blog every quarter referencing Free Tools or Hot Topics blogs on MSEN
    • Participate in at least 4 teach meets showcasing Microsoft technology
Step Two: Join the Microsoft Educator Network (MSEN)
Join the Microsoft Educator Network and fully complete your profile

Step Three: Submit a learning activity
Submit a learning activity. Learning activities are typically a project-based or inquiry-based activities that exemplify the use of 21st century teaching practices. The best past learning activities have included references to the 21st Century Learning Design rubrics, included examples of students’ work, and a video explaining the learning activity. All learning activities should be submitted in English to apply to become a MIE Expert. See learning activities from MIE Experts.

Step Four: Send an email to meaexp@microsoft.com with a link to your profile on the Microsoft Educator Network and a link to your Learning Activity, and complete the online form found at http://1drv.ms/1qvP8sc before 24 October, 2014.
Just do it! Nothing to lose…so much to gain.

Monday, 15 September 2014

Doodle 4 Google Teacher Afternoon at WPPS School in Cape Town on Tuesday 16th at 2:30pm. Join the Doodle4Google Team!

What are you doing on Tuesday afternoon from 2:30 – 3:30pm? Why not join the Doodle 4 Google team at Western Province Preparatory School in Cape Town? A letter from the team follows:

Dear Principals and Teachers

Google South Africa invites you to join us for an afternoon of technology and creativity. 

Where: Western Province Preparatory School, Centenary Pavilion, Upstairs, 49 Newlands Road, Claremont. Street parking available on Eyton Road or surrounds

When: Tuesday, 16th September 2014, from 14:30 to 15:30


Google has launched South Africa’s first dedicated Doodle 4 Google competition. One lucky child will have their artwork - or Doodle - displayed on the Google South Africa homepage for millions to see. And what’s more, their school will win a R100,000 technology grant. For more competition information you can keep an eye on the website.http://www.google.co.za/doodle4google/
To celebrate the launch and inspire you and your fellow teachers around the combination of technology and creativity in the classroom, we’d like to invite you to a Doodle 4 Google Teacher Afternoon.

The event will inform teachers of the Doodle 4 Google competition, which will see thousands of young young people across the country doodle on the Google logo, inspired by the theme “South Africa of My dreams”.

The afternoon will also give you the opportunity to learn more about Google Apps for Education, directly from Googlers, and provide hands-on tips and tricks of how teachers around the world are using the internet and digital tools to enhance learning experiences.

Of course, there will also be Google goodies for creative inspiration.

We hope you can make it! Please spread the word and RSVP here.

The Doodle 4 Google Team

7 great opportunities for teachers to participate in upcoming local and international competitions

Recently several really exciting competitions, both local and international, being announced with great prizes. Here they are gathered together in one post. Think about entering!


1.  Microsoft Innovative Educator
http://goo.gl/PAsOJx Closing date for South Africa 15th October

The Microsoft in Education Global Forum taking place in Redmond, Washington in March 2015. If you think you’ve got what it takes to be recognised as a Microsoft Innovative Educator, join the Microsoft Educator Network and upload a learning activity that demonstrates how you are using 21st century teaching practices in your classroom by 15 October 2014


2. Google’s Doodle for Google Competition ‘South Africa of my dreams’ 
http://www.google.co.za/doodle4google/ Closing date 22nd October

There are great prizes and one talented artist will see his or her artwork on the Google homepage and receive a R100,000 technology grant for his or her school. the competition form can be downloaded. The website also provides some useful classroom activities.


3. PUKU Literacture Foundation  Story competition, welcoming stories in isiXhosa http://goo.gl/Rt0Vxh Closing date to be announced

PUKU Books has created a special Facebook page for information about the  competition as it becomes available. It can be viewed at http://goo.gl/Lpgytn



4. Global Virtual classroom web design competition (using Google sites) http://www.virtualclassroom.org/contest.html Closing date for application is September 25th


Who may participate?
Teacher guided Primary (Grades 1-7) and Secondary (Grades 8-12, or equivalent) classes and youth groups around the world that have access to the Internet and know or are willing to learn Google Sites are eligible. A  group should have 15-40 students, between 7 and 18 years old as of September. If more than 40 students would like to participate, please apply as two groups and submit separate applications. Groups are placed into collaborative teams with two other schools from around the world.

Technical skill requirements
The teacher in charge must be familiar with Google Sites and capable of helping students build web pages.

5. The first Digital Innovation in Learning Awards!http://awards.edsurge.com/ Closing date October 1st


Are you an educator who pushes the boundaries? Five special awards will celebrate edtech trailblazers, community builders, virtual connectors and other teacher leaders. Read more about it http://www.teachinglikeits2999.com/2014/07/apply-for-digital-innovation-in.html 

6. Academy of AppSmash Awards http://goo.gl/7xYkc8 Awards announced November 13th


Submit your AppSmash for consideration in the 1st annual Academy of AppSmash Awards! Once submitted and validated, smashes will be available for voting for each category. This competition doesn't state a closing date but the awards will be announced on November 13th at the iPad Summit in Boston. Attendance is not necessary to win but they say they would love to see you there!

7. The 2015 SAATCHI GALLERY / DEUTSCHE BANK Art Prize for Schools http://goo.gl/Vh4jKd Closing date Monday 12th January 2015.


The Saatchi Gallery / Deutsche Bank Art Prize for Schools is open to primary, secondary and sixth form schools from around the world who are invited to submit art work from students up to and including the age of 18. Schools can enter as many art works as they wish, and there is no prescribed theme for works entered, nor is there a restriction on media used (sculpture, painting, installation, photography and mixed media art works are all eligible and welcome).

A first prize of £10,000 will be awarded to the winning school's Art Department, with a further £2,000 given to the winning pupil to be spent on art and computer equipment. Two further runner-up prizes of £5,000 each will be awarded to the second and third placed schools, with a further £1,000 to each of the winning pupils.

Why not think about entering one of these competitions?

Nokia’s free ‘MoMaths’ mobile learning project empowers SA learners – have your Grade 10-12 Maths learners signed up?

Most of our South African learners do not have access to computers however many of them DO have access to a mobile phone. This free Nokia MoMaths initiative gives Grade 10-12 learners the opportunity to study mathematics anywhere and anytime,  which in turn gives them the chance to empower themselves.

Students who sign up can access the mobile maths program for FREE whenever they like. Results have shown the collaborative networking format of the maths application on MXit encourages the children to learn proactively through maths exercises and examples and encourages them to excel by competing with each other on test scores and mobile competency rankings.


Case study results have shown teachers are also assisted by the program because they can immediately see where their class’s weak points lie and boost their competency by encouraging the learners to break maths problems down through mobile maths exercise tuition and repetition until full comprehension and competency is achieved.

How do you sign up?
Register at https://momaths.nokia.com. It’s free of charge

What will you find?
The programme offers learners lessons in mathematical theory. Examples are provided and pupils are taught step by step how to solve different equations. The content follows the latest South African Maths Grade 10-12 curriculum exactly. It is divided up by grade, topic and sub-topics and each sub-topic contains theory, at least 3 worked examples and over a hundred exercises to try out.

There are over 9000+ quizzes. Exercises are divided into levels of difficulty. When you master a set of quizzes you will move up on a level. There is 10 levels in each sub-topic

One of the great advantages of this program is that learners can set up their own study groups with friends and see how they are doing or compete with each other! The program is also accessible from a PC.  If you are a Grade 20-12 Maths teacher and your students haven't yet signed up - encourage them to do so this week. 

Friday, 12 September 2014

Be wary of unintentionally downloading unwanted software from the Internet…and what to do about it when it happens!

Submitted by Fiona Beal
Have you ever downloaded a recommended application from the Internet and in so doing downloaded some unwanted third party software as well? Yes? It happens to us all at some time or other I think. It happened to me yesterday on my Windows laptop!

Yesterday I put out a tweet about a useful application program that I had discovered and liked, and someone replied mentioning a similar application that they use successfully.  So, of course, I decided to download their recommended application and try it out. In doing so downloaded some unwanted programmes unintentionally.

Take note...


Sometimes, one downloads a new program from a secondary source, like I did, only to find that after installing it, you also have a toolbar in your browser and your default search engine has changed to Ask.com, for example.  (But, also remember that sometimes companies will bundle toolbars or other junk with their free programs. so as to offer those programs free, while still making money.)

My antivirus screamed at me as I was downloading but I kept clicking on ignore because, after all, my download was recommended software! I was also very careful not to click any of the suggestions my download included. But still I ended up with an unwanted application called ‘Search App by Ask’.

Take note... 

I tried hard to uninstall ‘Search App by Ask’ using the Add/Remove Program feature in the Window's Control Panel, but it wouldn’t uninstall. It kept telling me to close Google Chrome and the point is that Google Chrome wasn’t even open!  This application had somehow made some changes in the registry so that it couldn’t be uninstalled.

Take note... 


If for some reason an uninstallation fails, as mine did, there are other Internet programmes that promised to get rid of unwanted software. Feeling apprehensive about downloading yet another problem due to ignorance I was thrilled to come across Microsoft's Uninstall Fixer utility which claims it will help fix problems with programs that can't be uninstalled at support.microsoft.com, namely from http://support.microsoft.com/mats/program_install_and_uninstall

Take note...


Microsoft's Uninstall Fixer utility which claims it will help fix problems with programs defintiely does so! What a relief.


This is what Microsoft's Uninstall Fixer utility says:

What it fixes...
  • Corrupted registry keys on 64-bit operating systems
  • Corrupted registry keys that control the update data
  • Problems that prevent new programs from being installed
  • Problems that prevent existing programs from being completely uninstalled or updated
  • Problems that block you from uninstalling a program through the Add or Remove Programs (or Programs and Features) item in Control Panel
It was a relief to get the message below and to be able to confirm that the problem had been fixed.


We need to be very cautious about unintentionally downloading software from the Internet and should teach our students about this as well!

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Office 365 #9: Adding bulk lists of users using a .csv file

  • From your Office 365 dashboard, select users and groups from the menu on the left side of the screen.
  • This will bring up your list of active users.
  • Go to the four icons above Display name and click on the second icon from the left.
  • This gives you the option to select your .csv file for uploading. If you don’t have one, you now have the option to download a blank copy for completion.
  • The screen will look like this

  • Your .csv file is an Excel spreadsheet that must be in a particular format in order to be imported successfully.
  • You can download a sample spreadsheet and a template (by clicking on the links on this page) into which you can import data from your own educational establishment records.
  • You should only use this option if you are familiar with .csv files and spreadsheets.
  • Click on Browse and select your .csv file. Then click next to upload the file.
  • Follow the step-by-step instructions on the screen. They are similar to when you added users individually.
  • You will assign permissions and licences and generate login details in exactly the same way as before except that this method is quicker if you have large numbers of users to add.
If any errors appear, go back to your .csv file and correct the formatting then try to upload it again. If there are no errors, click on next. You will then see this screen:


  • Provided you want your new users to be able to access Office 365 immediately, select Allowed.
  • Select their location from the drop-down menu.
  • Click on next.
  • When you see the screen above, choose which licence and services to assign to your new users. This will be either staff (faculty) or students. You can also choose individual services.
  • When you have done this, click on next.
  • You should then see this screen:

  • Tick the Send email box and the login details of your new users will be sent to your email address.
  • Click Create to set up your new users.
  • You can then return to the users and groups page where you will see your new users appear in the Display name list.
Once you have set up your site and added users, you are now ready to start using Office 365 functions across your educational establishment.

Separate guides will show you how to use all of the different tools and functions, and enable you to help your educational establishment staff and students get used to using Office 365 as well. Remember if you get stuck, you can always return to your Office 365 dashboard and start again!

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Nokia Mobile Maths – an excellent service that is free! Would you like to join a MoMaths teachers’ group?

Recently, on our Nokia post entitled ‘The free Nokia Mobile Maths service (Gr 10-12) is available for smartphone but also works on a PC’ we received a very encouraging comment naming Nokia Mobile Maths as an excellent service…

“Thank you so much for this blog - as a Maths consultant involved in the authoring and editing of this material, I am very happy to see this excellent service advertised more widely. I wish to briefly highlight 2 additional features that I believe are worth being aware of:
1. users can create groups (e.g. teachers can create a class group). Those in the groups can see how many points others in the group have obtained, and in what topics and sub-topics
2. The feedback after a user enters an answer is immediate. This not only indicate whether the answer is correct or incorrect, BUT also provides a full worked solution!
Have fun everyone!
Garth Spencer-Smith"

PS. If any teachers would like to join a MoMaths teachers' group, please email me at nokiamomaths@gmail.com

Thank you for this great comment Garth. We hope that some students teachers will take up your offer of joining a MoMaths teachers’ group

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Office 365 #8: Adding users to your site individually


This is the third post in a short series of Office 365 posts which have been written by Microsoft South Africa, taking you through getting acquainted with Office 365. They are available in the Microsoft Provisioning Guide. See http://bit.ly/1yllgDU
  • Your users are your educational establishment community. This normally means teachers, lecturers and students as well as administration staff, but who you add is entirely up to you and your educational establishment.
  • You might want to add parents and carers, or other people who work in the educational establishment such as religious leaders and medical team members.
  • Once you have added your users, you will send them an email with their Office 365 login details and temporary passwords. They can then log in, reset their passwords and start to use all the features of the Office 365 platform.
  • Go to your dashboard page and click on users and groups in the left menu. This will take you to the area where you will begin to add your users. Your screen should look like this:

  • Have a look around the screen. You will probably understand the functions of many of the buttons, but don’t worry about those you do not as you will probably not use many of them. Others will become more familiar as you become a more advanced user in time.
  • Your own screen will be blank apart from your name, but you will notice in the screenshot above that some users have already been added to our test school.
  • To add a new user, click on the + symbol, located above Display Name.
  • Adding user details is simply a matter of typing their information into the boxes. Your screen will look like this:

  • If you wish, you can complete the additional details section by opening the drop-down menu underneath the details section.
  • This is particularly useful for recording information about members of staff.
  • When you choose a user name for the new user, a login user name is generated.
  • Click on next. The next page allows you to set the permissions and enter the location of each user. It will look like this:

  • You now need to decide which permissions to assign to your new user.
  • They require administration permissions if they will need to be able to reset lost passwords and create their own groups to invite other users to join.
  • Think carefully about the role each user has in your educational establishment.
  • Teachers or lecturers might need to be able to set up their own workspaces and groups, and reset student passwords.
  • You might therefore wish to assign administration permission to all staff. When you select Yes you will be able to choose the level of administration rights from the drop-down menu below.
  • Important - you need to be an administrator in order to be able to set up SharePoint sites.
  • When you click on the drop-down menu, your screen will look like this:

  • You can learn more about each admin role by clicking the link above the choice box. This explains what each of the five roles means.
  • In practice, your staff will probably need to have User management administrator permissions with one or two people in your educational establishment having the top level Global administrator role.
  • You can reassign permissions whenever you need to.
  • You also have the option to set an external email address for password recovery for administrators here. This should be their own email address.
  • Select the location of the new user and click on next.
  • You will then be taken to the next page where you assign a licence to the new user. The options are Faculty (staff) or Student.
  • You can remove access to certain services by unchecking the boxes on this page. For example, you might decide that your students will not be using Lync (the video conferencing tool).
  • The trial version limits you to 25 of each licence. This limitation will disappear once your domain verification checks have been completed by Office 365 and you have upgraded your plan from the trial to the full version. Once you have assigned a licence to the new user, click on next to be taken to the final page in the process of setting up new users.
  • You can now set up an option to email the new user’s login details. The page will look like this:

  • This is a useful feature that can save you from needing to print and manually distribute new user login details.
  • When you have done this, click Create and your new user login details will be displayed on the next page like this:

  • You can now carry on and create more user accounts, or select finish and return to your Office 365 users and groups page where a list of active user accounts will be displayed.
  • Now select the funnel icon (above Display name) to filter this view to only certain users.
  • Open the drop-down menu to view the different user categories available. It will look like this:


  • There is also a Search icon that allows you to search quickly for individual users. This is useful as all of your active users will be displayed in your users list.

Monday, 8 September 2014

Office 365 #7: Signing up for Office 365

Signing up for Office 365

Go to the Office 365 portal to set up your account. The portal can be found at http://aka.ms/o365EduZa - click on Try now and you will see a screen that looks like this:

  • Be careful when selecting your username as it cannot be changed once entered. When you have completed this form (ensuring you have selected the correct location country for your establishment) click on next.
  • You will now be able to complete the verification process. This will register your educational establishment, college or university as an Education User, which will allow you access to the full version of Office 365 and you will be able to upgrade from the trial version you’ve just signed into.
  • The Verification window will look like this:

  • Click on next and enter your educational establishment details in the box.
  • This will usually be your website and email name. For example, we used testschool.co.za while writing this guide.
  • You will then be prompted to allow a verification process via your provider. This will enable Office 365 to check to see that you are a genuine academic institution.
  • The screen you see should look like this:

  • Select your service provider from the drop-down menu and follow the instructions that appear. This will start the verification process for your educational establishment.
  • For example, this what your screen would look like if you use internet provider 1&1:
                         Scrolling down, you will see a step-by-step series of instructions.Make sure you follow the instructions given by your service provider. Your trial will not be upgraded unless your domain name is successfully verified.

If you do not own your own domain, you will need to contact your local Microsoft Authorised Education Reseller (AER) to verify your status in another way. Usually this will be by providing proof of academic status, such as a document from the Education department if you are a school.

Microsoft has now partnered with GoDaddy.com to help you set up your own domain if you don’t already have one. If you don’t, all of your email addresses will include onmicrosoft.com rather than your institution name, so having your own domain might become important in time.

Once this domain verification process is complete, you will be taken through to your Office 365 homepage, known as your dashboard. You should see this screen:


On the left side of the page you will find your administration functions.
  • Click on Setup.
  • This will take you to the Quick Start menu where you will choose your Office 365 domain name (this will appear on your Office 365 emails and other Office 365 services).
  • The screen you see should look like this:

  • You will be given the option of keeping your educational establishment name (the one you entered during the verification process) or choosing a new name for your email.
  • Once you have completed this step you will be taken to a five-step options page. It should look like this:

  • Click the arrow at the top left of the page to take you back to your Office 365 dashboard.
  • You will now start adding users to your site (it’s called a tenancy in 365-speak). To complete the setup, you need to invite your educational establishment community to join the site.
  • Have a look around your Office 365 dashboard. The tabs at the top of the page to the right are for the various tools you will be using. This toolbar will always be visible no matter what you are doing on your Office 365 site. It will be covered in later guides.
  • Click on the Admin tab.
  • A drop-down menu will appear. It should look like this:

  • Clicking on the Office 365 tab in the drop-down menu will always return you to your dashboard.
  • Exchange would be your email service if you choose to transfer you existing email system.
  • Lync is your video-conferencing and real-time productivity tool.
  • You can use SharePoint to construct a public website for your educational establishment, and you can also set up internal groups of users, for example, teachers, lecturers, establishment admin, or even individual class and subject sites.
  • The other tabs on the top toolbar are for other functions you will be using. Other guides in this series will take you through using these tools.
  • The list on the right-hand side of the dashboard page contains some shortcuts and links to external sites. There is an Office 365 Community forum here where you can leave questions for other users and experts on all aspects of using Office 365.
  • The menu at the left-hand side of your dashboard page lists the administration functions you might need to use. Don’t worry about these for the moment - you will be able to access guides explaining many of these advanced functions.
You have now set up your educational establishment Office 365 site. As you were doing this, you will have noticed many functions and areas that we have not covered. This setup guide covers the basic functions necessary to get you going. As you get more used to Office 365, you will be more confident and able to explore some of the more advanced functions.

There are online guides for Office 365 that take you through these, however, many are for business and corporate users and not necessary for educational establishments so don’t worry if you think you are only using a small part of Office 365.

You can now start to add your educational establishment community members to the site. These may include teachers, lecturers, students, administration staff and even parents if you wish. You can do this individually or by bulk upload.