Wednesday, 24 February 2016

MIEExpert Spotlight #7: 'How I use Microsoft's Office Mix to teach Mathematics' - a guest post from Mabore Lekalakala, a MIEExpert from South Africa

This is the seventh post in the series "MIEExpert Spotlight for South Africa". The tab with all the posts can be found at: http://bit.ly/1ZYy8Z7. Today we focus on Mabore Lekalaka from Limpopo who is one of our Microsofts #MIEExperts for 2016. She has written a guest post showing her use of Office Mix in the classroom. Mabore is a keen user of Office Mix and she shares how she uses it for teaching Mathematics. Mabore was one of four teachers representing South Africa in 2015 in Seattle at the E2 Global Teacher Exchange in Seattle in 2015. Follow her on Twitter at @LekalakalaMabor

My early days of using computers

“When I started using computers around the year 2000, they were fun tools to set question papers, learners’ tasks and to type my personal assignments, CV, letters, etc. It was quiet fun for me to send and receive emails, to search information from the internet, to use Excel to draw and edit graphs, to perform a variety of calculations such as determining measures of central tendencies like averages, mean, mode, etc. It never crossed my mind then that there could be even more exciting things beyond using computers as tools. Today I say with no doubts that it is one thing to have access to technology and quite another to incorporate it into one’s day-to-day work, especially in the context of teaching and learning.

Using Microsoft and other technologies for project-based teaching

"Since I started using Project Based Teaching, my teaching is renewed with the use technologies such as Skype, Office Mix, OneNote, Sway, YouTube, PowerPoint, Geogebra, Khan Academy, ixl.com, TED Ed … the list is endless. I create exciting digital materials and present my work to learners, teachers, parents and to an international community. This is very exciting experience and my colleagues and people who l share lessons with adore me for that! When they look at me and observe my lessons, they see me as the one at home with using technology in my teaching. My lessons look so neat, organized and more interactive than before. I share them with anyone who needs them as links anytime, anywhere and who can open them on any device that has Internet. Office Mix is one of the modern technologies that not only renews my teaching and learning but also develops learners' 21st Century skills.

Getting started with Office Mix
"I use Office Mix to flip my teaching and learning into a new experience altogether, I compare this to a new journey within the ones I used to take in the traditional way of teaching. This new and fascinating journey of journeys' begins with the use of my lesson plans which use PowerPoint presentations. It takes me about 15 to 30 minutes to create an Office Mix lesson. I simply use the lesson objectives as headings and thereafter include information, images and videos from Bing to make the presentations lively and interesting. To make them even more interactive and exciting I include quizzes, polls, exercises and lessons from Khan Academy, Geogebra and other Apps from Microsoft Lab for Office Apps. I trim videos and use only the parts I need. The added advantage of the self-made quizzes, other than educative purposes, is that they are context-based unlike ready-made quizzes from the Internet or other websites. I use context relevant to my learners.


How I use Office Mix at school

"The best part is when I record my teaching narrations either while I am teaching in class or prior to the actual lessons. I prefer the latter as it allows me opportunity to rehearse, preview my videos and correct my mistakes before the actual presentation. I can also write on my slides to highlight and emphasise important points using different colours. When my PowerPoint presentations are ready, I upload them to Mix. I sign in with either Microsoft account, Facebook, Google or Office 365. After signing in, the presentations are exported to videos, uploaded and published. When my PowerPoint lessons are turned into MP4 videos I share them with my learners, parents and anyone who needs them. This is where my learners learn beyond the classroom collectively with their parents and relatives in the comfort of their own homes. My Circuit Manager, Mr Magagane, is one of the stake holders who normally uses my lessons during his presentations and it’s easy for me to share the lessons when they are in a video form. Here is one of my Office Mix examples: 

The lesson below is on Fractions and equivalence. A fraction is part of a whole, the whole can be one thing or a collection of things. To count fractions and decimals, learners have to count the intervals first. To find equivalent fractions two methods could be used; a fraction wall/drawings or multiplying/dividing both the numerator and denominator with the same number. To add/subtract fractions with unlike denominators, equivalent fractions can be used.

To watch this Office Mix go to https://mix.office.com/watch/1wthryt6smq3j or click on the image below.

Why I recommend using Office Mix in lessons
"Teaching and learning has been made easier with this free add-in for PowerPoint 2013. The Office Mix video lessons are part of my resource-bank available for all learners; those who were absent from school as well as those who were present but would like to listen to lessons more than once and for revision and reference purposes. My lessons caters for multiple intelligence learning, and all types of learners are accommodated such as those who prefer to learn by hearing sounds, seeing, touching, reading, writing, telling stories , memorizing words and more.

I encourage teachers out there to use this tool and experience this new experience."

Find out about Microsoft Office Mix on the Microsoft Educator Community
You’ll find the Office Mix website at https://mix.office.com/. Office Mix is a free add-in for PowerPoint and has everything you need to easily create and share interactive online videos. You can add voice, video & digital ink. polls & interactive apps If you are keen to learn more about Office Mix take a look at this free Introduction Office Mix course on the Microsoft Educator Community. If you haven't yet joined the Microsoft Educator Community why not do so today? You'll be astounded at the wonderful, free offerings that await you!


Get involved in the Microsoft MIEE program in 2017
If you are a teacher who likes to be innovative in the classroom, think about entering Microsoft's Innovative Teacher MIEExpert program in 2017 when applications reopen later. You can learn more about the program at this link: http://bit.ly/1H4gKcB on the Microsoft Educator Community.

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