Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Six Microsoft in the classroom ideas to try out this term...


As the third term springs to life in our classrooms, have you thought of adding any new technologies to your lessons or your professional development? Here are some useful Microsoft in the classroom ideas to try out this term.

1. Bring in some problem-based learning


Think about introducing problem-based learning in your classroom... based on a real South African problem. I experienced a project like this recently where we had to think about a South African problem to solve using the problem-based approach.  It was such a great way to tackle a problem in a group settting. If you want to know more about how to go about using the problem-based approach, there is a really good problem-based learning free course waiting for you on the Microsoft Educator Community. Upon successful completion of this course you will be able to:
  • Understand the essential elements that make up a problem-based learning experience
  • Articulate the importance of problem solving in relation to higher order thinking and 21st century learning
  •  Describe the need for PBL to allow for self-led learning and self-determination in students
  • Recognize and implement each of the five PBL design principles in your planning
  • Identify the characteristics of authentic assessment and understand why these are better suited to assessing authentic learning
  • Apply theoretical assessment models to plan assessments that target the domains of knowing, thinking and doing

What could be better than that!

2.  Use Minecraft: Education Edition in your classroom


There are many ways to use Minecraft: Education Edition in the classroom. Go to https://education.minecraft.net/ for loads of ideas and lesson plans. But what I noticed recently is that a problem-based group project works really well when you have the opportunity to demonstrate the solution using Minecraft Education Edition! Apart from all the critical thinking, creativity and collaborative skills that come in to play, the use of Minecraft: Education Edition in a project brings an excitement with it because the learners are making something using a product that 21st century learners love! You can read about a problem-based project that was done using Minecraft: Education Edition here.

3. Get your  class doing the Hour Of Code on code.org 


Another idea is to get your class to try out the Hour of Code. Coding is one of the vital future skills that our learners need. The Hour of Code usually happens on a day in December as a world-wide event, but it can actually be done at any time of the year. It is part of www.code.org which has amazing free offerings for all age groups of students. There are a number of different Hour of Code games to choose from. Your students will love them!

4. Try out Microsoft Teams


Microsoft Teams is one of Microsoft’s newest offerings for Office 365 users. Teams is a digital hub that brings conversations, content, and apps together in one place. Educators can create collaborative classrooms, connect in professional learning communities, and communicate with school staff – all from a single experience in Office 365 for Education. Microsoft describes Teams as a 'chat-based workspace in Office 365'. Marius Pretorius on the Computer studies email group  highly recommends Teams. He says:says, “In particular, I would suggest that you test drive Microsoft’s new collaboration software called Teams – which is part of Office 365 for Education. The education version of Teams, which has some extra features, has just been released. It is replacing Microsoft Classroom and what a replacement! You’ve got to experience it yourself. It is totally different and yet makes use of all the skills you already have. It will revolutionise communication in your schools!” You can find out more about Microsoft teams on the Microsoft Educator Community here http://bit.ly/2uSZ9Zd

5. Get started with Microsoft's Story Remix on Windows 10


Many of us who use Windows 10 miss Windows Live Movie Maker. But all is not lost! Microsoft has brought out Story Remix, a new app that makes it easy for teachers and students alike to create videos in the classroom using photos, video clips, and music. Use it to show how a project came together, encourage collaborative storytelling, or inspire your students to present their findings in a new way. Then save your video, share it with the class, or add finishing touches like animated special effects or Windows Ink. Watch a YouTube video about Storymix here

6. Try Book Creator - it's free on Windows 10


 Talking of stories, did you know that Book Creator which was voted Best Educational App in the 2015 BETT Awards, is free on Windows 10? Book Creator is the simple way to make beautiful ebooks, right on your PC or Tablet. This Book creation app which is used in 80 countries is also available on Windows! With over 10 million ebooks created so far, Book Creator is ideal for making all kinds of books, including children's picture books, photo books, comic books, journals, textbooks and more. And when you're done, you can share your book with ease, or even publish it to online book stores! This is a must for exploring this term!

These are just a few ideas to try out in the third term. Have fun!

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