O365: Share a direct download link to a file in Office 365

If there’s an easier way, I haven’t found it!

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O365: Sway Introduction

1. Go to sway.com and sign in using your email.

2. Enter your email and click next

3. Enter your password (this landing page may look different depending )

4. Click “Create New” to get started

5. Title your Sway

6. Add content by clicking on the “Plus” or selecting a card

7. Add an image from the web

8. Or upload your own image

9. Add text to your Sway

10. Reveal more options if you can’t see the cards on the left side of your Sway

11. Change the navigation style from horizontal to vertical or “slide” style

12. Change the design (fonts/colors/etc.)

13. Add an author or share your Sway

Just copy and send the appropriate link. Make sure to add “Anyone with link” if your viewer doesn’t go to our school or you’d like the viewer to skip signing in!

Office Mix – Tutorial

Office Mix

I’ve been gone for a while, sorry! I’m going to get back at it, starting with this review of Office Mix.

This is the most promising education app that Microsoft has released in years. Office Mix lets you turn PowerPoints into interactive presentations with video, audio, and embedded quizzes. It is a great tool for flipping your class, or more specifically, flipping presentations. If you are like me, you’ll have at least one project each year where students present. While you can use tools like Prezi and Haiku deck to get students to make more engaging presentations, students still have to present in class. Often times these presentations are not well-rehearsed or are poorly executed.

Office Mix can help solve this. Students can record “perfect” presentations at home by spending time to hone their presentations before submitting them. Even if this doesn’t replace the actual presentation in class, it gives students time to practice their delivery and get feedback.

Teachers can also benefit a great deal from this tool. We can work on polishing our own presentations, or just pairing them down to the essentials (a series of five 3-minute videos is generally way better than one 15-minute video). We can also embed videos, quizzes, and questions along the way, and the Office Mix site gives great “analytics”:

analytics_1

You can see how much time students spend on each slide, and how many people have viewed the slides.

analytics_2

You can see who viewed the Mix.

analytics_3

You can see their answers to your questions to see what concepts you need to re-teach or work on in class.

Here’s a sample Mix I made:

There is so much more that you can do. I will be making a tutorial of the features, including how to insert video, screenshots, quizzes, etc. and adding it soon!

Microsoft 2-Day Teacher Trainer Workshop, Day 1

Although I didn’t get to hang out with Stevie, or even Satya, I had a great day chatting with my fellow educators, tinkering around with all of the free tools Microsoft offers, and learning more about OneNote. While the time spent on Window 8 seemed a little bit out of date – I’m on Windows 10 and since it will revert to an old-style start menu by default I didn’t initially see the point in diving into Live Tiles – but the training itself was very well done.

Here are some of the topics we covered:

Window 8 — After reflecting more, I guess this session was useful for people who are currently using Windows 8, haven’t installed a Start Menu replacement, and don’t anticipate upgrading to Windows 10 when it is released next year. I do like the live tiles a lot for younger students. If your IT staff can bake in the proper shortcuts and groups to their image, it can be a way easier method of navigating for younger students than using the mouse as it allows them to utilize the touch screen to its full extent. In the long run I see most users switching to the “Hybrid” view that Windows 10 has. I can’t imagine many people sticking with the tiles, but I could be wrong.

OneNote — It is awesome and probably the best Microsoft product that only a few people use. When I ask students about OneNote they almost always have not heard of it. That is probably because most of their teachers haven’t either. It’s high time that we start spreading the word! I’m going to do a OneNote training for my colleagues when I get back to school after the break šŸ™‚

21st Century Learning Design — This session was interesting and sparked quite a bit of debate. We looked at a lesson that was submitted to the MS Partners in Learning network and assessed it using the rubric for 21st Century Learning Design (21CLD). The biggest discussion point here was regarding the concept of knowledge construction. What does it really mean to “construct knowledge” during a learning activity? The 21CLD documentation states that:

Knowledge construction activities require students to generate ideas and understandingsĀ that are new to them. Students can do this through interpretation, analysis, synthesis, orĀ evaluation. In stronger activities, knowledge construction is the main requirement of theĀ learning activity.(p10)

This definition seemed to be a bit vague to most of us. We felt as though the submission, which had some of the seeds of a great unit, was poorly or incompletely described in the documents we were presented. However, because of this broad definition, we felt that we needed to score this lesson higher on knowledge construction rubric we were using as the framework for evaluating the lesson:

Knowledge Construction Rubirc

This discussion really stuck with me. It made me go back over some of the documents more closely, where I found this gem:

The main requirement is the part of the activity that students spend the most time and effort on and the part that educators focus on when grading. If the learning activity does not specify how much time students should spend on each part, you may have to use your professional judgment to estimate how long students are likely to spend on different tasks.

If I had seen this at the time then I would have certainly scored the lesson lower.Ā The documents we looked at made it impossible to discern how theĀ students would spend their time during these activities. It also wasn’t really clear what skills the educator would focus on when evaluating the final product. While I do think that the students would spend the majority of their time drafting a “business letter” to the IOC (part of the culminating activity), I don’t think that it is clear how much time this would take or even which student in a given group would be using their research to construct knowledge. If this unit wasn’t well-planned it could easily devolve into a situation where one student does all of the work.

Overall it was a great day!Ā I truly appreciate that Microsoft goes out of their way to provide these training opportunities, and that they are encouraging educators to be leaders. I, for one, feel inspired and ready for Day 2. Thank you toĀ Ā and Kim West!