Author Archives: Malcolm Wilson

Managing Notifications in Microsoft Teams⤴

from @ Digital Learning & Teaching in Falkirk Schools

When you use Microsoft Teams you might find yourself getting overwhelmed with notifications from Teams to which to which you belong. Instead of deciding to leave any Team, you can control notifications so that you get what you want, and in the way you want it.

So for some Teams where it’s good that you are a member, but don’t need notifications, then you can switch these off entirely.

For other Teams where you are responsible for that Team then you want to notifications of everything a sand when it happens.

And there’s lots of permutations from one extreme to the other!

Managing the settings for what notifications you receive in Microsoft Teams

It’s a 2-step process – one where you control how you’ll get the notifications, and second step to choose which teams and channels within them you wish or don’t wish to receive notifications about. Here’s a link to a guide to managing the settings for what notifications you receive in Microsoft Teams – this provides specific guidance for using in a browser or on mobile device Teams app.

Click here for guide to Managing Notifications in Microsoft Teams. Click on the tab for desktop (for desktop device or laptop/netbook), iOS (for iPads or iPhones) or Android for specific guidance for the device you use

Click on this link for a helpful video by Mike Tholfsen showing how to take control of your notifications in Microsoft Teams

Click here for TeamsTips101 – managing notification video

 

Get OneNote on your device⤴

from @ Digital Learning & Teaching in Falkirk Schools

OneNote is one part of Microsoft Office 365 suite of digital tools available to all Glow users, which includes Microsoft Teams. If you have a class Team in Microsoft Teams then you will automatically have a OneNote Class Notebook as part of this.

Here’s links to short videos showing you how to get OneNote on your mobile device, whether Android or iOS (iPhone or iPad).

When you are signing into these for the first time on a mobile device then use your Glow email address – this is your Glow username followed by @glow.sch.uk

OneNote on Android

 

OneNote on iOS (iPhone or iPad)

 

OneNote Online (web-based through a browser)

Connection woes? Here’s suggestions to try⤴

from @ Digital Learning & Teaching in Falkirk Schools

Don’t panic – it happens with any online tool!

Every online platform hiccups from time to time: you might get error messages, things don’t update, you can’t upload files, you can’t share what you need to share – and you can probably add to that list!

And, of course, it happens when you are trying to do umpteen different things.

Take a breath….and don’t panic – it really can happen when you are using any online tool, to anybody, anywhere. So don’t rush to change platform or switch tool. There are a few steps to try to see what you can do, and sometimes it’s doing things a slightly different way.

What steps to try if your class is using Microsoft Teams

At times of network pinch and uploading files into the shared files area is causing an issue then try the following:

  • In the browser in Teams click on the ellipsis (3 dots) at top right and choose “Open in Sharepoint” to show the folders/files for the files area of Teams
  • If you are using Teams on an Internet browser on a laptop or computer then instead try using the Teams app on a mobile device
  • Instead of using the Teams app on a mobile device try instead using the OneDrive app on your mobile device (and if you have not already got this app on your mobile device then download and sign in with your Glow email address too) > click on “Libraries” at the bottom-right > type the name of the Team in the search box at the top of the screen > choose from the list which appears > navigate to the folder in the Team > open the file or upload using the + icon. Click here for a video by Andrew Bailey illustrating the use of the OneDrive app on a mobile device to access the files from Microsoft Teams

  • Instead of sharing in the Files area of Teams, if there is difficulty uploading, the instead share via conversations/posts in Teams (everyone in the Team will see anything posted here so may not be appropriate for sharing to individuals or for pupils sharing to their teacher)
  • Use assignment feature to share a task and/or resources to a class (and if using the assignment tool via a browser, but find network issues is giving issue on a computer or laptop, then try instead on mobile device app rather than browser)
  • Consider creating a quiz/assessment using Microsoft Teams and sharing the link to that either in the conversations/posts in Teams or using the assignments feature to share to the class – this is just a link so isn’t an upload so should share pretty quickly and easily. And, as the teacher, you can set the questions so they self-correct (if multiple choice question type) so that pupils get immediate feedback, and you also get all responses in one easy to access location within Forms. Pupils also get the benefit of Immersive Reader built into Forms which will read aloud questions
  • Use Outlook Email within Glow (you can find the Glow email address of a Team member by clicking on the ellipsis (three dots) to the right of the team name > Manage Team > click on name to see email address.

Microsoft shared this webpage with very helpful tips/solutions for using Microsoft Teams either in situations where there is poor bandwidth or when usage spikes – only point to note is that Glow does not have Stream, mentioned here, enabled https://support.office.com/en-us/article/use-teams-for-schoolwork-when-bandwidth-is-low-5c5675f7-1b55-471a-9daa-ec1e6df38262

What about OneNote?

If you’re using the online version of OneNote, but finding an issue with content not appearing, then go to either the desktop version for computer/laptop (if you have not already got this installed then Glow users just remember to sign in first time with your Glow email address) which can be used offline with no Internet connection and will sync when there is a renewed connection.

Alternatively, if you have a mobile device (smartphone or tablet), then use the OneNote mobile app – it too will work offline to access content which has already been synced or to create material which will sync when you have a connection. On the mobile app to push a sync to happen click on a page and pull down from the top of a page, or go to the top right and click on “Sync Now”

Click on the link below for a support guide from Microsoft for advice and tips if you ever experience syncing issues with OneNote – and there’s advice here regardless of which device you are using and whether app or browser.

Best Practice for Syncing Notes in OneNote

What about Word Online?

If you are finding that the Word document online is not opening at times of network strain then click on the top-right button to edit and choose either to open in desktop or open in a new tab from the document files area in Teams. Or download the Word app (or Microsoft Office Mobile app) on your mobile device and open from there.

For more helpful advice click on the link below for the device platform-specific advice for syncing files:

Click here for Microsoft Support page with advice to Sync the files on your computer with your mobile device

The First Step is the Hardest Step in Distance Learning⤴

from @ Digital Learning & Teaching in Falkirk Schools

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”

This is a saying which is believed to have originated from a famous Chinese proverb from the Dao De Jing ascribed to Laozi: every long journey, or difficult task begins with one first step.

 

Reflections from others

What can we learn from those who have taken first steps in distance learning, where teachers are supporting, encouraging and teaching their learners from a distance through the use of digital technology?

 

Listen to this episode of the Wired Educator podcast to hear from teacher Stephanie Castle about her experience as an educator in Shanghai, during the initial COVID-19 outbreak in China, about remote instruction and learning as Stephanie and her colleagues have been instructing remotely longer than many other teachers

 

Effective remote and digital learning” – a concise document by the West Partnership Regional Improvement Collaborative clearly setting out the rationale for digital distance learning, defining terms, making reference to research and experiences elsewhere and providing tips and strategies for educators as well as parents/carers.


Tips for Teaching Online from Lisa Anne Floyd and Steven Floyd

The reflections at this link, and lessons learned from experiences gained, by primary teacher Marc Andrew may be helpful in looking at similarities for teachers in their own circumstances and to support reflection in choices as practice develops.

This diary of teacher reflecting on their journey with remote learning may provide echoes for many

Michael Ha shared visual infographic posters with advice about distance learning, one poster for the teacher and one for the pupil, providing tips for each.

Michel Girard shared this visual graphic about distance learning – highlighting the opportunities afforded by teachers sharing ideas through a professional learning network such as available using Twitter and following the hashtag #MSFTEduChat

What does research say about distance learning?

This link to an article by Dr Michael Harvey provides references for evidence-based approaches to maximize the impact of online teaching based around the science of learning research centre at the University of Queensland. This highlights a number of approaches including “that a combination of relevant visual images and speaking to the images as prompts greatly enhances learning,” and suggests that in an an online environment “providing learners with predictable presentation formats with text, subheadings, and images in the same locations will improve learner focus.”  The “adoption of a spiral curriculum can also help” where it’s “not simply the repetition of a topic taught. It requires also the deepening of it, with each successive return to concepts building on the previous one.” Dr Michael Harvey can be found on Twitter at @Dr_Harves

What online courses will help prepare for and develop distance learning?

Staying connected with remote learning through Microsoft Teams and Office 365. This free online course will help with understanding the difference between remote learning and online learning, look at evaluating considerations, explore options for continuing the learning and connections with your pupils, how to establish routines and develop workspaces that foster learning, and reflect on how to incorporate your school traditions and develop connections. Sign in with your Glow email address so that you can receive a certificate, badge and transcript of what has been undertaken.

Keeping Students engaged: Building strong student/teacher connections in a remote learning environment – a free online course providing information about the use of Microsoft Teams to develop remote learning experiences, how to create a class Teams call, use of pre-recorded lessons, assessment tools available in remote learning and how Assignments and Grades in Teams support your review process, as well as how OneNote Class Notebook can enhance your they way you share resources with pupils as well as evaluate their understanding. Sign in with your Glow email address so that you can receive a certificate, badge and transcript of what has been undertaken.

Accessibility, Special Education, and online learning: Supporting equity in a remote learning environment –  a free online course about supporting equity in a remote learning environment, providing tips for ways to make content accessible for all pupils, and to help pupils transition to remote learning . Sign in with your Glow email address so that you can receive a certificate, badge and transcript of what has been undertaken.

Access Microsoft Teams in Glow on Different Devices⤴

from @ Digital Learning & Teaching in Falkirk Schools

Here’s how to access Microsoft Teams in Glow on a tablet or smartphone​

Go to App store > search for Microsoft Teams > download/install > open app > enter your Glow email address which is your Glow username followed by @glow.sch.uk (some users may have a different ending: @glowmail.org.uk)  > enter your password  then sign in

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s a helpful video from Beeslack Community High School showing how to download and sign into the Microsoft Teams app (as well as Microsoft Office app) on a smartphone or tablet with your Glow email address

Accessing Glow on a Gaming Console

Click on this link for a guide to accessing Glow via a gaming console

For more help with signing into Glow go to the Glow Connect website at the link below:
https://glowconnect.org.uk/help-with-glow/glow-launchpad/accounts-and-passwords/logging-into-glow/

OneNote Class Notebook in your Microsoft Teams Class⤴

from @ Digital Learning & Teaching in Falkirk Schools

So what is OneNote Class Notebook inside Microsoft Teams?

OneNote Class Notebook is built into Microsoft Teams. OneNote Class Notebook is like a digital ring-binder with cardboard colour dividers, and within each section you can have as many pages as you like. Each page is a freeform page which can be any size you wish, and become like your classroom whiteboard, where you can add a very wide range of content (including images, audio, video, documents, presentations, embedded Sway presentations, embedded Forms, and you can freehand draw or write just as you would on your classroom whiteboard. It all saves automatically and is accessible on any device so you can move from working on your smartphone on the OneNote app to working in the browser on a laptop (and other devices).

A OneNote Note Class Notebook already comes with the permissions for your pupils to access and collaborate on anything in the collaboration space, so you’ve no setting or permissions to worry about if you wish a group of pupils to work on something together, just create the page and tell them who’s working on it. In addition to these collaboration spaces a OneNote Class Notebook also has a section which the pupils can see, but on which only the teacher can add or edit content – handy for sharing what you might have shared on your classroom whiteboard. This is called the library space. There is also a teacher-only section which can be enabled (so you can create content ahead of time and move into the library when you wish pupils to make use of it. And the OneNote Class Notebook within Microsoft Teams also has individual sections for each pupil – which only you as teacher can see and that individual pupil (other pupils can’t see anyone else’s sections).

And if that wasn’t enough, OneNote Class Notebook built into a Microsoft Teams class also has Immersive Reader Learning Tools built in providing accessibility options for all learners.

Click on this link for a guide to OneNote Class Notebook within Microsoft Teams in the Microsoft Support site – each page on this help-guide site allows you to toggle between what the teacher can do and how to do it, and by clicking on the student tab on each page you can see the related help-guide page for the pupils from the pupil perspective

If you’re new to using Microsoft OneNote Class Notebook then here’s an in-depth overview introduction by Susan Sey and Jen Mackay to OneNote in Glow. This covers a OneNote Notebook created by an individual, as well as OneNote Class Notebook, and includes a OneNote Class Notebook which is integrated in a Microsoft Teams class. It’s an incredibly versatile digital tool so can be as simple as you wish – you don’t need to use everything just because it’s there. But this overview will give you a flavour of what’s possible so you can decide what will best be useful for your learners.

Setting up your your OneNote Class Notebook for the first time ready for use by your class is first step in getting it to look the way you want your pupils to see it.

Tweaking the settings for your OneNote Class Notebook in Microsoft Teams

 

 

This video by @TeachMe_UK gives a quick overview of getting a OneNote Class Notebook organised (it’s a very versatile tool so it can look just the way you want it to look!)

 

How to add pictures, files and videos to your OneNote Notebook pages

You can create more interactive notebooks in  your OneNote Class Notebook. Click on this link to see  short videos showing you the steps to add pictures, files, and videos to your pages in your OneNote Class Notebook

Using OneNote to Show what they know

Here’s a video by teachers Jeni Long and Sallee Clark illustrating how to develop the use of OneNote so that learners can use the digital platform to demonstrate their learning.

Here’s an in-depth overview of the use of Microsoft OneNote Class Notebook within Microsoft Teams in a  webinar hosted by Helen Myers with many illustrations of how these tools are being used by teachers

Click on this link for a video by maths teacher Joel Speranza (aimed at his learners) giving a guided tour of how OneNote Notebook within his Microsoft Teams class works

 

Upload to assignments in Microsoft Teams⤴

from @ Digital Learning & Teaching in Falkirk Schools

So if your teacher has assigned a piece of work for you in Microsoft Teams in Glow, then how do you as a pupil upload your work?

Here’s how to upload your work to assignments for your teacher to see

💻🖥 Using a Laptop/computer? 💻🖥

Here’s a video by Andrew Bailey showing how a pupil would upload work (whether a photograph or work, or a file such as Word document or PowerPoint presentation) if you are working on a laptop or computer, to an assignment set by their teacher in Microsoft Teams assignments in Glow

Here’s a video by Eoin Neil showing how a pupil would upload a Word document, using a the computer/laptop app or browser, to assignments in Microsoft Teams through Glow:

Here’s a video by Park House English School showing how a pupil would upload a Word document, or PowerPoint, using a the computer/laptop app or browser, to assignments in Microsoft Teams:

🤳📱 Using a Smartphone or tablet? 🤳📱 

If you are using a smartphone or tablet then click here to see how to add the Microsoft Teams mobile app and the Microsoft Office mobile app to your smartphone or tablet. Also it would be a good idea to have the OneNote app on your device so click here to see how to download OneNote app to your smartphone or tablet

Here’s a video by Andrew Bailey showing how a pupil would upload work (whether a photograph of work, or a file such as a Word document or a PowerPoint presentation) using a smartphone through the Microsoft Teams app to an assignment set by their teacher in Microsoft Teams assignments in Glow, using the Microsoft Teams app (and Office app for a file such as a Word document or PowerPoint presentation)

 

Here’s a video by Eoin Neil showing how a pupil would upload a photograph of work, using a mobile device, to assignments in Microsoft Teams through Glow:

Here’s a video by James Doyle showing how to upload a Word document through a tablet with the Microsoft Teams app, to assignments in Microsoft Teams:

Need more help uploading your assignments for your teacher?

Click here for the help guide on the Microsoft Support site showing how a pupil turns in an assignment in Microsoft Teams

 

Want to use video meet with your class in Microsoft Teams?⤴

from @ Digital Learning & Teaching in Falkirk Schools

👨 🎤 💻 Want to present to your class in a live video meet?

Microsoft Teams in Glow provides the facility for you as the teacher to present live to your class via video meet. This can be useful if you want your pupils to have the familiarity of seeing you and hearing your voice, and to hear each other.

Don’t feel under pressure to use this video meet facility right away. And take on board safeguarding and employer requirements in use of such a tool, as well as being mindful of your professional teaching association advice.

Situations will vary as to what digital resources or facilities learners have access, and when, especially if sharing the same device in a home. And Internet connection available can be highly variable from one location to another, and one home to another. If you are sharing a message or teaching point then an alternative to live video meetings could be to share a recorded video.

If having a live video meeting is for you, then click on this link for specific step-by-step guidance from the Microsoft Support site to setting up a video meet in Teams for your class (note that this link is not specific to Glow so you’d need to be signed in first to Glow and then have opened Microsoft Teams – click here for more Glow-specific advice about Microsoft Teams on the Glow Connect site).

 

If you wish to have only your voice in the video meet then you might instead opt to have the camera pointing at an object (piece of work, paper on which you’ll demonstrate a teaching point, or maybe a piece of writing you’ll discussing together, or for perhaps a class toy/character/mascot figure.

Here’s how to invite everyone in a class Team to a scheduled video meet in Microsoft Teams in Glow, or to invite individuals: video meet in Microsoft Teams can be set up in 3 different ways and here’s a link to a very quick video showing how (just note that the third way is only available for staff-to-staff video meetings as chat is disabled for pupils nationally in Glow)

It’s worth being aware that for safeguarding reasons within Glow nationally currently video meetings permit only the teacher to broadcast video and to have only audio from pupil (which can also be switched on and off by the teacher), there is no access to anyone without a Glow account, and recordings are disabled.

Click here for a step-by-step how-to guide on the Microsoft Support site for scheduling a meeting which shows the specific step to add everyone in a team/channel

To avoid pupils entering the class video meet before you, then there’s an additional way that you can set up the video meet in your Outlook calendar in Glow, choose to add it as an online meeting, selecting Microsoft Teams option, and then saving and opening the diary entry again before then adjusting meeting options underneath the “Join Meeting” link which is created to make all participants attendees and only you as presenter. Then copy the link for that meeting and only post it in your Team just at the time you are going to have the meeting. Once you have completed the meeting, and all pupils have left the video meet, you can then delete the meeting from the calendar to ensure pupils cannot then return later.

Using the Teams mobile app to have a video meet

Safeguarding

Note that for safeguarding reasons within Glow nationally currently video meetings permit only the teacher to broadcast video and to have only audio from pupil (which can also be switched on and off by the teacher), the chat function between pupils is disabled, there is no access to anyone without a Glow account, and recordings are disabled. These technical settings are in place to provide support to you and your learners but safeguarding is also about actions and behaviours which need to be in effect.

Click on this link for a helpful infographic visual poster from LGfL Digi Safe outlining safeguarding principles when considering using video meet

Meeting Etiquette

Managing a video meeting involves more than getting technical settings right – it’s about setting expectations around behaviours to make for the most positive experience for everyone. As you might do in a classroom you may build expectations together with your class, such as when someone is talking then others might be encouraged to mute their microphone, or using the meeting conversation box to add questions or comments. There is no single way to manage a classroom, just as there is no single way to manage a video meeting. The following are suggestions by others who have found what was helpful in their situation, so you can adapt to suit what works best for your class.

 

So how long should a video meet last?

There’s no hard and fast rules about length of time to be on video. But there are a few considerations to be borne in mind. Live video meetings consume bandwidth so keeping live meetings shorter will be better for everyone taking part. If sharing a PowerPoint presentation (or other digital resource) then uploading first into the video meeting room rather than sharing your desktop will cause less bandwidth strain. Encouraging participants to mute their microphone (and camera if this is a meeting of staff colleagues, since in Glow the camera is not available to enable for pupils) when they are not speaking will help the experience be more productive for everyone.

This visual, based on research, may be helpful in thinking about what would suit your circumstances and those of your learners:

What about slow internet issues?

Video meets eat bandwidth! And not everyone will have superfast broadband Internet connections. So if a video meet is something which is being undertaken then it is essential to consider how to minimise connection difficulties for all participants.

10 Tips to support students with slow Internet – a really helpful post by Matt Miller on his fabulous “Ditch that Textbook” site with lots of practical ideas for making the use of video meets friendlier for everyone, whether slow Internet connection or super fast, including easy to follow visual how-to guides.

Accessibility

 

 

Looking for more help?

 Click on this link for the Microsoft Teams for Education support page “Creating, attending, and running meetings while using Teams for distance learning” – this gives detailed help for a teacher for setting up a meeting, guides to how to manage a meeting, and tips and advice for working with your class of learners. The page also lets you toggle to see the advice for a learner in a class, showing what they will see, how it will work from their perspective and some general guidance about being a part of an online class in a video meet in Microsoft Teams. Note that for safeguarding reasons within Glow nationally currently video meetings permit only the teacher to broadcast video and to have only audio from pupil (which can also be switched on and off by the teacher), there is no access to anyone without a Glow account, and recordings are disabled.

Click on this link for a downloadable, ready to print if you choose, Teams for Education Quick Guide from Microsoft Support which has a section specifically on using setting up and managing a video meet with your class. Note that this is not specific to Glow so currently video meetings permit only the teacher to broadcast video and to have only audio from pupil (which can also be switched on and off by the teacher), there is no access to anyone without a Glow account, and recordings are disabled.

Click on this link which links to some quick tips from educator Alice Keeler about using video meet in Microsoft Teams


Microsoft Teams Education: How to manage video meetings like a pro
– very helpful guide by Matt Miller with lots of tips presented in visual step-by-step posters.

 

Primary Class Starting with Microsoft Teams? Now what?⤴

from @ Digital Learning & Teaching in Falkirk Schools

So you have just started using Microsoft Teams with your primary school class – now what?

Microsoft Teams can be described as an all-in-one Swiss-Army-Knife online digital tool – with facility for classroom conversations, shared space for collaborative Word documents, PowerPoint presentations, Excel spreadsheets, assignments tool for easily setting tasks for individuals, groups or the whole class (and providing feedback) and OneNote Class Notebook multi-purpose digital ring-binder, all made more accessible to all learners with Immersive Reader Learning Tools.

That might make it sound overwhelming for your class, so…

Start small – make connections

Don’t try and do everything at once! Microsoft Teams provides many features which can be used with your class but you don’t need to use them all right away. The Posts/Conversation area of a class Team is the first part users will see when they log into Teams, whether via browser, desktop app on computer/laptop, or mobile device smartphone/tablet. So this is the place suggested to start.

In the Posts tab you can share text, images or video.

So you can share information with your class either as:

🆒 Text (and where pupils can use Immersive Reader in the browser to read it aloud (pupils just click on the 3 dots to the right of the message and choose “Immersive Reader”);

🔗Add a link to a web resource you wish the pupils to use;

🎴 Share a picture of a visual diagram of the tasks (as you might do in your classroom) – just click on the paperclip icon to upload a picture;

🎞 You might create a short video with your voice (so it’s familiar to your pupils) and the camera pointing at a piece of paper on which you are writing, or a book, picture or object such as classroom toy.

Set up channels in your class Team

When you first create a Team for your class you will automatically get a channel called the general channel. By default everyone in your class will be able to post there. And at the beginning that might be okay as everyone starts to use it.

However often you might find that you want to provide another channel within the Team for general chit-chat for the pupils and you as the teacher change the settings so that the main general channel can only have content added by you. So once you’ve set up additional channels then go into the Team settings and switch off the facility for pupils to be able to post there so that only you can post in the general channel.

You can set up channels for different areas of learning, perhaps by curricular area or for a specific topic or a group. This can help keep conversations related to each area in their respective spaces and not all jumbled together.

It’s suggested to create a channel for your class to have friendly chat so that the general channel does not get cluttered there (telling them that’s what it’s for but that you can still see it). And then restricting them from posting in the general channel. As a member of staff in a class in Microsoft Teams you are a Team Owner

Here’s how you can add an additional channel for class chat where pupils can post.

  1. Go to the list (or tiles) showing all of your teams in Microsoft Teams
  2. Click on the 3 dots (ellipsis) … to the right of the team name
  3. Click “Manage channels”
  4. Click “Add a new channel” (and name it something like Class Chat or Blether Station) and click done.

Primary teacher Roddy Graham shared his ideas for how he’d structured his class in Microsoft Teams so that there were a number of specific channels set up for specific purposes. Choosing the channels to have for your class depends on you and your class so getting the balance between too few and too many is something which only you and your experience with your class can determine. As Roddy Graham explained “Too few mean people aren’t sure whether to post something or not, or it can get too clogged up with random things. With children using these, it may take time to work successfully but here’s some channels I’m setting up for my pupils to use and why.” Here’s Roddy Graham’s channels for his class, along with the explanations for the purpose of each:

📖 The Library – a place to talk about books being read at home and share any related learning they do.
🏀 The Gym Hall – a place to share any physical activity they do, including home fitness or games.
❓ Ask the Teacher – a place to ask non-learning related questions, possibly things that are worrying them and they need a bit of reassurance.
📸 #NoFilter – a place to share photos of how they are spending their days so their classmates can view
📺 Taskmaster – inspired by the TV show so a place to share a fun challenge/daily task for class to tackle
🔤 Literacy and Maths Tool Boxes – a place to share support resources for tasks set – websites, videos, documents
👦👧 The Playground – a place where the class can chat about anything they like, just as they would in their school playground. The teacher can keep track of everything pupils type (and they are told this)

You may add additional channels as works for your class, perhaps for curricular areas, perhaps having one for pupils to offer support or share knowledge to other pupils (as teacher Carol Diamond called her channel “Tiny Teacher Talk – where they can ask each other how to do things/for hints/tips or share their knowledge about something which is their strength), or maybe a Weekly Reflections or Time Capsule Thoughts channel where pupils might share about their experiences during distance learning over the previous week,; or maybe a Fun Foto Friday, Talent Show or anything else which fits in with building the culture of your classroom community.

 

Here’s how you can restrict who can post to the General channel like this:

  1. Click on the 3 dots (ellipsis) … next to General channel
  2. Select “Manage channel” from the menu
  3. Click on “Only owners can post messages” – now only you (or other colleagues if you’ve added them as owners) will be able to post on your General channel of the team.

Once you have your channels set up you can create an announcement in the General channel of your Microsoft Teams class and add a table. Into the table add links to each of the channels (to get the link just click on the three dots beside each channel name and copy the link provided. Then go back to the text in your table, highlight the text and click on the link icon to paste the link you copied.

 

Making use of Emojis

Whether it’s naming your channels in your class in Microsoft Teams, or when sharing information or activities in posts/conversations/announcements in your class in Microsoft Teams, or in names of sections and pages in your OneNote Class Notebook attached to your Microsoft Teams class then the addition of the visual cue of an appropriate emoji makes the text  easier to identify in a list and also makes it more classroom friendly.

Click here for a blogpost about the use of emojis to support education – this contains lots of information about how these can support learning, as well as lots of examples of where they have been used. And if you’re wondering how you’d find just the emoji you need then that blogpost also contains a link to Emojipedia where you can type the word you want and a suggested emoji will be shown ready for you to copy and paste where needed.

Manage the settings of your class team

Once you’ve created your class space in Microsoft Teams it would be a good idea to manage the settings so that you can make choices about what you want your pupils to be able to do in your Team.

The choices are yours as you know your class best. Your level of familiarity with the tools available might make you decide to restrict what can be done by pupils at the outset and then enable features as you and your class become familiar with them. Or you might take the opposite view and leave everything enabled and only restrict an individual feature until you’ve had a conversation with the class about it, and responsible use. So you might want to disable the facility for pupils to share stickers, memes and animated gifs (you can switch them off and on at any time), you can make sure that pupils can’t add or delete channels, and you can ensure that pupils can only edit or delete their own posts in the posts/conversations. Teams manage members settings allows a teacher at any time to mute pupils, individually or collectively, to stop postings being able to be made temporarily for any reason.

Click on this link for a quick video by Mike Tholfsen showing how to manage the settings for your class

Facility to mute activity in posts at weekends or holidays

Microsoft Teams has the facility for teachers to mute either a whole class or individual pupils from commenting in the conversation/posts channels in a Team. This can be useful at weekends or holiday times, or out of school hours, and is entirely at the discretion of the teacher for their class Team. Here’s a how-to guide:

Click here for a guide to how to mute pupil comments in a class in Teams

Share your class expectations

Just as you would with a class in a face-to-face classroom setting, share the expected behaviours you would all wish for your class.

Click here for a lovely infographic poster by Lucy Lock which sets out clear but positive messages for sharing with learners when using Microsoft Teams as a shared online classroom space

If you have older children, and you are looking for your class to co-create their own set of positive online expectations, then you might find helpful this School of Education Netiquette Guidelines from Chicago’s Loyola University as the starting point for a discussion to make the positive expectations explained within them re-interpreted in child-friendly language, making them specific to your class use of Microsoft Teams, and perhaps with associated visuals created by your pupils.

Everyday Etiquette for Microsoft Teams – a detailed guide, by Matt Wade and Chris Webb, to setting expectations around managing the use of Microsoft Teams with users. This is not aimed at primary school use of Microsoft Teams (and some of the features such as private chat and video camera use in video meets don’t apply to the configuration in Glow) but may be helpful as prompts for a teacher to perhaps have pupils come up with their own class-friendly versions, dependent on their age and experience and how it’s wanted to be in their class.

Check-ins

So you may wish to have a way of having a check-in with your pupils, to find out how they are, to show they have connected in your online class in Microsoft Teams. You can make use of a Microsoft Forms check-in form which pupils can complete when they come into your class in Microsoft Teams – and as well as asking how they are (with responses which might be by clicking beside an appropriate choice of emoji face) you can perhaps incorporate a bit of fun, and involvement so that pupils look forward to completing it each time, by having a different light-hearted question each time. The less predictable and funnier the questions the more likely your pupils might be to look forward to completing it. And because it would be a form within Microsoft Teams it means it already keeps a note of who responded (without pupils having to type their name) for the teacher to be able to access in Microsoft Forms. Click here for a ready-made template in Microsoft Forms (on the Microsoft Education Support site) ready for you to click on “Duplicate” button and adapt your your own needs.

 

Building engagement

Teachers in their classrooms have always found ways to engage their learners, to ensure every voice is heard, to coax the reluctant participant, to check understanding, to provide opportunities for collaboration, to create the environment for every learner to demonstrate their understanding, to move learners forward and build on previous experiences.

An online environment doesn’t change these principles, but instead requires adapting different approaches using available digital tools.

Consider encouraging the positive use of praise stickers (a teacher can control through manage settings options whether these are enabled or disabled for pupils in their Microsoft Teams class) – they can be used from the posts/conversations by clicking on the Sticker icon below where you’d type a message. These can be handy to provide a more visual way of providing positive feedback without having to type – click here for a guide to how to use these, whether on mobile or desktop/laptop

Making use of Memes or animated gifs can provide another means of keeping the fun in learning when done from a distance. These can have text added – simply click on the gif icon under where you’d type a message in conversations/posts and use the search box to find what you are looking for , and add text if needed. Click here for a guide on the Microsoft Teams support site showing how to make use of gifs in conversations/posts in Microsoft Teams. If you wish to find out more about the use of animated gifs or memes to support learning then click on this post “Making memes and animated gifs for learning.”

 

20 Ways to Facilitate Online Class Participation – a post by Halden Ingwersen with 20 suggested tips which apply to any online digital platform and can be adapted for different age groups has been used as a starting point for the approach below. Some things may not apply for specific tools or age groups, but the general advice in Halden Ingwersen’s post remains consistent for when using Microsoft Teams with your primary class:

  • Be clear in what you expect from your class online;
  • Become familiar with Microsoft Teams as your class digital learning platform (you don’t need to know about every feature, but make the most of what you use and try to experience from the learner viewpoint);
  • Provide online spaces within Microsoft Teams for group work (that might be use of channels in Microsoft Teams where focus on specific pieces of work with groups of learners take place, or it might be a collaborative PowerPoint presentation or Word document in Teams files, or a multimedia page in the collaboration spade within the OneNote Class Notebook integrated in your Microsoft Teams class, or at its simplest it might just be using the posts/conversations ensuring the starting point for each conversation group is followed by replies to their group’s task rather than a new conversation);
  • Share your plan with your class, which might be co-created with your learners or an outline you present of new learning which is going to be covered;
  • Make sure it’s easy for learners to find their tasks – aim to be consistent as to where learners can expect to find your plan for what’s expected, and provide links or clear steps to find something new.
  • Provide feedback in conversations/posts – in Microsoft Teams conversations within posts respond with encouragement as you would if you were face to face in the classroom, helping build the reassurance of your learners that you are listening to what they are saying – in the text-based nature of the posts/conversations there is no opportunity for a nod or a smile, but you can encourage through the use of thumbs-up to quickly acknowledge responses
  • Ask questions of different types to suit your purpose – the conversations/posts part of Microsoft Teams lets you ask very short real-time polling multiple-choice questions right within the conversation – click here for how to add a poll in posts in Microsoft Teams. These short-poll type questions give everyone the results right away and are visible to all in the class Team. Alternatively you can have a whole range of different question types (whether survey or for assessment for learning) using Microsoft Forms – these Forms, whether surveys or assessments, can be shared as a link within conversations/posts (but only you as the teacher sees the results) or shared using the assignment feature of Microsoft Forms.

Accessibility and Inclusion

Microsoft Teams has built into it the accessibility tool Immersive Reader Learning Tools. To access in conversations/posts a pupil simply clicks on the three dots … (ellipsis) to the right of any message in the conversations/posts in Microsoft Teams then selects “Immersive Reader.” This will let the user then hear the text played as spoken audio while the individual words are simultaneously highlighted in turn as they are spoken aloud. The pupil can change the background colour to help make it more easily distinguishable to suit the pupil (which only that individual will see, no settings here affect other users) and change the size of text, font, and spacing out of letters on the page. You can even break words into syllables and highlight in different colours nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs (all automatically). And you can switch on picture dictionary which will let a user click on any unfamiliar word and show a Boardmaker image (where available) and hear that word spoken aloud. For pupils where English is not their first language they can also use the inbuilt translate feature to translate individual words or the whole text of any message in conversations/posts in Microsoft Teams.

Connectivity woes or technical hiccups!

Every online platform hiccups from time to time: you might get error messages, things don’t update, you can’t upload files, you can’t share what you need to share – and you can probably add to that list!

Click on this link on the Connected Falkirk site for advice at times of network pinch for solutions specifically when using Microsoft Teams, or OneNote Class Notebook

Want to present to your class?

Teams provides the facility for you as the teacher to present to your class. Don’t feel under pressure to use this video meet facility right away. And take on board safeguarding and employer requirements in use of such a tool, as well as being mindful of your professional teaching association advice. If this is for you, and you want your pupils to have the familiarity of seeing you and hearing your voice then click on this link for specific step-by-step guidance to setting up a video meet in Teams for your class. If you wish to have only your voice in the video meet then you might instead opt to have the camera pointing at an object (piece of work, paper on which you’ll demonstrate a teaching point, or maybe a piece of writing you’ll discussing together, or perhaps a class toy/character figure!

Click on this link for a page on the Connected Falkirk site specifically about using video meet in Microsoft Teams in Glow

Collaborative documents

The files area within a Microsoft Teams class lets pupils within that class work collaboratively (whether real-time or asynchronously). As you would with a face-to-face class the teacher sets the expectations and roles of different groups within a class so that each pupil knows who will work on which document and with whom. No setting changes or permissions need to be made. Everything saves automatically. Pupils can create collaborative real-time PowerPoint presentations, or Word documents, or Excel spreadsheets. They can be uploaded from a device or just click “new” to start one right away in the Files folder/tab in your Microsoft Teams tab. Click on this link for a how-to guide about using Office 365 to create a collaborative Word document in Glow – this is the same process in Microsoft Teams just by clicking on the Files tab in your Microsoft Teams class, with the benefit that the permissions are already set to let anyone in the class collaborate with no need to specify usernames. Click on this link for a guide to creating a collaborative PowerPoint Online and click on this link for guide to creating a collaborative Excel Online spreadsheet. This is the same process in Microsoft Teams just by clicking on the Files tab in your Microsoft Teams class, with the benefit that the permissions are already set to let anyone in the class collaborate with no need to specify usernames

Assignments

Microsoft Teams includes the option to assign pupils activities, whether tasks for completion by specific dates or to assess understanding of individuals. This can be used to share assessments or quizzes, or share documents to a whole class in such a way that each pupil receives a copy ready for them to edit and submit on completion back to the teacher for feedback, without the rest of the class seeing it. Click here for a guide to making use of the assignments feature of Microsoft Teams.

OneNote Class Notebook

OneNote Class Notebook is built into Microsoft Teams. OneNote Class Notebook is like a digital ring-binder with cardboard colour dividers, and within each section you can have as many pages as you like. Each page is a freeform page which can be any size you wish, and become like your classroom whiteboard, where you can add a very wide range of content (including images, audio, video, documents, presentations, embedded Sway presentations, embedded Forms, and you can freehand draw or write just as you would on your classroom whiteboard. It all saves automatically and is accessible on any device so you can move from working on your smartphone on the OneNote app to working in the browser on a laptop (and other devices).

A OneNote Note Class Notebook already comes with the permissions for your pupils to access and collaborate on anything in the collaboration space, so you’ve no setting or permissions to worry about if you wish a group of pupils to work on something together, just create the page and tell them who’s working on it. In addition to these collaboration spaces a OneNote Class Notebook also has a section which the pupils can see, but on which only the teacher can add or edit content – handy for sharing what you might have shared on your classroom whiteboard. This is called the library space. There is also a teacher-only section which can be enabled (so you can create content ahead of time and move into the library when you wish pupils to make use of it. And the OneNote Class Notebook within Microsoft Teams also has individual sections for each pupil – which only you as teacher can see and that individual pupil (other pupils can’t see anyone else’s sections).

And if that wasn’t enough, OneNote Class Notebook built into a Microsoft Teams class also has Immersive Reader Learning Tools built in providing accessibility options for all learners.

Click on this link for more about OneNote Class Notebook inside Microsoft Teams on this site

Microsoft Forms for assessment or surveys

Gathering feedback, taking quizzes to reinforce learning, or undertaking surveys of views are all the kinds of classroom activities which are ideally suited to the use of Microsoft Forms. Microsoft Forms are built right into Microsoft Teams, either in short-form quick polls with few questions added right inside posts/conversations in Microsoft Teams, or assessments or surveys as simple or as complex as you like created in Microsoft Forms and a link shared in conversations/posts in Microsoft Teams, or assigned to the class using the Assignments feature of Microsoft Teams. Whichever way Forms are assigned to the pupils the teacher then can see the results in one place, and can even be set up to be self-marking or to provide automated feedback depending on answers provided by pupils (using the branching feature of Microsoft Forms. Click here to find out more about Microsoft Forms