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 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.
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.
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:
“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
A new episode of The Wired Educator Podcast just went live.
Maintaining professional development activities is more important than ever to help teachers hit the five essentials needed for high-quality lessons, whether delivered remotely or in class. My latest piece for @TesScotland /@tes – https://t.co/BXvbMs5Sbf
I've assembled, with others, some help on online learning, building on what we have learned in 30+ successful years of online projects in schools & higher ed https://t.co/z5KU0UyZIr I hope you'll find it useful as we all move to more nuanced models of #llearningonline#COVID__19
Continuous learning doesn't mean reinventing the wheel or turning everything upside down. The focus should be on learning, relationship, and wellbeing. Be kind to yourself and others! Here are some tips that might help, more to follow in the coming days. pic.twitter.com/KEemmzt2Ki
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.
If you wish to create a teaching video to share with your class then where do you start?
There are a number of different ways to create a teaching video.
You don’t need lots of fancy filming equipment, specialist lighting, highly scripted text, remote microphones or
a studio set! You can just use what you have available – and be yourself. If you want to be on camera, that’s fine, but if you just want your voice over the activity you are filming then that’s perfectly fine too.
You just need something to record the video (eg phone/tablet) – & your skills and experience as a teacher (and maybe something to edit what you create).
Your choice partly depends on what you are aiming to share – what are you trying to achieve, how much information are you trying to share and in what way will you share the video with your intended audience?
Your choice partly depends on what you want the video to look like – do you want to be on camera, do you wish to include your voice, do you want it to be a video of a PowerPoint presentation (with or without narrated voice), or do you want to make use of animated characters instead of your own image?
Your choice also depends on what device and software/apps you have available to make the teaching videos, whether laptop/desktop, tablet/smartphone and software/apps you can access.
What makes an effective video?
There’s no hard and fast rule about what makes an effective teaching video. Every teacher is different and every class is different so find what works for you and your class. The age of your learners, the way you choose to share a video, whether you wish to have interactivity between shorter videos, and what you are trying to convey in the video, are all considerations to bear in mind. Being clear about what you are trying to share is the biggest consideration! Consider, instead of a long video, chunking a lot of content into perhaps a series of shorter videos each with a specific focus. And try out what you are creating on different devices to see how your learners might view the video. Is it bright enough lighting so that what you are showing is clearly seen, can the sound be clearly heard? You don’t need to make a masterpiece the first time round (or indeed at any time!) so give it a go and make changes in light of your experiences and feedback from your learners.
Camera-Ready Educators: Video As a Learning Staple – a blogpost by Paul Teske and Sarah Brown Wessling which gives food for thought for teachers looking to create a teaching video: “…teachers know it’s not the screen alone that engages students. It’s how teachers use video as part of deliberate instructional design that creates the opportunity for learning and growth. Teachers use video in various ways for various purposes, each thoughtfully constructed.” That blogpost succinctly summarises and provides points for reflection for teachers using video whether it’s for teaching new content, differentiation, scaffolding and support, or for conveying information about such things as class announcements and routines.
The experiences of others can help you make your own judgement about what will work and then you have the feedback from your own class of learners.
If you are showing something you are writing – whether that’s simple phonics, handwriting formations, numeracy processes or anything else which involves writing – then you can point your phone/tablet camera at the paper or wipe-clean whiteboard, press record on the phone/tablet camera and start talking. Having your phone/tablet affixed to a tripod, a home-made stand or propped up so it won’t move is probably wise!
Keeping your video short is beneficial both for your own sake in not having to redo or edit a long video in which you wish to make a change, but also it’s helpful for sharing online somewhere to have smaller videos as they upload more quickly. If you are sharing on Twitter there is also a restriction on the length which will upload, but if sharing on your classroom digital platform you can add accompanying explanatory text, and perhaps have a sequence of short videos (each labelled with identifying text) so that pupils can more easily watch the parts as often as necessary for what they are doing.
Here’s example of videos shared by teachers where the camera is pointed at the writing area, and with the teacher voice added as narration, or using a class toy or puppet to provide the on-screen persona:
We are practising the parts of the body this week.
1. Practise the words 2. Draw a real or made up person with lots of detail if you can. 3. Label the parts on them in Spanish. 4. Keep your drawing safe, you’ll need it again. pic.twitter.com/ur3Rf1Dvbf
The likelihood is that the device you have to hand for taking videos is your smartphone or mobile tablet, a device such as an iPad. And that’s perfectly fine for taking video to share with your learners.
Whatever app you are running on an iPad then you can create a teaching video where you record whatever is on the iPad screen, where you can if you wish, add your voice-over to explain what your learners are seeing.
Do you want to appear on camera beside your screen recording on an iPad? Then here’s how you can use split screen to record yourself on the iPad camera while recording activity on the iPad
Want a video of yourself teaching alongside your lesson visuals? Use Split View alongside Screen Recording on an iPad. Quick and easy way to create lessons with a more personalised touch – pupils see you as well as your content. Give it a try and let me know how you get on! pic.twitter.com/6KejVHX2B0
If you have the latest version of PowerPoint then you have the facility to capture a video recording of whatever is on your PC/laptop – whether that’s the PowerPoint presentation or indeed anything on the PC which you wish to show to include in the video.
NEW! I've created a new "Video and Screen Recording Tools" YouTube playlist chock full of quick tip videos
PowerPoint has the option to create a video from your presentation. Just open the PowerPoint presentation and go to File > Export > Save as Video. This will incorporate all that you’ve included in timings, narration, animations, media, and transitions.
If you wish to include yourself (or something else) in a video where the background is of something else, the subject of your video, then using the greenscreen facility available with some tools can let you, for instance, appear talking in front of a video of whatever you are teaching about.
I’m trying out different methods such as using green screens for teaching and learning when we are not able to teach as normal in classrooms. Here is part of a video I have created which will hopefully keep the Higher pupils more engaged with learning @HwbSt@StMungosFalkirkpic.twitter.com/sd3blAq1uM
The online tool unscreen.com provides the means to remove the background automatically from a video so that you can combine with another image or video and quickly create a greenscreen effect, without the need for any other equipment.
Stop-motion animation videos can be useful to illustrate a teaching point where you have a series of still images. This can be useful where live action of a sequence of events is difficult to capture on video, or may take too long, or where you only have access to still images. You can create a sequence of still images using presentation software like PowerPoint (and export as a video to create the illusion of animation/movement) or drop them into video editing software/app such as iMovie on an iPad. Or you can use stop-motion software/app such as the iPad app Stikbot.
How did you get on with the maths task yesterday? Can you measure a short distance and try to work out the speed of a toy car or paper aeroplane, time how long it takes to travel that distance and calculate the speed. Here’s an example my kids helped me make #antomathspic.twitter.com/w5T4AT0c61
There’s a host of video editing tools available. Chance are the device you have available has likely got something already there ready for you to use.
For Windows laptops/PCs then built into Windows 10 devices you will find Video editor (which replaced Windows Movie Maker, with which many teacher may already be familiar, from previous versions of Windows).
Did you know that there is a free video editing tool built right into Windows 10? Click the start button and type "Video Editor"
Great for creativity during #remotelearning. Think of it as "NextGen Movie Maker"
Apple Clips is a neat free video-creation app for iPad or iPhone. It lets you quickly combine text, music, graphics, recorded voice, images, and animations to create videos with ease. So if you are trying to find a way to explain a topic or a teaching point then you might find Apple Clips a handy way to create a visually engaging video. The inclusion of inbuilt graphics such as arrows, finger pointers and many more adaptable images make this really easy to highlight parts of photographs or video clips with explanatory text or spoken voice.
Sharing your video
You have many choices when deciding how to share you video. What platforms you have available to you for your school may determine the choice you make.
The following are just some of the ways you might share your video creations:
Using a school YouTube account – this option will let you share the link to the video in different places as well as provide an option to embed elsewhere such as a website or Sway. Depending on who you want to be able to access the video you can choose to have the video “unlisted” – that means only those who have the link can access it. It won’t be searchable and won’t appear on the list of videos on the YouTube channel.
Upload to your Microsoft OneDrive (available to all Glow users) and at the share option choose either to make it “share with anyone” (which means anyone with the link will be able to access and will not require to log into anything – and you can optionally choose to set a password and decide to block download) or you can choose “only my organisation” (which for Glow users means in order to access the link the viewer would require to log into Glow) – ensuring the share link is set to view-only, not edit.
Upload to Microsoft Sway (add a media card in a Sway and choose the video option and you can upload the video) – at the share option in your Sway you can choose to have it available to be viewed by anyone with the link, or only the organisation (Glow) and optionally add password if you wish. Having your video added to a Sway means you then also have the option to add text about the video and to add pictures related to it.
Upload to files in Microsoft Teams for your class or group – sometimes uploading larger files can be faster if you go to Files in your class in Microsoft Teams and then at the top right choose “Open in Sharepoint” then navigate to the folder “Class materials” which is read-only so that your class can view but not inadvertently remove the file.