Tag Archives: remote learning

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.

Delivering Music Instruction Remotely – North Ayrshire Music Service⤴

from @ MIE Scotland

I am Rosslyn Lee and I am the Digital Skills Coordinator for North Ayrshire Education.  Part of my job is to support staff and pupils in our schools with all aspects of digital learning and teaching.  I became a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert in 2017 as I recognised the value to my professional learning as well as my training role.  Completing courses on the MEC is a great way of keeping up to date with O365  developments as well as providing me with opportunities for professional learning, not available elsewhere.

 

The North Ayrshire Music Service consisting of 23 peripatetic instructors has been and continues to be very successful in delivering music instruction across the authority.  North Ayrshire young musicians regularly achieve great success at the Ayrshire Music Festival as soloists and ensembles.  There are two authority ensembles who take part in the annual National Concert Band Festival, again achieving success within Scotland as well as at the national finals.

The Music Service has used a phone app for several years to distribute information to pupils and all staff have their own laptop to digitally record pupil achievements.  Microsoft Office365 through Glow is the platform that the Music Service utilise.   Use has also been made of a staff Sharepoint site for a number of years.  This is maintained by the Music Service Admin Officer.   However, the current COVID-19 crisis has had a huge impact on the delivery of their service.

As a forward-thinking service, Ronan Watson, the Music Service Manager started to look at how instruction could be delivered remotely.  I worked with Ronan to help develop their use of Microsoft Teams, a blog, a Sharepoint site and a You Tube Channel.  Two of our instructors recently achieved Certified MIE status as they see the value in this type of professional learning which will help support their work now and in the future.

 

 

MUSIC SERVICE BLOG

The blog is public facing and serves to provide information about the Music Service to parents.

SHAREPOINT SITE

The Sharepoint site was set up to give primary pupils access to resources and to allow staff to communicate with them about their tasks.  The site contains a document library for each school with folders for each instructor who works with that school.  These folders contain uploads of music, links to the Music Service videos on You Tube and soundtracks as well as records of work for pupils in the school.

YOU TUBE CHANNEL

The You Tube Channel was set up as unlisted to allow the instructors to upload videos of themselves demonstrating instrumental techniques to pupils.  As neither Stream or video conferencing with pupils is possible using Teams in Glow,  a solution was required to provide some visual instruction and it was felt that You Tube was the easiest option to share these videos.

VSCENE

Several months before lockdown, I was asked to look at Vscene, video conferencing software from Ajenta,  as a way of delivering Advanced Higher subjects and also to facilitate lessons to Arran High School, our island school who have challenges around staffing as well as access for staff.  Indeed, in January this year the ferry service was severely disrupted for most of the month. Vscene seemed to be an ideal solution for us.

Due to COVID-19, I decided to trial Vscene with the Music Service and they are piloting it until the end of June to assess its suitability.  It is highly likely that music tuition will continue to be delivered virtually to pupils, whether in school or at home,  for some time yet as schools attempt to keep numbers in their buildings to a minimum to comply with social distancing rules.

 

TEAMS

A few of the staff also use Teams to communicate with pupils.  Here pupils can find files of music they require as well as upload their own practise audio files.

One of the instructors, Fiona Ramsay,  has created three Teams for her clusters and communicates with her pupils by posting announcements regularly.  None of her pupils had ever used Teams before lockdown and it has taken time to persuade some of them to engage, however she is making progress and they are now posting questions as well as uploading  their work.

Fiona also makes up Microsoft Form quizzes for the pupils and has a channel to support pupils using Teams.  The ‘Ask Mrs Ramsay’ channel avoids the general channel from becoming cluttered.

Feeling that pupils were becoming more comfortable with Teams, Fiona recently started to use OneNote.  Pupils sections include their Practise Diary where they can upload their audio files and receive feedback privately.

 

Remotely delivering a practical subject like music has its challenges. However, the North Ayrshire Music Service has risen to these challenges and is striving to maintain its delivery of music lessons to pupils to as high a standard as possible.  These methods will never permanently replace face to face tuition but serve to deliver music instruction to our pupils in the best way possible, given the current circumstances.

 

 

 

 

Growth Mindset for Experienced Teachers⤴

from @ MIE Scotland

 

Hi I am Mandy Davidson Acting Principal Teacher Curriculum Support (Wider Achievement) RME/RMPS/Care  at Lenzie Academy.

I came to be a Microsoft Expert because it was the easiest way to find out how the limited technology I had could be put to the best use.  Nobody around seemed to know the answers to my questions or to even know a person who might. Discovering the MEC and meeting individuals like Malcolm Wilson (@claganach) and Sarah Clark (sfm36)  and Ian Stuart (IanStuart66) helped me see what could be done if I kept trying. My first sway for the MIEE application focussed more on what I hoped to do than what I had already achieved. I was amazed when I was given the place on the roll of honour!  The more I’ve talked about my role as an MIEE, the more I have realised that there is a barrier between many of my peers engaging with this massive CPD opportunity and ironically it is not ” time” that none of us have had prior to lockdown. The barrier is recognised by many departments in my school and no doubt schools around the country, who display posters detailing the different approach between having a fixed mindset and having a growth mindset. Yet the very teachers who encourage their pupils to” prepare to fail ” as a learning opportunity, to accept they are always learning and quote the line “it is not I can’t but I can’t yet”, will shake their heads when I suggest that they too can become a Microsoft Expert. I always say I use a computer like a drive a car; I can do the basics and familiarity makes it easier, but I’m no mechanic!

The more experienced we become as a teacher, the more comfortable we become with our areas of expertise and the more concerned we are about what we don’t know. In some subjects where the content changes little over the years, the comfort and the fear may be even more of a contrast . The perception that the students around us need to know that we are the experts, in order to accept our delivery of lessons, fuels the fear that we cannot experiment with new platforms in case it all goes wrong. Looking at the fixed mindset image above ask your self honestly how many of the fixed mindset phrases have you used when discussing using technology to teach?

Growth mindset vs fixed mindset
how the different mindsets work.

Lockdown has forced many teachers to turn to technology in order to continue to provide education remotely. The opportunities created by using Teams, Forms, Sway and PowerPoint with narration have been publicised and many teachers are now engaging with them. Countless organisations are offering advice, how to videos and it can all be overwhelming for someone with a fixed mindset who has hitherto been very comfortable with their individual face to face approach to teaching.

So my advice as a Microsoft Innovator Education Expert is quite simple. Use the MEC tile that already exists in Glow. If you cannot find it on your launchpad then add it from your apps library. Then explore and develop your own growth mindset! Start from an area with which you are familiar, it could be Teams or other Office 365 tools and watch the videos and complete the quizzes.

Microsoft Education Community
The bridge to all new ICT learning

They really are not scary and although you have to gain 80% to pass, there are resit opportunities so what do you have to lose!

Once you pass some quizzes you will gain badges in your personal profile.

Each badge is worth a number of points and all can be used as part of  your CPD evidence for GTCs

Microsoft badges

Some badges also come with certificates whilst others are part of learning paths and the certificate is awarded at the end of a significant amount of work. Each certificate details the time spent on acquiring them.

 

Engaging pupils                                                                                                                                                                                                   Collecting badges can become addictive once you realise that, just spending a little bit of time working through the video tutorials, can save you hours of time in creating and distributing quality learning opportunities.  Before you know it you will have acquired 1000 points and you become recognised as a Microsoft Innovative Educator and you join a fast paced growth mindset community from where your learning will really take off!
Microsoft Innovator Educator

Certified MIE bade The MIE Community In Scotland exists in the virtual world so even if there is nobody at your school that has any expertise in using Microsoft tools, you can gain support at the click of a mouse, from teachers just like you, who have learned the short cuts and possibilities available through Glow and are willing to share.  Twitter is the platform outside of glow where you can gain insight into how you can stretch your understanding, as most of us have twitter accounts and there are regular tweetmeets for #MicrosoftEduChat  #TeamMIEEScotland and #MSFtCelt ( team Scotland together with the Welsh team). What makes us experts is not that we know the answers but we are not afraid to ask the questions – how do you do that? Is that on glow too? Can I have a copy?

https://twitter.com/MrsTEHS/status/1261024735325851649?s=20

So as an experienced RME teacher what are my favourite tools for teaching and learning? Microsoft Teams is key as you can literally teach an entire course through a class team. I facilitate a Religion Beliefs and Values remote learning Team, as with the minimal support required for the Level 5 award the pupils who have opted into this team just work their way through their investigation and reflection. The fact pupils can literally complete all work on their phone helps to engage many of them more than a jotter and a text book. Forms to gain pupil voice or quizzes for formative learning are quick and effective and last of all my love of Sway with the ability to include so much information in an accessible format where readers can focus on what they need to learn. With these tools I have increased my engagement with pupils that I only used to  physically see once a week and for whom the instant and personalised feedback encouraged greater participation and deeper reflection. Now I am shielding physically away from my  closed classroom,  this interaction has continued and the record of all interactions are now documented in the new Insights tab.

As the PT of Wider Achievement I can facilitate a number of Youth Achievement Awards via Teams and together with our school Youth worker Caroline Shirreffs we are currently supporting senior pupils creating their Personal Development plans for their Platinum Award. Being able to have online meetings has actually given us more time than we would have managed to gain in school as these pupils have such busy lives! My YPi teams who collaborate via Teams chat and create group presentations show the scope is as limited as the learner’s imagination.

You may have thought you did not have time to learn about all these tools but the time it saves makes up for the investment. You just need to be a bit braver and click on the MEC tile. A whole new world of opportunities await!

Find me on Twitter  @AllM14891126

 

 

 

Microsoft Teams In A P6 Classroom.⤴

from @ MIE Scotland

I have learned a lot of digital skills since becoming a MIEExpert in 2016, however I had not had the opportunity to explore Microsoft Teams fully with a class. When we found out that pupils would be learning from home I refreshed my memory of Teams by using the courses on the Microsoft Educator Community. I then took some time to explore using Teams and thought about how I could make it suit the needs of my pupils in a way that was organised and manageable for me.

Class Information Post
Example Of A Class Information Post

Daily Information

I have taken an asynchronous approach to teaching and learning since many families have limited access to devices. Every day I post a class information document in the General channel; this includes the date and a visual timetable, using the same visuals that we have in the classroom. In the class information document I post links to the relevant curricular area channels that the children need to access for their learning for the day.

Use of Channels

Class Channels

I have found that having a separate channel for each curricular area has helped to keep classwork well organised, benefiting both myself and the pupils. When I post daily work I make an announcement in the relevant curricular area channel with the date and attach the relevant documents. This means that pupils can easily look back in the channel if they have missed any work on a certain day.

Initially pupils were having difficulty with accessing PowerPoints so I have switched to uploading PDFs. This has helped the class to easily access the work on the different devices that they use.

Example Work Announcment

Pupil Permissions

The pupils do not have permission to comment or post in the curricular area channels as I felt like their comments would result in the work I was posting getting lost. I still wanted them to have somewhere to socialise with each other and so set up “things to do when you are bored” and “random chat” channels. The pupils can all post and comment on these channels and it has given then a way to share fun ideas with their peers. The pupils can also post in the “questions about work” channel if they need some support. I have found that having this channel ensures that I do not miss any questions from pupils.

Submitting Work

When in school my class use Seesaw to share their learning with their parents/carers. As the pupils and families are familiar with this I decided to carry on using this while schools are closed. Pupils have a home learning code which allows them to post their work directly to me. I can then mark their work and store it in their online journals for each curricular area. Some pupils have opted to post their work to me on Teams and do so using the “submit your work here please” channel. I then transfer their work to Seesaw. Due to the class being used to using Seesaw I have not explored using the assignments feature on Teams, however this is something I would like to use in the future.

Class Calls

Every Wednesday we have a class call on Teams. During this time pupils have time to chat to one another and then we do a class quiz using either Kahoot or Quizziz. When using Kahoot I share my screen in the Teams call so that pupils can see the questions and answer them on their device. If we use Quizziz I share my screen so that the pupils can see the live leader board during the game. The class have really enjoyed these calls as it gives them time to hear the voices of their peers and take part in an activity in a similar way to what we would do in school. It has been lovely to hear their voices and laughter during the calls. I feel like this has helped to maintain positive relationships with the class and helps the pupils to connect with one another during this difficult time.

I have found that organising my class Team in the ways described in this post have helped to keep the Team accessible and organised for everyone accessing it. After a few initial technical issues in the first week the online classroom has been running smoothly and successfully. If you would like to see examples of the work the class have been producing I have been uploading some of their work on Twitter.

Emma Hedges. Victoria Primary School, Falkirk.