Drones are devices which fly without a pilot on board – they are remotely controlled, either manually (perhaps from a mobile smartphone or tablet) or through programmed instructions. They can be very large and heavy (often carrying cameras, with a big battery capacity to enable long range in the air), or small, lightweight and able to be carried in the hand (with very limited battery capacity and air time but more suited to indoor use in a classroom). Devices suitable for the classroom will be lightweight and cause little issue if they fall from flying. Larger outdoor devices require more risk management and an understanding of the legal requirements as to where and how they can be deployed (for UK legislation about the use of drones see https://www.caa.co.uk/Consumers/Unmanned-aircraft-and-drones/ and https://dronesafe.uk/drone-code/
What can you do with Drones in the Classroom?
Drones provide an engaging way to develop mathematical and spatial concepts in the classroom – position, distance and movement in a real 3D environment, the classroom itself. Using coding to program a drone to take off, perform pre-planned movements and land safely, requires learners to put into practice measurement of distance, angle/turn, and spatial awareness – extending skills in coding programmable floor robots in another dimension.
Drones in the English Classroom – a podcast, with a verbatim transcript, of an interview with Santha Walters and on the blog by Vicki Davis about the experiences of getting started using drones in an English language classroom to teach writing, collaboration and more. There is helpful advice about how to get started, developing understanding of safety issues when having flying devices in the classroom, how to build on enthusiasm of the learners themselves to give them greater ownership of their learning, and handy technical tips for using drones in the classroom.
Learning Takes to the Skies – a blogpost by Matthew Lynch about using drones in the classroom. This describes the different skills being which are learned when using drones in a classroom setting and gives examples of drones in different curricular areas as well as cross-curricular.
Click on this link to browse various Tweets which have been shared about uses of drones which have application in educational contexts.
So you’d need a drone (such as ones aimed at classroom use provided by companies like Parrot). And you’d need a smartphone or tablet device (such as an iPad or Android tablet) with an app (such as Tynker, Apple Swift Playgrounds or SpheroEdu) which controls the drone. Once these are connected the rest is down to what you are trying to teach – and the scenarios you wish to set up to support learning in a context. Can your learners program the drone to take off, make the outline of a square in the air and then land? Can they make different shapes in the air? Can they make the drone flip upside down? Can they go to above a specific location on the floor, hover, then move to another location before returning to precisely the same as the take-off point?
So what is a Digital Breakout or Escape Room or Cracking the Code activity anyway?
Cracking the Code to break out and escape in a classroom story scenario by solving the puzzles in a classroom activity – where learners have to solve puzzles in order to get a code for each step to reveal the next puzzle. This can be called a Digital Breakout or Digital Escape Room activity as the learners have to solve problems (which can be related to anything being studied in the classroom at the time) in order to get the code word clue which will then allow them to reveal the next puzzle to be solved, and when all puzzles are solved will the learners be deemed to have cracked the code to let them “escape” or “break out” in this story scenario created by the teacher.
Why use a digital Escape Room Breakout Room activity in your classroom?
With a digital escape room, breakout room, crack the code activity learners work at their own pace, they can collaborate if you choose that option or they can work individually. They are solving problems to gain the passcode for the next activity which provides a fun challenge element to their learning. Learners get immediate feedback in that they must correctly solve the task in each section in order to get the code which reveals their next challenge.
What can be used?
Microsoft OneNote provides a good digital tool to set up the activity since it can have multiple sections, each of which can have a passcode applied, so that instructions, clues and activities are only revealed when the passcode is entered on a digital device, whether a computer tablet or smartphone. The clues (activities requiring solving a problem to get a passcode) can be very simple or require quite a bit of problem solving on the part of the learner – the teacher creating the activity chooses how easy or how hard the activity will be to suit the class and the timescales in which the activity will take place. And of course they can relate to whichever area of the curriculum is being taught at that time. It can be used as a form of revision or consolidation or testing of understanding – the teacher setting the tasks to suit the need.
How to set up a OneNote Notebook for a Breakout or Escape Room or Cracking the Code activity
Here’s step by step guidance for teachers using OneNote through Glow
OneNote is part of Microsoft Office 365 and is available to all staff and pupils in schools in Scotland with a Glow login. Here’s how to set up your Breakout/Escape Room/Crack the Code activities using OneNote with your Glow account:
2. Click on the OneDrive tile on the RM Unify Launchpad in Glow.
3. Click “+ New” and choose “OneNote notebook” from the drop down menu
4. Give your OneNote Notebook a name and click “create”
5. The notebook you have now created will open in OneNote Online
6. On the left-hand navigation menu right-click on “Untitled Section” and choose “Rename” to give your section a name, such as “Task 1” or “Puzzle 1”.
7. Add as many sections as you will require, one for each task/puzzle, by clicking on “+ Section” at the bottom left of your screen and naming each section such as Task 2, Task 3, etc.
8. In each section there will be a page where you add a title for the page and add the text with the task/puzzle instructions. As well as simply adding text any OneNote page can, if you wish, also have pictures, links, video, or embedded content. Each section page will have a puzzle or task to solve which ends up with an answer which will be what unlocks the next section (once you’ve added the passcode protection to the section).
9. To be able to add the passcode you have to now open in the desktop version (or mobile app) of your OneNote as currently the passcode protection can’t be added in the online version (though users will be able to make use of the passcode to enter the sections, you simply can’t apply the passcode protection code in the online version). So simply click on “Open in OneNote” along the ribbon menu along the top of your OneNote Notebook (note that if this is the first time you’ve done this on a computer you may have to enter your full Glow email address and password to set up the connection between the online and desktop versions). If you have the OneNote mobile app set up on your tablet device or smartphone you will be able to apply the passcode there too. To apply the lock right-click on the section tab and choose “Password Protect This Section” (if doing this on the mobile app then simply hold for a few seconds on the section name and the option to add the lock will be displayed).
10. Add the passcode answer from the previous section for each task on each section in turn (take a note somewhere else of each passcode as there is no means to access a passcode-protected section if you forget the passcode!). Don’t put a passcode on the first section so that your pupils will be able to access that right away.
Sharing your Breakout/Escape Room/Crack the Code OneNote Notebook
1. Return to the online version of the OneNote notebook you created
2. Click “Share” in the top right corner.
3. On the “share” box which appears click on the menu arrow which appears beside “Only the people you specific will have access to edit” so that further choices appear. Then select “anyone” and make sure the box beside “Allow Editing” is not ticked (in Glow this choice will is already be unticked and appears greyed out – note also that for Glow users only staff will have this option available). Click Apply.
4. Now click on “copy link” and this will provide you with a link you can now share with your class, perhaps in an email or somewhere online where your class have access to click on the link. The automatically created link may be too long to share easily if you’re displaying it on screen for learners to copy onto their browser, so you may wish to shorten the link using a URL shortening tool such as https://bitly.com/ or https://tinyurl.com/ or http://www.glo.li/shorten.php – you may also wish to use these tools to create a QR code which can give even quicker access to a site by a user using the QR code scanner built into mobile devices.
Want to see more examples of Digital Escape Rooms using OneNote?
So if you’re not sure what you might put in your OneNote Escape Room/Breakout Room activity sections then have a look at the examples on the embedded Tweets below, or on the links below that, for inspiration. Click on the Twitter Moments link below to see examples of OneNote used by others to create a digital Escape Room, BreakOut Room or Crack the Code learning activities. Below this embedded content there are also links to examples of OneNote Breakout Room Escape Room activities.
MathsBot.com – a series of free online tools which will support a teacher in teaching mathematics. These are designed to be used in a teaching situation where a teacher is using the tools directly with learners to help explain concepts, or to provide interactive activities with a class, a group or individual learners.
There are tools to support mathematics teaching at all stages whether primary school or high school. They can be used in different ways to suit the level of understanding of the learners at any stage.
There are a number of these tools which would work particularly well in a primary classroom, perhaps used projected onto an interactive class screen and manipulated by learners under the direction of a teacher as they explore mathematical concepts together. So in the manipulatives section you’ll find a fraction wall, counters, counting stick, Cuisenaire rods, Dienes blocks, Geoboard, pentominoes, place value counters, ten frame and unit box. Then tools like Venn Diagrams can let pupils explore a whole range of different aspects whether properties of numbers (such as even/odd, 1-digit/2-digit, less-than/more-than), area of rectangles, co-ordinates. and more. The Number of the Day interactive tool can be used to display a range of random questions based on a teacher’s choice of difficulty and the range of number answers as well as difficulty level. So for quick-fire mental maths classroom activities it could be useful as a daily routine for a few minutes. Likewise there is the AfL Checkup tool which a teacher can set at whatever level of difficulty would best support and challenge learners, within choices of arithmetic, converting time units, fractions, measure, money, and more. And within each choice you can choose the aspects of these which match what is being taught and learned in the classroom at the time to consolidate and challenge learners in a fun interactive way.
There’s Manipulatives, Printables, Starter Drills, Tools, Question Generators, Puzzles and specific resources to support a maths curriculum.
This a very useful set of resources, adaptable to so many classroom situations to be used in whatever way a teacher can see will best support, challenge and motivate their learners.
ClassroomScreen.com is a free online tool which brings together a host of useful tools for the classroom into one screen display.
Choose your own background, bring up a timer, set a traffic light for any activity, choose pupils with a random name generator, add text instructions on screen, set visual noise level measure, draw on a whiteboard, have pupils click on the classroom response tool on the screen for any question you ask to display quick feedback. And if teaching another language just a quick flick and the language changes to suit. So much in one screen, and you can move the tools around, switch them on or off as needed and change the background to suit the activity.
Created by Netherlands teacher Laurens Koppers to meet his own classroom needs for such an all-in-one tool, he has included a Padlet feedback page for teachers to share how they are using the tool and to request features. It is not possible to save your screen but it is designed that it should not take more than 30 seconds to put up the screen, and gives an option to save a list of names to upload speedily any time it’s needed.
Built into Classroomscreen you can access the how-to tips and guide to how different parts work by clicking on the 3-line hamburger icon to the top left. Want to see how to have dual screen? Want to use as an exit poll for your classroom? Want to add an image in the text box? Want to use on an iPad? Just click on that hamburger icon and choose Tips and Tricks. There’s a link to a how-to introductory guide to ClassroomScreen.com in the video below:
Microsoft Teams for Education brings together in one tool (accessible either online, via desktop software or mobile device app) class conversations/discussions, file storage (with online collaborative editing or tools already familiar to teachers and learners such as Word, PowerPoint and Excel), video-conferencing, OneNote Class Notebook, assignments calendar along with a host of settings controls for teachers to manage their Class Teams space the way which works best for their class or classes.
Why would I want it for my classes?
Imagine a OneNote Class Notebook for every class with no additional setup administration – everything is controlled from the Microsoft Teams for Education team settings panel. There is a social-media-like conversations section for each class (with a range of different settings which the teacher controls to best suit what will work best for them and their class). Teachers and pupils do almost everything without leaving Teams such as setting tasks/homework as assignments or through Class Notebook – perhaps completely reducing the need for much photocopying. And nothing is lost or forgotten.
School Data Sync for automatically creating classes in Microsoft teams for Education in Glow
For schools using the data management system Seemis (as all Falkirk schools do) the classes are automatically set up as Class Teams once a school has requested School Data Sync is enabled (this can be requested by a member of a Falkirk school’s leadership team by logging into Glow and then clicking on this link). And by doing this any changes are automatically updated throughout the school year as soon as changes are made by the school to Seemis records. Click on this link for more information about School Data Sync for Glow users
Microsoft Teams for Education should save time and simplify everyday classroom organisation in sharing resources with learners, assigning and providing feedback on learner tasks, which a teacher can do from various devices and in a range of additional ways from normal, whether handwriting on OneNote, or typing feedback (with the option to use inbuilt dictation tools) or through audio or video, or using customisable sticky graphics tools. And, of course, benefits for learners also include the integration of Learning Tools and Immersive Reader in OneNote Class Notebooks bringing a range of accessibility tools to all of your learners in your class to use whatever supports them best.
Click on this link to see a video where a teacher explains on the Microsoft Educator Community how they use Microsoft Teams for Education with their class – including assigning tasks for learners and providing feedback on work completed.
Click on the video below for an introduction to getting started with Microsoft Teams for Education. This is the first of a series of videos in the playlist linked from this video – the other videos cover different aspects of using Microsoft Teams for Education
Okay, okay, so how do I start to use it?
Microsoft teams for Education is part of Microsoft Office 365 for Education so you can access it from any part of Office 365 (whether you are already in Outlook email, or OneDrive, Sway or other parts of office 365): simply click on the 9-square waffle at the top left of Office 365 and choose the Teams tile. Any Class Teams which are already set up for your school, and to which you have access, will appear in the teams navigation column. And you can add additional Teams manually (such as for groups of staff or for school clubs or groups).
You can also log in directly to the Microsoft Teams portal https://teams.microsoft.com/ – simply use your full Glow email address (which will likely be something like: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Looking for support in learning how to make use of Microsoft Teams for Education?
If you’d like an interactive way to get a feel for the main features of Microsoft Teams then there is a neat Teams Demo site at the link below. Simply add a fictitious name into the first box and then follow the prompts to see what happens when you follow the steps. This will give a good outline of the main features of Microsoft Teams (but not that this is not education specific so makes no reference to additional classroom-specific features in Microsoft Teams for Education (so, for instance, there is no mention of learner assignments or of the education-specific version of OneNote, OneNote Class Notebook which is included in Microsoft Teams for Education).
How to manage a OneNote Class Notebook created within Microsoft Teams
To manage a OneNote Class Notebook created within Microsoft Teams for Education (for instance to switch on/off collaboration space or to enable the teacher-only section) click on the three dots ellipsis … beside the team name in Microsoft Teams – click on “view team” – choose “settings” tab then “OneNote Class Notebook” and make choices as you require.
If you choose to manage aspects of a OneNote Class notebook through the management panel for OneNote you will find OneNote Class Notebooks which have been created in Microsoft Teams show up under “Co-owned notebooks”
How to manually add an additional teacher or pupil to Microsoft Team class
To manually add additional teachers (or pupils) in Microsoft teams for Education click on the 3-dots ellipsis … beside the team name – select “add members” – choose teacher tab (or student tab for pupils) and add the usernames for the members of staff or pupils you wish to add.
If you are using iPads in a classroom setting then you may find the free online Apple Teacher professional learning programme provides you with support for making more effective use of more features of iPads for learning and teaching.
Just go to https://www.apple.com/uk/education/apple-teacher/ and sign up for the Apple Teacher programme – you can use any existing Apple ID you may have already, or you can create an Apple ID from the site to get onto the Apple Teacher programme.
Once you are signed in you then have access to all of the interactive Apple Teacher Starter Guides which aim to guide you through various features of using an iPad in an educational setting. So whether you are looking for support in using iMovie, GarageBand, Keynote, Pages and Numbers, or simply basic features of iPad settings, further productivity settings, tools and features or ways to develop creativity with an iPad, all of which which you may find helpful in the classroom, these materials support you to become more confident and productive to use an iPad to support learning and teaching.
Each module within the Apple Teacher programme includes an associated interactive assessment quiz – as you pass each quiz you earn a badge to chart your progress. When you have completed all 8 assessment quizzes your achievement is recognised with you being awarded the designation of Apple Teacher, conferring on you the right to use the official Apple Teacher logo that you can share with the world!
If you use Twitter, or other social media platforms, you can follow the hashtag #AppleTeacher to share in the uses of iPads by colleagues worldwide.
Virtual Reality, or VR, provides a means to have an experience of a location or object (whether real or imaginary) through a mobile device, often viewed through a headset, in such a way that when the viewer moves around they see the virtual view moving with them. So the images are usually 360 degree images and can be in 3D so that when viewed on a mobile device within a headset with twin lenses it appears to the viewer as being as close to being there as possible. When you move forward, tilt your head, look up – it’s as if you are doing the same in the virtual reality experience.
What are the options for the classroom?
The least expensive option for using Virtual Reality in a classroom would be Google Expeditions using Google Cardboard viewers (while they can be viewed without a twin-lens 3D viewer the viewer will lose the feeling of 3D) which are held by the hand up to the eyes. More expensive options are available with a variety of VR viewer headsets (such as Microsoft HoloLens, Gear VR or Oculus Rift headsets) and accompanying sensors (often handheld) so that the experience can involve touching or interacting with objects within a VR experience – as you approach or touch something in virtual reality it will react in a way as it in real life.
Google Expeditions with Google Cardboard Viewers
Google Expeditions are virtual reality experiences designed with a classroom guided exploration in mind. The teacher downloads the choice of virtual reality location using the Google Expeditions app and starts the expedition. Then when the pupil on the same wi-fi connection starts the app on their device they will see the teacher-directed expedition awaiting them.
In Google Expeditions the teacher application provides suggestions for questions or directions to guide learners as they explore the virtual environment. The teacher can see on their mobile device app where the learners are exploring on their screens, and can make suggestions as the learners explore.
How do I use Google Expeditions with iPads or Android tablets?
The video below shows how Google Expeditions can be viewed on iPads rather than smartphones. Many school may already have iPads or Android tablets, and the Google Expeditions apps will work on these too. However the Google Cardboard viewer is designed with the size of a smartphone in mind. If you wish to use the app on an iPad or Android tablet then when running the setup at the point where you see the two images side by side there is a small icon at the top right which lets you change the twin view to single view. Having done that the view will no longer be 3D and will no longer be held up to the eyes of the viewer but simply handheld.
Where can I find Virtual Reality Experiences for my classroom?
Google Expeditions provides a superb source of Virtual Reality experiences ready to be downloaded for use on devices in the classroom.
Discovery VR provides a wide range of downloadable virtual reality experiences in an educational context. Each is available for specific devices and come with notes for use by the educator with their class to guide their learners in the exploration of the experience.
In a nutshell, it’s an online environment where a teacher can assign tasks, track who’s completed tasks with ease, or provide feedback to support learners, share in seconds OneNote pages to every individual pupil’s section which can only be seen by the teacher and that individual pupil, have peer-to-peer conversations for collaborative work between learners or for teachers to provide individualised support to learners through teacher-pupil discussions. It joins up features available in Office 365 for Education – the OneNote Class Notebook, messaging, calendar, feedback, groups and email especially for classrooms. It works via a browser, or computer or mobile app for smartphone or tablet.
Click on this link for an interactive step-by-step guide to Microsoft Classroom, what it looks like, how it works and how a teacher might use it with their learners. This interactive guide takes you through the steps combining video, audio, screenshots as well as inviting you to click on the sections to see what happens and move to the next step to find out how Microsoft Classroom works for a teacher.
Teachers and pupils in Scottish schools have access to Microsoft Classroom using their Glow login details. Just log into Glow, choose any Office 365 tile then, from any part of Office 365, just click on the 9-square waffle and choose the Classroom tile. Alternatively go to Microsoft Classroom website and use your Glow login details to log in straight from there https://classroom.microsoft.com/
The Microsoft Educator Community has an introduction to Microsoft Classroom guiding users through the features, setup and management of Microsoft Classroom. Educators are encouraged to sign up on the Microsoft Educators Community as recognition is then given for completion of a course and assessment in the form of badge and certificate https://education.microsoft.com/GetTrained/introduction-to-microsoft-classroom
When setting up the app on a mobile device it will usually ask for the Office 365 for Education – that will be the full Glow email address.
How to make use of existing OneNote Class Notebooks in Microsoft Classroom
Schools which have already been using Microsoft OneNote and have existing OneNote Class Notebooks can associate Microsoft Classroom with existing Class Notebooks. To do this ensure you have the desktop version of OneNote installed on your computer, and have added the Class Notebook Add-in. Then to associate an existing Class Notebook with a Microsoft Classroom click on > Connections > Map Class Notebooks.
Is there a feature you’d like to see in Microsoft Classroom?
Gathering feedback, taking quizzes to reinforce learning, undertaking surveys of views, signing up or registering for an activity – just some of the ways forms can be used by schools. And now there is the option to use Microsoft Forms – available as a free online tool which uses a Microsoft Office 365 account (available to all Glow users) to set up the form either by going to https://forms.office.com or, if already logged into Office 365, via the Forms tile in the office 365 navigation tiles waffle. Office Forms can be created by either learners or educators.
Forms work nicely on any smartphones, tablets or PCs. Setting up requires the creator to be logged in to Office 365 but those completing the created form can be completed by anyone without requiring any kind of logging in (if that setting is chosen by the form creator), or they can be anonymous (if that is the setting the creator of the form wishes to use), or if they wish to restrict responses to their class and to ensure their identity they can use the login details of office 365 users too (if that’s how the creator of the form wishes the form to be completed). So the form creator gets the choice to suit the purpose and audience of their form.
Feedback is immediate, real-time, to the form creator and the results can be displayed in different ways to suit the need of the form creator.
For Sway users you can embed a form created with office Forms live in a Sway presentation information can be shared about a topic being studied and a quiz included alongside the content.
Creating your form
Either go to https://forms.office.com and log in with your Office 365 account (for Scottish schools that will be your Glow account) or, if already logged into Office 365, choose the Forms tile in the office 365 navigation tiles waffle.
Click on + Newto start creating your new form (you can click on the title of any previously created form in order to edit that, and if you wish to base a new form on an existing form you can click on the … ellipsis to the right of the form title and choose copy – then you can edit the copy to create a new version.
Just click on “Untitled form” to edit the name of your form, and click on “Enter a description” to add explanatory text as you may wish to include to explain the purpose of the form and perhaps mentioning the intended audience. Then click “+Add question“
Choose the type of question.There are five types of answer formats:
multiple choice questions (where you can choose to accept only one answer or multiple responses)
free-text (and you can choose either short or long text)
ratings (you can choose number or star rating)
quiz-questions (where you can provide immediate feedback to anyone filling in the form as to whether the respondent gave the correct answer or not (click on the tick icon to indicate which answer would be the correct answer – and just click on the speech-bubble icon to add comments to any response choice, which may give encouraging comments or suggestions for what to do next in response to the answer given, or any kind of feedback you wish to display when a particular choice is chosen)
You can choose whether there can be multiple responses or only one answer accepted, you can require that specific questions have to be answered before a user can complete the form, and by clicking on the …ellipsis you can choose whether a subtitle (which could provide explanatory text for each question) is displayed, and whether you wish to shuffle the order of questions so that each time someone sees the form the questions are displayed in a random order.
Add as many further questions as you wish. You can re-order the questions by clicking on the upward or downward facing arrows above each question, and you can copy an existing question (and edit that copy), or delete an existing question.
Previewing your form
To see what the form will look like for people about to fill it in you can click on “preview” at the top navigation bar. You can see how the questions will be laid out on a computer, and you can also choose to see how it will look on a mobile device.
Sharing your form
Once the form is complete click on “Send form” – this will open a side panel with various choices. It will provide a link to share with those you wish to respond to the form. It will create a QR code for quick scanning by users using a mobile device, and it will provide html embed code if you wish to embed the form within a website page or blogpost. This screen also gives you the option to choose who will be able to fill out the form – you can choose only people within your organisation (for Scottish schools using Glow that would be Glow users only), and within that you can choose whether or not to record the names of those responding in the results, or you can choose to make the form available to anyone with the link (where no sign-in will be required for people responding to the form).
If you click on “See all settings” at the foot of this side panel you will get further choices:
Looking at the results of your form
When you wish to look at the responses to a form you have shared then simply open the form and click on the responses tab along the top of the screen. You will get an overview of the number of respondents, the average time taken to complete by respondents, and whether the form is still active or expired 9if you’d set it to have a deadline). There is also the option to download to a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet (which comes complete with auto-filter drop-downs to easily sort the information generated to suit your needs).
Steven Payne, an educator in Western Australia, shared the results of a mock use Microsoft Forms – showing the results, and the way in which they can be displayed, which the creator of the form can see once respondents have completed the survey.
Jim Federico commented in a tweet that Microsoft Forms being built into Office 365 for Education means no add-ins are required, and includes question types which auto-grade.
Kurt Söser, an educator in Austria, has provided a step-by-step guide to his experience setting up a quiz with Microsoft Forms and using it with his learners.
Vicent Gadea, an educator in Spain, described co-assessment using Microsoft Forms “1st time was complicated then was very powerful for us.”
Koen Timmers, an educator in Belgium, has described in a step-by-step guide, illustrated with screenshots, how to set up a form using Office Forms, and shared what the responses look like for a form he created.
Making use of Forms in the classroom
There is a range of online form tools available, each of which can generally be used in similar ways, so it can be helpful to look at how others have used these tools when thinking about how online forms can support classroom activity.