Guest Post by Andrew Napier
Having a keen interest in both flipping the classroom and eLearning, I have been working on a number of projects to create Office Mixes for my students, my school community and local business. Office mix is a very straight forward tutorial and screencasting tool that can be mastered at a functional level very quickly, and its potential as a learning tool is enormous.
Flipping Student Learning
To successfully teach Biology in 2015 demands that the teacher delves into the far reaches of the course content in order to develop in their students a passion for the subject and a strong grasp of the concepts. Long gone are the days where ‘getting’ osmosis and photosynthesis was enough to succeed, and a solid understanding of biochemical processes and the interrelationships between the various themes in the course is essential. So how do you achieve this in the mere heartbeat of time that is Year 12?
I have been developing a series of 10 – 15 minute teaching modules for my students, each one covering a small section of the course, that my students will be expected to complete before they walk into my classroom each day. This gives me an opportunity to use the time in class to delve further into the concepts and spend more time assessing students’ grasp of the basics through conversation, questioning and regular assessment tasks. The module shown below is an example of one of these Office mixes, which is sent to students in the days prior to the concepts being covered in the class.
Taking around an hour to create, each module provides the students with the basic concepts and can be viewed over and over again. Office mix has the capacity for me to analyse student engagement and understanding, and analytics recording time spent on page and number of views keeps the students ‘honest’ with regards to them simply clicking through each module without actually engaging in them.
Finally, with the help of my Surface Pro 3 and pen, I am able to effectively screencast annotations that include audio. That said, I am desperately in need of a good headset microphone that will help to reduce variations in volume level and hopefully remove the sounds of birds and the garbage truck on the street outside!
Applications for Office mix extends way outside of the classroom. I am keen to develop skills in the creation of eLearning modules for workplace training, and while there are some tools out there which are being used commercially, Office mix has its place in this arena. If you look around, there are many small businesses that have not had the time, skills or foresight to develop programs for staff that guide them through necessary processes in the workplace.
Flipping Workplace Learning
I am currently developing a series of training modules for a local pet store, starting with the module below that introduces new staff to the various roles in the company and the necessary information regarding work place health and safety policies.
Office mix is an excellent tool for this, being very quick and easy to create and providing the analytics of staff engagement. Other modules in this series include; Care of Fish, Maintaining and Handling Reptiles and Processing Stock Feed Orders. These modules are handed to management of the company with their own Office mix login information that will provide them with access to the analytics. They are also able to download the PowerPoint used to create the module in order to update information as necessary.
My future with Mix
My next project is to develop two modules that support the induction of new students and new student teachers at St John’s Grammar. This will complement the process that already exists at the school, but the aim is to make incoming students and student teachers familiar with the site, important staff members and daily routines.
I feel like I have discovered fire, and spend most of my waking hours thinking up new applications for this highly versatile tool. I am still refining my skills in using Office Mix and enjoying every moment.
Guest Post by
Andrew Napier -
Andrew is a Step 11 Science and Biology teacher at St John’s Grammar School in Belair South Australia. He also holds the role of Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert. He is passionate about teaching Science and has the role of mentor to other members of the Science Department with regards to designing learning activities that incorporate 21st Century learning skills. He is currently undertaking a Masters of Education at Flinders University, with a focus on ICT in education. Andrew’s personal interest in education centers around 21st century learning design supported by innovative use of technology.