Last week we shone the spotlight on one of the newest Microsoft technologies, and looked at how our Expert Educators are using Sway in the classroom. There were some fantastic examples of how this new creative medium is being used to engage and inspire students on a variety of subjects. Today, we’re going to shift to the focus to another relative newcomer to the Microsoft party, and that is Office Mix.
While PowerPoint may be officially celebrating its 25th (yes, twenty-fifth!) birthday this year, Office Mix is a powerful new add-on that can give your presentations superpowers and reaffirm this ‘mature’ tool as still being at the cutting edge of technology in education. Whether you want to record audio and video directly into your slides, include interactive quizzes in your presentations, or just generally ‘pimp your slide’, Office Mix is a fantastic tool for bringing material to life.
Let’s see how some members of the MIEE community have been taking advantage of the new functionality within Office Mix…
Simon Johnson, ICT/Computing teacher at Highfields School Wolverhampton has been using Office Mix in conjunction with other tools to undertake a flipped learning approach to engaging his students:
“I’ve only had a brief play with OfficeMix but see it has lots of potential! I have been playing with OfficeMix combined with TouchDevelop to create interactive experiences – potentially for flipping my classroom. Here is an example I made a while back on the Water Cycle including an interactive Water Cycle animation and drag & drop quiz created with TouchDevelop…”
As much as we all do our best to keep ourselves and our children fit and healthy, it is inevitable that at some point illness will strike and students will occasionally miss lessons. Simply copying up someone else’s notes or going through a PowerPoint in isolation isn’t always enough to get the full appreciation of the subject matter. Matthew Davies, from Treorchy Comprehensive School in the Rhondda Cynon Taf district of South Wales, has been using Office Mix as a of helping absent students catch up with their classmates:
“I have been using Office Mix to add audio/video introductions to PowerPoint presentations for pupils who have missed lessons. The audio/video gives pupils the detail/context that I would have spoken about in the lesson. This has allowed pupils to catch-up prior to the next lesson, in school or at home. This has ensured that pupils have been up-to-date with great success. They are then ready to move on with the rest of the class on their return. It also allows pupils to revisit topics in their own time and is a useful revision source.”
Further to this, Matthew sees how the assessment functionality can help him in getting a better understanding of who might be struggling with certain aspects of the course material with his older students:
“I am planning to use Office Mix to provide a flipped classroom approach which I think will work well with my 6th Form Classes. The ability to see who has viewed the slides and how long they have spent on each one is an excellent tool to track pupils. The ability to track pupils understanding through the use of the questioning tools will allow me to plan additional activities to cover the weaknesses identified which will be amazing.”
And he’s not the only one within our MIEE community who has realised the potential flipped learning. In a Yammer thread discussing Office Mix, Scotland-based MIE-Fellow Ian Stuart describing it as “a fantastic tool to allow teachers to easily move on to videos from existing PPTs”, adding “…this means you can very quickly create a flipped learning video and providing a quick on ramp from teachers are now to where they want to go.”
If you read last week’s post about using Sway in the classroom, you’ll be familiar with Anthony Lees of Broadclyst Community Primary School. He’s also been getting to grips with Office Mix recently, and has found it to be of great use when dealing with not only his students, but also his colleagues:
“I have been using Mix to narrate over how-to videos for pupils and staff about how to complete tasks on our network, complete eSafety surveys, and introduce new units of work.”
But what of the material impact upon learning? Are these new features actually making a difference? John Cooper got in touch with us after the Easter break to share his thoughts on how Office Mix had been helping his students to prepare for their summer exams:
“Back in the saddle and already seen some students who have made use of the Office Mixes I put together for Easter revision. I can guarantee that the Microsoft in Education programme will be earning Maths GCSE candidates a few more marks this year. For those currently on a grade borderline, these marks could have a huge pivotal impact on the employment offers received by my students and their ensuing quality of life. It’s a great start to a new term.”
Keeping with tradition, we include a short video in each of these blogs to give you an idea of who our MIEEs are, how they got involved with the programme, and how they are currently using technology in the classroom. This week we’ll meet John Cooper from Sussex Downs College:
As ever, the aim of these blog posts is to provide our audience with some examples with how the teachers closest to us are using the latest technologies in the classroom, so we hope this post has inspired you to get creative in your in educational setting! To help you get started with Office Mix we recommend you take a look at the following eBook: MIXing it up: Using Office Mix to Improve Learning.