MIEE views from E2 – “What is available to teachers from Microsoft?” by Matthew Davies

The following post comes from Matthew Davies of Treorchy Comprehensive School in the Rhondda Cynon Taff district of South Wales. Matthew is one of the UK MIEEs who recently travelled to the E² Global Educator Exchange at Microsoft’s global headquarters in Redmond, Washington.


E2 Workshop Sessions - What is available to teachers from Microsoft?

Be more, Do more, Expect more – The mantra of Microsoft and Anthony Salcito.

Microsoft is working hard to produce software for education. Today gave us the opportunity to receive training on the products currently being developed and those being used by educators around the globe to enhance the opportunities provided to their students.

Flipped Classroom with Office Mix

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If you are not aware of the term “flipped classroom” this relates to the pedagogical model in which the students view the content prior to the lesson, while class time is devoted to activities, exercises, and discussions. The approach ensures that class time is used to discuss subject content and undertake tasks to test understanding.

Office Mix has been created to support teachers in creating resources to be used in the flipped classroom. The beauty of the software is that it is an extension to PowerPoint, a piece of software that nearly all teachers use on a daily basis, existing presentations can be adapted, and it’s also free!

The main features are the ability to include the following in your PowerPoint presentations:

  • Recordings of the teacher as either a video or audio.
  • Screen recording.
  • Quizzes, polls and live websites
  • Embedded Khan academy content, Fluid math resources and other resources.

Anthony Lees could see the benefit of using Office Mix in enabling teachers to make “efficient use of classroom time.”

Further details regarding Office Mix and the free download can be found here.

Organisation, Collaboration and creativity with OneNote

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The Microsoft Global forum really showed that no matter what your level of expertise is people still want to learn from others and find out more of what can be done.

Marie Renton particularly enjoyed the OneNote session hosted by our very own Kevin Sait and Joshua Sawyer. She said “Whatever your level of experience using OneNote I’m sure you would have learned a few new tricks from these very knowledgeable guys.”

After Josh’s run through of the wow factor, delegates were engaged and interested in the Wymondham High story and how OneNote has become a killer app. Further information on the use of OneNote at Wymondham High can be found here.


Minecraft in the classroom


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For anyone unfamiliar with the game Minecraft, the goal of the game is simple – students can create structures using “virtual lego”. The educational value here is immense and topics such as proportion and ratio could easily be taught and skills such as collaboration can easily be developed.

Some excellent examples of the use of Minecraft in the classroom from around the world were demonstrated by some inspiring teachers. Even Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, in his speech picked up on the benefits of using Minecraft in the classroom and its role in inspiring students. “The power of Minecraft in education is a great addition to empowering students.”

For anyone interested in using Minecraft in the classroom MinecraftEdu is definitely worth a visit.

Office Sway for education: Engaging teachers with interactive content

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Sway, the newest offering from Microsoft, is a great new tool which can be used to present information and can also be used so that students can collaborate. Sway is a simple, web based application and is in the process of being added to Office 365.

The presentation by Marija Petreska and Tammy Dunbar showed just how easy Sway is to use and the potential that it has in the classroom.

Emma Hicks really liked the idea of getting students to create revision notes and test taking tips using Sway.

For an excellent example of a Sway please see Marie Renton’s Sway on the E2 experience here.

Global learning with Skype – Bring the world to your classroom

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For anyone who hasn’t heard about Skype, Skype can bring in experts from around the world direct to your classroom. This is an excellent tool which is allowing collaboration between schools around the world.

Anthony Salcito made excellent use of Skype in his talk where he Skyped a school who had been doing a project with a school in Kakuma refugee camp. It was great to hear the enthusiasm of the pupils and their use of Skype was life changing for some of the pupils they helped.

The Future

As you can see the software mentioned above is being used by teachers across the world in innovative ways.

Examples of how the above are being used in UK classrooms can be found on the MIEE TV page.

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