Last week, Microsoft, in partnership with Coretek, welcomed nine schools from the Hampshire area to the Microsoft UK Headquarters in Reading for an Office 365 in Education event.
This event brought together a partner, teachers and students with the purpose of showing students how they can make the most of Office 365. We focused on how teachers can enhance student's learning through Office features such as the OneNote Class Notebook, and the wealth of training resources available on the Microsoft Educator Community.
The day began with a talk from one of our education account executives, Richard Green, introducing what Office 365 Pro Plus Benefit is and what the key features are. It is interesting to see how many schools have the free benefit, but don’t know about the key features, for example, every student and teacher can download and install Office 365 on a number of different devices, at no cost to the individual.
Following this, our STEM lead Stuart Ball gave a hugely engaging talk on all the cool things you can do with Office, and more specifically the Office Mix add-on for PowerPoint that allows students and teachers to bring their presentations to live. His presentation focused on the ways you can build games in PowerPoint, create sounds add record their own audio and video commentary, all of which highly engaged the students and teachers alike.
While the morning consisted of informative talks about how to make the most out of your Office 365 package, the afternoon was full of interactive workshops, with different tasks for the teachers and students. The students were tasked with a 'pitch perfect' project. They had to create a one minute elevator pitch which they can use when they go back to school with the purpose of encouraging their peers to download Office 365. However, the challenge was that they were only allowed to use five slides, one word per slide, and each word can only begin with the letter 'S'. With this challenge in mind, the students set to work, as there was a huge prize up for grabs; a Microsoft and Coretek hosted Hackathon at their school!
At the same time, we conducted a CPD workshop with the teachers, focusing on the new Microsoft Educator Community. The site has a wealth of resources to support training and professional development which allows educators to stay current with the right mix of student-focused technology, experiential learning, and virtual collaboration to help students learn and develop. The feedback from this session was very interesting; we were showing the teachers all the key features that they can use on Office to enhance their teaching (Office Mix, Sway, OneNote), and although many were not fully familiar with these programmes, they now know where they can find training material and lesson plans on MEC as well as connect with each other, and more teachers around the world.
After exciting the students and teachers with a tour of the Microsoft campus, the day came to a close with the students presenting back their Office 365 pitches. This was a real test of teamwork and time management skills for the young students, and our team from Coretek who judged the competition were very impressed with all the teams that took part.
Due to the originality of their presentation and the great collaboration demonstrated by the group, Coretek awarded Wellow Primary School as the winners of the Pitch Perfect challenge. They have won the coveted prize of a Microsoft and Coretek hosted hackathon at their school.
Overall, we had some fantastic feedback from the event. All the students and teachers that attended went away with a greater understanding of the extra programmes and features that they can use in Office 365 to enhance their learning, how they can work together and collaborate, and for teachers, how they can create more engaging content and enhance students' learning. What's more, many teachers didn't realise how easy it was to find support on these programmes. Coretek will support all of these schools following the event, though there is also a constant community of support on the Microsoft Educator Community.
To download Office 365 for free, click here.