Microsoft EDU – Education Stories | Microsoft Education Blog
Empowering every student and educator to achieve more with the best of Microsoft tips and resources for education. Our goal is to inspire students and educators to create and share in entirely new ways, to teach and learn through exploration, and to adapt to individual learning needs so they can make, design, invent and build with technology.
One question I routinely get asked that is most popular in larger High Schools, is how to set up a Faculty/Department. This is the recommendation from the guide:
Channels & Files Tabs
I’ve seen Teams where there are so many Channels it’s hard to know where to find content. Alternatively, other schools use only the default General Channel and then place an ever-deeper hierarchy of folders and sub folders inside of the Files tab, meaning teachers need to drill down endlessly to find the content they are looking for.
In the end, I think there is probably a happy equilibrium where Channels can be used to meaningfully split out content, with this then being saved into the Files tab of each relevant Channel. How each school chooses to find this balance will likely come down to their size and how they operate (or aspire to operate) in a digital hub like Teams. The guide does provide a form hierarchical template for schools to consider:
Within your district or school, it’s possible to create teams that follow an organizational structure. Use this approach if you have strict reporting requirements, are managing a large district with high staff numbers, or have goals to increase transparency across a diverse set of schools and employees. Here’s how that might look, with teams “reporting” up the chain to other teams. This ensures school leaders, staff, and teachers are members in the teams that are relevant to them.
One layout that I’ve often discussed with schools might be how would the Science Faculty look when using Microsoft Teams. This mirrors some of these discussions and I would replicate the layout below that I’ve expanded for the Physics Channel into the other sub-channels:
Having some guidance around best practice for Microsoft Teams set up is a helpful starting point for schools to work from, however invariably schools will need to customise for their own goals and ways of working. I was talking to an IT Director in a school earlier this week who had a goal of moving his entire IT team off email and into communications via Teams and had largely achieved this within his own department. That said, achieving the same outcome across a wider staff is a much larger exercise in change management.
As more schools look to move from on-premise infrastructure and into cloud based platforms, guidelines like the above are helpful tools to start with.
Liudmyla Talashkevych English as a Foreign Language (EFL) Teacher Novoyegorovka School Novoukrainka, Ukraine @ekodek2007
Finding a path to using technology in the classroom isn’t always easy. For Microsoft Innovative Educator Liudmyla Talashkevych, the journey started in 2009 when she was chosen to participate in the Fulbright Teaching Excellence and Achievement Program (TEA). This professional development program brings international teachers to the United States for six weeks of academic seminars at a host university. Participants observe classrooms and share their expertise with teachers and students, both at the host university and at local secondary schools.
“That was a great experience in building English speaking skills, gaining knowledge on IT technologies, and learning new approaches in teaching English,” says Talashkevych. “There were many teachers from around the world and I understood that the world is more globalized than I thought of it before.”
Over the next three years, Talashkevych hosted four teachers from the US. Together, they conducted workshops on different topics for her district EFL teachers. “My students had an amazing opportunity to communicate with native speakers and learn much more about the US, the school system in the country, and their traditions and customs,” she says.
Next, Talashkevych hosted a Peace Corps volunteer for two years, and thanks to her activities, Talashkevych’s school got its first computer, projector, and printer.
“All these events helped me become knowledgeable and more confident in my professional career,” Talashkevych tells us. “Never give up, learn as much as possible, look for new scientific achievements and inventions and embody them immediately – that was the lesson I took away as an alumna of the TEA Program.”
Then, in 2016, Talashkevych discovered Microsoft In Education, and her teaching changed completely. “I realized this would help my students communicate effectively, be happy and relaxed, and be involved in an amazing process of making new friends globally,” she says.
Talashkevych’s students love Skype in the Classroom and virtual field trips. They have visited 21 countries, covered about 700,000 kilometers, and participated on 121 Skype lessons. They prepare various hangouts for these events using pictures, tables, posters, and flashcards with animals, food, and numbers. Before virtual field trips, they usually work with a map, find the location of the event, and review the vocabulary. Once the event is complete, they practice feedback with questionnaires, drawings, and quizzes.
“We are active participants in the global collaboration movement,” she tells us. “Joining the projects gives my students a great feeling of being a tiny but extremely important person on our planet, concerned about the same problems as people all over the world, anxious about the same troubles. And absolutely responsible for the planet’s future.”
Talashkevych and her grade 6 students also participate in Hour of Code and Weeks of Code.
“By now, many of my students have passed some courses and have earned certificates that make them happy and more confident in themselves,” she tells us. “They also participate in on-line IT competitions that deepen their knowledge of IT and develop necessary skills for the future.”
And while Talashkevych has come a long way since those first days in 2009, she recognizes there are still obstacles to overcome. “The biggest challenge education faces nowadays is that technologies change so quickly, giving everybody unlimited opportunities, and our educational systems are often uprooted,” she shares. “Governments don’t support educational establishments with enough resources to keep up.”
In today’s classroom, diversity is the new normal. Teachers don their superhero capes every day, going to extraordinary lengths to reach every one of their students, from creating inclusive curriculum in core subjects like reading, writing, and math, to enabling every student to have a voice. We’re honoring their work, and highlighting some tools to help, in this month’s episode of What’s New in EDU.
At Microsoft Education, we work to support teachers in their mission to create an inclusive classroom for all students. Here are 10 ways our tools support learning across unique needs and abilities.
Understand word meanings more easily and improve vocabulary
Seeing a word and attaching meaning to it involves a number of cognitive processes. We’re trying to support students learning to make those connections with Picture Dictionary and Read Aloud in Immersive Reader. Select a word and Picture Dictionary will show you a descriptive image, even providing multiple images for words with more than one meaning. Read Aloud connects the text to students with visual impairments and helps with pronunciation practice. Providing visual and audio inputs gives all students, and especially students with dyslexia, the multi-sensory experiences they need to ingrain that word into their vocabulary.
Try this: Next time you give a vocabulary quiz, try providing the list of vocabulary words in OneNote. Show students that they can click Immersive Reader, then click the vocabulary word to see a picture of what the word means and have it read aloud.
Make it easier to focus on reading
With the media multitudes that surround students, it’s not always easy to prevent distractions online and across devices. Immersive Reader’s flexible text sizing, line focus, and background color options make any document, notebook or web page focus friendly. This is particularly helpful for students with ADD and ADHD as well as for students with dyslexia.
We know a time-tested tactic is breaking up words into syllables and sounding them out. Now, students have a tool that will do so automatically, helping them to nail the pronunciation. Students can even check their pronunciation by selecting Read Aloud and seeing how close they were. This is particularly helpful for students with dyslexia who often have trouble matching letters to sounds.
Try this: Next time you assign reading to be done at home, instruct students to break the words into syllables in Immersive Reader or, if they can’t remember how to pronounce them, to use Read Aloud.
Understand grammar and sentence structure more quickly
Understanding parts of speech is critical for developing reading fluency. Immersive Reader can help by labeling or highlighting nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs. This supports all students, especially those with dyslexia, as they develop their ability to find patterns in words.
Try this: Next time you assign grammar practice, let students know they can check their work by selecting the Parts of Speech toggles in Immersive Reader.
Empower students to improve the quality of their writing
When you spend a long time writing, you want to make sure the final work is polished. Read Aloud in Immersive Reader allows you to have the document you’ve written read out loud, so you can more easily catch mistakes. Editor in Word helps students identify misspellings, provides synonyms for those misspelled words, and offers the option to have the suggested spelling correction and synonyms read aloud. This all helps students with dysgraphia who have a hard time reviewing their own written work.
Try this: During the editing and revising process, encourage students to use Read Aloud to listen to their work read back to them. This will help them identify revisions and improve their writing!
Make it easier to start writing, and kick writer’s block
We’ve all stared down an empty page in fear wondering how we’re going to fill it with beautiful writing. With Dictate, in OneNote and Word, students can have their speech turned to on-screen text. This is especially helpful for students with dysgraphia who struggle with writing.
Students can use all the same tools above when they learn their first language—and then when they learn a second language! With document and word translation in Immersive Reader, you could start with a text in Spanish and translate either individual words or the entire document into English. This is helpful for students with dyslexia, who are learning new languages, and ESL learners, who can match the words they know in their first language with their second language more easily than ever before using sounds, pictures and text.
Try this: When you assign passages for reading, put a copy in OneNote and show students they can translate either by word or document in Immersive Reader.
Help students read, understand steps, and show their work in math
Math is all about showing your thought process and the steps you took to get to the answer. Math Solver shows students the steps to solve a math problem, giving a clear model for how to show your work. The Immersive Reader can also read the math equation notation, as well as the step-by-step instructions in Math Solver, aloud for students. This helps students with dyscalculia break down math problems and learn what to do with similar problems next time.
Try this: If a student is having trouble with a particular type of problem, encourage them to use the Math Solver to insert the steps into their OneNote page. They can reference the steps as they work on similar problems, helping them follow the same solution process but applying it to new equations.
Present to students, parents, and your colleagues inclusively
When you give a presentation to students, parents, or other teachers (or when teaching students to present), make sure to turn on live captions and subtitles in PowerPoint. Live captions help students with hearing impairments, or those who speak other languages outside the classroom, to follow along with the presentation.
Meeting remotely? Connect with parents or colleagues online in a Teams meeting, and turn on live captions to make sure no one misses a moment, whether it’s a global PLC meeting or an online parent conference.
Try this: Use PowerPoint live captions and subtitles during your next parent-teacher conference. Those rooms get packed, and parents will appreciate being able to see captions. They can even download the Microsoft Translator app and translate it into the language they use most often.
Build student empathy with Minecraft: Education Edition
Minecraft: Education Edition offers several features that support inclusive learning, from classroom multiplayer for better collaboration, to customizable game settings including a text-to-speech user interface. As New York City special educator and STEM coach Sean Arnold writes in this EdSurgearticle, “chat features are enabled with speech-to-text functionality, which lets struggling readers and writers participate with the community at their own pace without the pressure of a face-to-face conversation.” Minecraft: Education Edition gives students with physical and intellectual disabilities the opportunity to be creative, explore without fear of failure, and feel a sense of autonomy in the classroom. “My students were no longer confined to wheelchairs or leg braces; they could walk, create and even fly. It’s a world where they are free from ridicule, free from their real-world struggles and free to create a world that they desire.”
We know that better student outcomes, teacher time, school budgets, and IT staff workloads are top of mind for every school district and school leader. That’s why we partnered with Forrester Consulting to do a total economic impact analysis around Microsoft assistive technologies for education. Informed by interviews across four Microsoft 365 (M365) districts using our accessibility tools, the findings pointed to three key benefits: improved student learning, reduced cost and effort, and saved time and increased effectiveness.
As we continue listening to students and educators, we have heard many requests for OneNote integration with Buncee, an amazing app that allows you to create, share, and present engaging multimedia lessons. Both the Buncee team and OneNote teams have been hearing these requests more often. The OneNote binder metaphor, and the ability to easily embed Buncees on pages, organize them, or distribute to others in OneNote Class Notebook, seemed like a great match.
As of today, you can now paste any public Buncee URL on to a OneNote page and it will render the Buncee as a live interactive embed. You can now create pages, section, and even entire notebooks chock-full of Buncees! A great way to make learning more fun and easy, together 💛💜
NOTE: Due to a very recent Chrome browser issue, copying and pasting the URL directly from the address bar into OneNote will not automatically render the Buncee. Temporary work-around: after copying the Wakelet web address from your browser, use the right-click option Paste > Keep Text Only option in OneNote. Pasting the URL from Edge, IE, Notepad, or other any other location works. OneNote will have this mixed by mid-June
To see some examples or how easy this is to do, see the example video of a Buncee in OneNote. This integration works in OneNote Windows 10, Online, Mac, iPad, Android, and 2016
We hope you enjoy this new integration to bring together two great apps that students and educators love!
Mike Tholfsen Microsoft Education Product Manager @mtholfsen
When asked, educators and school leaders cited the following as challenges they face with their assistive technology tools and solutions:
Existing solutions could not be widely deployed and often had a stigma associated with them
Learning experiences could be disjointed and distracting
Technology costs and effort were too high
Forrester study: The Total Economic Impact™ Of Accessibility and Assistive Technology for Microsoft Education
The study revealed that by deploying and using Microsoft Accessibility and assistive technology tool, including Office 365 and Windows 10, schools can improve student learning, reduces costs and effort, and save time and be more effective.
Forrester study: The Total Economic Impact™ Of Accessibility and Assistive Technology for Microsoft Education
Key benefits for implementing Microsoft Education Accessibility Tools
The study uncovered numerous key benefits for companies to consider as they evaluate Teams as a primary communication and collaboration tool. The top 3 benefits are:
Student learning has improved – Improved student outcomes were the most important result for all interviewees. Student learning has improved through increased access to a wide range of solutions and a common user experience. Because student self-determination increases adoption, this applies to both designated special education students and the student population as a whole. The Microsoft tools have also removed the stigma attached with using specialized tools. “Our students with dyslexia use color overlays and single-line reading. In the past they weren’t made too much fun of, but still stood out. Now they get their information how they need it, and there is no stigma. It’s really cool”
Using built-in solutions reduced operating costs and effort – Because these solutions are part of the Microsoft 365 solution, there is no additional cost or effort to provide accessibility and assistive technology tools. This saves time and cost in terms of support, training, licenses, and hardware. “The thing we really like about Microsoft is that the features are not proprietary. We can mix and match since they come built in and are mainly free.”
Teachers save time and have tools to support more effective teaching – Teachers save a lot of time because all the solutions are integrated into Microsoft 365 and because this provides a universal design learning environment. This frees up time that can be spent helping students rather than on administrative activities, training, switching applications, and supporting different tools. “We do everything in Teams, including helping each other and communicating with students.”
OneNote Class Notebooks—and the teaching and learning style they facilitate—have led to significant improvements in attitude and outcomes for my students.
I teach English Language and Literature to 13- to 18-year-olds of mixed ability at an independent boarding school in the U.K. Over the last three years, OneNote has become the central plank of teaching and learning in my classes. As my classes and I head toward a fourth year, I’m blown away by the outcomes.
What I can say with confidence is that the most significant change facilitated by OneNote in my classroom has been pupil ownership of the material. I am able to work with each learner to shape their learning because I have the time to do so. With OneNote, we all waste less time.
Through the Class Notebooks, engaging multimedia resources are quickly created and distributed to students, and I can monitor their progress on tasks, add feedback and offer new content to help them deepen their understanding. Collaboration is much easier to facilitate, too. All this and the blessed extinction of the dreaded trip to the photocopier.
Naturally, there were false starts as we got up and running, but I found the classes to be very patient as we all learned together.
I started small in the first year. I had two ‘Lower Sixth’ (UK Y12, A Level) classes, and I used OneNote to mentor them through their assignments—2000-word essays requiring significant research and critical skill. I curated a range of critical and contextual materials for the classes and prepared collaborative tasks to help them find their own voice.
Typically, pupils at our school are given a choice of two or three pre-written titles for these essays. I wanted to see if my new tactics would give them the confidence to create their own. And they did just that—every single pupil wrote their own title. I was then able to help them identify what their particular essay required because, through Class Notebook, I could see their work developing and guide it organically as they worked through the material at their own pace. The marks for these projects were among the highest in the cohort and had an obvious positive impact on the students’ confidence going into their second year of study.
We felt we had found a tool with great potential to improve both the attitude and approach of the students. Could this method lead to ‘hard’ outcomes as well as so-called ‘soft’ ones?
Recognizing the boost in my student’s confidence led me to ask myself: What if as well as more ownership of the task and outcome, the classes had more ownership of the content generated?
In the second year of my OneNote experiment, I was given a ‘top set’ Year 11 (second year of GCSE)—a high-ability group with whom I could afford even more latitude to experiment with ‘flipped’ learning styles in preparing them for their Literature GCSE exam. I began to do less curating of material in the Content Library and started to ask them to generate their own resources. I scaffolded annotation tasks in the Collaboration Space and had them collaborate on PowerPoint or Word docs (shared from OneDrive). They would then copy and paste them into the Content Library pages, which effectively gave the students a repository of shared research and note-taking experience.
I spent less time talking from the front and more time having focused conversations with individuals as they developed their understanding.
By the end of the course, the vast majority of the material that the students were revising was truly theirs. They knew where it had come from, remembered the process of knowledge construction and could work more confidently with the material as a result.
After my students’ impressive results in their CEM Midyis baseline testing, my Head of Department wrote in my appraisal, “the literature results are the best ever, with all but one out of 24 candidates achieving the highest grade. This must be a record!”
So what would that mean to year three of the OneNote experiment? With the huge successes in the first two years, I was confident in the process and knew the ownership OneNote afforded my students over their work was key.
With my new class of GCSE students, I saw no reason why this principle of generating content collaboratively would not be of similar benefit. Ultimately, I was delighted to see this class respond so positively to it, too.
To see the level of confidence, engagement and determination so high in a class that used to seriously lack confidence in English is immensely rewarding. As one parent told me this term, “she really struggled with English the last few years, but she finds it so much better now that she’s learning in this new way—she’s got her mojo back!”
In my English classes, OneNote has reinvigorated teaching and learning. More importantly, it has allowed me to put the learners at the center of the knowledge construction. In our classes, it feels like we’re preparing for a shared outcome, rather than me as teacher placing them on educational rails and pushing them along to a conclusion. Those outcomes are improving, I am quite sure, because the learning process has improved. That learning process has been enabled by OneNote, and we love it!
Announcing the May 21 TweetMeet on ‘Inclusive classrooms and accessibility.’
Change starts with awareness. Every third Tuesday of May is Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD). The purpose of GAAD is to get everyone talking, thinking and learning about people with different abilities and their accessibility and inclusion in a digital world.
Our mission is to empower every student on the planet to achieve more, which stems from the belief that every student deserves the opportunity to fulfill their potential.
In this edition of our monthly global and multilingual Twitter conversations, we’ll discuss ways in which educators around the world make inclusion and accessibility an integrated part of their classrooms.
Keep reading for detailed information about this TweetMeet.
Language tracks and SuperSway
We offer seven simultaneous language tracks this month: English, French, Spanish, Italian, Polish, Swedish and Vietnamese. The new SuperSway offers a TweetMeet Invitation in each of these languages.
For each language track, we have one or more hosts to post the translated questions and respond to educators. As always, we’re super grateful to all current and former hosts who are collaborating closely to provide this service.
The #TweetMeetXX hashtags for non-English languages are to be used together with #MSFTEduChat so that everyone can find the conversations back in their own language. For example: Spanish-speaking people should use both #TweetMeetES #MSFTEduChat. English-speaking educators may use #MSFTEduChat on its own.
TweetMeet Fan? Show it off on your Twitter profile!
Every month more and more people discover the unique flow and characteristics of the TweetMeet events and become excited to participate.
Show your passion for the TweetMeets right from your own Twitter page by uploading this month’s#MSFTEduChat Twitter Header Photo to the top of your own Twitter profile.
In the same file folder, the Twitter Header Photo is available in many other languages and time zones.
Looking back on the April TweetMeet on ‘Teaching Happiness’
The April #MSFTEduChat TweetMeet inspired educators around the world to share ideas, insights and resources. We captured highlights from this Twitter conversation in this @MicrosoftEDU Twitter Moment.
Why join the #MSFTEduChat TweetMeets?
TweetMeets are monthly recurring Twitter conversations about themes relevant to educators, facilitated by Microsoft Education. The purpose of these events is to help professionals in education to learn from each other and inspire their students while they are preparing for their future. The TweetMeets also nurture personal learning networks among educators from across the globe.
We’re grateful to have a support group made up exclusively of former TweetMeet hosts, who volunteer to translate communication and check the quality of our questions and promotional materials. They also help identify the best candidates for future events, provide relevant resources, promote the events among their networks and, in general, cheer everybody on.
Our next recommendation for you is to set up Twitter dashboard TweetDeck and add a column for the hashtag #MSFTEduChat. If you are new to TweetDeck, then check out this brief TweetDeck video tutorial by Marjolein Hoekstra.
When a tweet appears that you want to respond to, press the retweet button and type your comments. Great news is that Twitter now supports adding images, animated GIFs and videos to your comment retweets.
Additional tips are offered in this animated GIF that you’re most welcome to share with newcomers:
Too busy to join at event time? No problem!
From our monthly surveys we know that you may be in class at event time, busy doing other things or may even be asleep–well, no problem! All educators are welcome to join any time after the event. Simply look at the questions below and respond to these at a day and time that suit you best.
You can also schedule your tweets in advance. In that case, be sure to include the entire question in your tweet and mention the hashtag #MSFTEduChat so that everyone knows to which question in which conversation you are responding.
The exact question timings are in this helpful graphic:
Resources to help prepare for the TweetMeet
Microsoft Education offers a wide range of tools, professional-development courses and learning paths about inclusion and accessibility. These resources are tailored for educators and they are all free. Good places to start are:
Wakelet is a useful web service to bookmark, curate and annotate resources, images, tweets and other content. Mike Tholfsen just created this Wakelet Collection as a handy reference. It currently has 40+ pointers:
Catherine Dourmousi @CatDourmousi (EFL teacher, Hellenic American Union examiner for Michigan University English-language exams, Microsoft Certified Educator, author, supporter of empathy, mindfulness, and growth mindset in teaching – Athens, Greece)
Elisabetta Nanni @Bettananni (Music teacher and teacher trainer about ICT, MIE Expert, eTwinning Ambassador with expertise in Microsoft Learning Tools – Trento, Italy)
Elsbeth Seymour @TeachinEls (MIE Expert, Secondary Special Ed Teacher, using a passion for tech & gaming to connect, support and facilitate learning for neurodivergent students – California, USA)
Fabrice Marrou @FabMarrou (French and History teacher in a vocational school, former Microsoft Learning Consultant, ICT trainer – Perpignan, France)
Huong Quynh @Quynhth9 (EFL teacher, teacher trainer, passion for exploring ICT in language education – Hanoi, Vietnam)
Iwona Cugier @icugier (Teacher and trainer with a focus on ICT and programming, passionate about digitalization in education – Leszno, Poland)
Joe Brazier @ManvDadHood (Former Special Educator and EdTech Integration Trainer, Business Strategy Lead at Microsoft focused on the K12 Modern Classroom Experience and Inclusive Education – Kirkland WA, USA)
José Carlos Sancho @72Joseca (History teacher, MIE Expert, teacher trainer, ICT coordinator at FEC (Fundación Educación Católica) and passionate about Microsoft Learning Tools – Zaragoza, Spain)
Kelli Suding @ksuding (Indiana statewide PATINS specialist of autism, Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD), Chrome accessibility, Accessible Educational Materials (AEM) & assistive technology integration – Indianapolis IN, USA)
Martin Howe @Martin_Howe (Teacher with passion for helping students with special needs to develop and reach their goals, preferably using digital tools – Borlänge, Sweden)
Mike Marotta @mmatp (Inclusive-tech evangelist, 2017 ISTE Inclusive Learning Network Outstanding Educator, Raspberry Pi Certified Educator, co-moderator of the #ATchat weekly Twitter chat – New Jersey NJ, USA)
Rachel Berger @rachelmberger (Decoding Dyslexia Minnesota President, educational advocate for students with LD, accessibility & AT evangelist, Microsoft Learning Tools specialist, company founder of I Am Dyslexia – Minneapolis, MN USA)
Shelley Ardis @Shelleypa (Technology Director at Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind; previously, a statewide consultant supporting schools serving Deaf students – St. Augustine, Florida, USA)
Our hosts are thrilled for the upcoming TweetMeet. Each of them wants to invite you to the event in their own way.
Next month’s event: Microsoft Teams
The theme of next month’s Tweetmeet on June 18th will be Microsoft Teams. We’re looking forward to this event and hope you’ll spread the word!
What are #MSFTEduChat TweetMeets?
Join the Microsoft in Education Global TweetMeets - YouTube
Every month Microsoft Education organizes social events on Twitter targeted at educators globally. The hashtag we use is #MSFTEduChat. A team of topic specialists and international MIE Expert teachers prepare and host these TweetMeets together. Our team of educator hosts first crafts several questions around a certain topic. Then, before the event, they share these questions on social media. Combined with a range of resources, a blog post and background information about the events, this allows all participants to prepare themselves to the full. Afterwards we make an archive available of the most notable tweets and resources shared during the event.
You can do a lot more with Minecraft: Education Edition in your classroom than you might realize. That’s why we’ve rounded up a special collection of “You Can” videos dedicated to helping you get the most out of Minecraft’s imaginative 3D worlds and standards-aligned lessons and curriculum.
You Can Document Student Work In Minecraft: Education Edition - YouTube
You Can Manage Classroom Settings In Minecraft: Education Edition
It’s important to understand how to adjust game settings to suit your teaching needs and classroom environment. Learn how to access and change game settings to support classroom management as you introduce Minecraft: Education Edition to your students. FAQ for game features can be found here. You can learn more about classroom management tips here.
You Can Manage Classroom Settings In Minecraft: Education Edition - YouTube
Not already a Microsoft Innovative Educator? Join our educator community to connect your classroom with the indispensable tools built into Office 365 Education. Get started today!
Nazarbayev Intellectual School of Chemistry and Biology
With new technology and tools being introduced all the time, it can be tough for teachers to keep up. For MIE Expert Dinara Onerkan, it helps to have a plan.
“I need to embrace innovations, technologies, and practices that can improve student performance,” she explains. “But finding the time for professional development is always difficult because there are always competing priorities and pressures. The thing that helps me are Microsoft technologies and apps, which are already transforming my work. It has made it possible for me to better understand how to continuously use technology, freeing me up to spend time working with students and collaborating with colleagues in-person and through online platforms.”
By staying focused and open to new approaches, Onerkan has discovered that guest speakers are the ideal way to immerse her students in English, exposing them to new voices and perspectives, and adding variety to the classroom routine.
“Skype in the Classroom blurs away hundreds and thousands of kilometers,” she says. “It is quite difficult to find English-speaking credible experts in our area. From the perspective of an English teacher, having native speakers in the lesson gives students lots of opportunities to learn different accents and develop their listening and speaking skills. Using this tool makes the lesson intercultural as well. By visiting speakers around the world, they learn to be global and broaden their horizons through learning a variety of cultures and traditions. “
How does Onerkan, who has been teaching for about 11 years, stay motivated?
“I really feel all the beauty of my teaching when I see my knowledge helps students to grow and develop, when my students are grateful, and of course, when their eyes are full of thanks,” she shares. “These are the precious moments when I see myself as helpful and a real EDUCATOR. That is why I am always in search of new teaching methods, techniques, and approaches. My students and I make changes every day. I teach them; they teach me.“
Educational background: MA in Educational Leadership and Management, Warwick University.
Favorite Microsoft product, tool, technology: Skype and OneNote
Website I check every day: education.microsoft.com
Favorite book: I have many favorite books. But the recent one I liked is Enlightenment Now by Steven Pinker. It is about progress we should not fear. It is about cherishing it and moving further. It is written that we should base our opinions and perspectives not on some mystical beliefs and prejudices, but on science, reason and humanism because they are engines of progress.
Favorite childhood memory: The most beloved and vivid memory is summer trips to the countryside with sisters and brothers, barbecues, trips to the river. It was great.
What is the best advice you have ever received? Always treat your student as a mature and grown up human being, because later someday when you see your graduate, the feeling of being proud of him or her will come.
Hello, fellow educators! I’m Ibrahima Diagne, an English teacher and MIE Expert at Medina Yoro Foulah High School in Senegal. I’ve been an educator for four years now, but it was only a few months ago that I discovered the power of OneNote, and particularly the Immersive Reader feature, to inspire my classroom.
Both students and educators at Medina Yoro Foulah face a unique set of challenges. The school was housed in a temporary shelter when I joined the faculty. The permanent structure was finally finished in October of 2017, but despite that improvement, we still face a critical lack of resources. We have a library, a computer room and science labs, but we lack proper books (including a basic dictionary), computers, lab equipment and consistent internet access.
Complicating things further, my students come from an agrarian community. Most have never used a computer before, and many have daily responsibilities working on their family farms once school is over. It’s not uncommon for parents to interrupt my lesson because they need their child to help with the day’s tasks. As a result of this double-duty, my students understandably aren’t able to prioritize homework.
There is hope, though! By creating a custom reading-comprehension lesson plan, Microsoft’s OneNote, and its Immersive Reader feature, have brought new possibilities within reach for myself and my students.
What Worked in My Classroom
There are two parts to the reading-comprehension process I’ve implemented: vocabulary knowledge and text comprehension. To understand text, the reader must first understand the vocabulary used in the text. If the words don’t make sense, neither will the story. Children can draw on their prior vocabulary knowledge, but they’ll improve only if they’re continually taught new words.
To learn new words in any language, there’s no simpler, better tool than Immersive Reader. Here are few ways that Immersive Reader made a difference in my classroom.
Reading the text
OneNote’s Immersive Reader reads texts aloud to familiarize students with the pronunciation of a native speaker. This is crucial in our classroom, where there aren’t many opportunities to otherwise hear a native speaker. The students were quickly captivated, and at the end of the lesson, I heard them repeating some English words that’d stuck with them.
Vocabulary in context
We are advised to teach vocabulary within context. It’s never as simple as just translating the words from one language to another. The teacher should be able to explain his or her meaning by making gestures that will help students bring to mind the definition in French. Immersive Reader’s easy-to-use Picture Dictionary includes gestures designed to guide students to the right word, saving me the wild gesticulating!
In this step, we transfer sentences from the text to a table in OneNote. Sometimes, we’ll use a French sentence, and the students will have to find the English equivalent in the text. Students can use the translation option to preview what the sentence looks like in English. Immersive Reader won’t give them a direct translation of the text, pushing the students to recall their vocab knowledge to fully comprehend the original text.
These seemingly simple tools and techniques have helped inspire my students and enliven my classroom. The results are beginning to positively change the community, too. The first generation of students who left for university are returning and, thanks to their advanced education, are able to support their parents financially. Consequently, I’m receiving fewer visits from parents who want to pull their children from class.
There is still a ways to go, and educators will always face unique challenges related to educational resources, but expanding the opportunities for our students depends on our ability to “hack the classroom” and apply new tools in fresh ways.
I hope you find my learnings around OneNote’s Immersive Reader useful in your own classroom.