The Best of Microsoft in the Classroom in 2014

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2014 has been a big year for Microsoft in the Classroom. So big that it’s been hard to keep up with all the cool new tools that Microsoft have released, refined and developed. Over the year I have blogged about many of them, but some stand out as personal favourites. Check out my top picks below, and be sure to try them for yourself in 2015!

1. OneNote Classroom Notebook Creator


Take the almighty OneNote, add a dash of extra awesome and you have this amazing tool. The OneNote Class Notebook Creator tool uses Office 365 environment to create a OneNote File for your class in which resource distribution, collaboration and individual work can be delivered, created and feedback given. For me this tool is the key to continuous feedback and the paperless classroom. Check out this post to find out more.


2. Office Mix


Office Mix will change how you create tutorials, interactive online lessons and screencasts. This free add-in to PowerPoint 2013 is your one-stop tool for flipped learning content. Create, distribute and check the learning analytics for your tutorials. In my classroom this would be the tool I use to ensure that I know exactly how students are progressing and that class time is spent on higher order concepts. Check out this post to find out more about Office Mix.


3. Office Sway


The newest tool in this list, Office Sway is a brand new way to share information. Use it to create reports, presentations or portfolios. This simple online tool will work on all browsers and therefor all devices. Why not give students a choice to present a project using this tool in 2015? Check out some of these sway’s created by Australia and New Zealand Microsoft Expert Educators and start thinking what you can Sway in 2015.


4. OneDrive


Wow, OneDrive has grown so much this year! The familiar interface of Office Word, combined with the ability to use OneDrive on so many devices now makes this my go-to online editing and word processing tool. Using Office Word, PowerPoint, OneNote, Excel and Excel Survey, OneDrive is, I believe, the best way to open collaboration in a school. It can be used in both administrative and classroom activities to streamline, save version issues and make life just that little bit more efficient. Using OneNote Online is a great way to create a wiki style environment or webspace for all to access. Check out this example.


5. Surface Pro 3


Since I picked up my Surface pro 3 from the San Francisco store in July, I literally have not put it down. There is so much for me to love about my Pro 3. I love the pen, the size, the ability to use all my tried and tested Windows software, yet still play with apps. I love the fact its light yet durable. That it fits in a small bag. That the battery rocks, and yes I’ll admit it, it just looks cool! Check out more about why I love my Surface Pro 3 here.


6. Project Spark


Not sure how to build games, want to build something really cool straight away? Well Project spark will get you sorted in no time. This games creation software really does help you make industry grade games in a matter of minutes. To ensure success, choose from a number of creation modes. Once you get started you won’t stop. Here’s a quick guide to get you started.


7. Nearpod


Want to guide some learning in your classroom? Need to add interactive components? NearPod is your hero. With Nearpod App you can create, deliver, and evaluate learning activities with ease. The ability to tap into learning analytics gives this app an awesome edge and usability in your classroom. Check out more about NearPod here.


It’s been quite a year. I wonder what we will get up to in 2015? I’m excited already.

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