Guest Post by Matt Jorgensen
Cloud-based web 2.0 tools like OneDrive have been an absolutely wonderful innovation for me. As a prolific user of online learning through a learning management system (Moodle if you must know), I enthusiastically embed OneDrive presentations, documents and spreadsheets into coures because it is often easier to open the OneDrive file to edit rather than logging into Moodle, turning editing on, etc, etc.Videos and all sorts of interactives such as Thinglinks, Voicethreads and Powtoons embellish the online environment as well.
I have noticed over the last 18 months that OneDrive (formally SkyDrive) has steadily improved the features and functionality of its cloud-based tools. Office 365 is, of course, the pinnacle of this environment, but for those who have a personal OneDrive account, you can still do some handy file sharing and even editing to work collaboratively with your students or fellow teachers. Forget emailing a document back and forward for editing. Host it in OneDrive, share it with a partner, give them editing rights and you can work on it asynchronously. You can download it if you want, or keep it stored in OneDrive and you will never lose it.
You have at least 15 Gigabytes of free storage, so unless you are uploading videos or music, you are not likely to run out.
The cloud-based tools hosted by OneDrive are lite versions of all your favourite Office applications; PowerPoint, Word, Excel, Outlook and OneNote. You might even find that there are features here that you don’t have in your local, computer-based version of Office, such as the contemporary PowerPoint themes. Your students will enjoy using the OneDrive Online applications, as they only have to work with the essential controls.
So, it is pretty much Office in the cloud, only with more scope to share and work interdependently. All your files are in one place. If you go to another country and need that important document, log into OneDrive via the internet and you have that access you need. OneDrive can be downloaded onto your computer, so that you can save your files into it rather than My Documents. OneDrive syncs automatically with the cloud version. No more manual backups!!
So, even though I use OneDrive extensively, I always went back to Google Docs for one very important, very heavily used tool. Google Forms. But not anymore. And this is the tipping point that I alluded to in the title of this post. Now I have a reason to go wholly and solely with OneDrive. Excel Online now has SURVEYS!!
How did I miss that one? If you haven’t investigated the capabilities of OneDrive, I recommend you do so as you will very pleasantly surprised, as I was with this revelation.Excel Online Survey function allows you to create a survey with different types of questions such as choice, yes/no or text. The results are stored in Excel Online, ready for you to sort the data and generate a graph. The survey can be shared via a generated link or embed code. So, I can gather data from my students through this tool by having it hosted in my LMS course. If I make a spelling error, I fix it up in OneDrive and it will be automatically corrected inside the LMS course via synchronisation.
Here’s an example of how I use OneDrive’s Excel Online Survey tool. My students produced a Powtoon presentation. They grabbed the embed code and placed it into their blog. I want them to comment on the Powtoons of each member in their small group, so they need to share the links to their blogs. Easy. I just created an Excel Survey to get their class, name and blog link. I embedded this in a Moodle page as they go there anyway. That means that the survey is sitting in the page. There are no extra clicks to get to it, which saves them time.
After entering the info, they submit their entry. The data is then placed in an Excel document in chronological order. I embedded this spreadsheet in Moodle as well, so they just have to go to that page and they can see their group members and click on the link to their blog. To make it even easier, I sorted the data with the ‘Class’ column – 7A, 7B, 8A and 8B. The changes are reflected when it syncs. However, they can’t edit the data in the page so it will not be corrupted.
As more question types are added to Excel Surveys, it will become even more powerful. So try OneDrive and Excel Online Surveys today and interact with your students and teachers in a powerful collaborative environment.
Guest Post By
Matt is a Primary Teacher who has moved into a P to 12 eLearning role, supporting teachers, students and parents to use ICTS safely, innovatively and effectively at Coomera Anglican College, Queensland. Everything he knows and has achieved professionally can be attributed to his school and the learning he has had there since 2000.
In his current role, he performs many tasks and tries to display leadership as a change agent.