Student discussion, collaboration and presentation supported by effective integration of O365

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The State Member for Springwood and Queensland’s Housing Minister, Mr Mick de Brenni, hosted a Student Housing Forum at the John Paul College, Daisy Hill campus on the 16 June.  50 Students were asked to provide feedback to be shared as part the Future of Housing Summit.

The Wesley space was the perfect forum for this round table discussion where each of the five groups was challenged with a question about their plans for “living and housing” once school was finished.  Students were invited to talk freely about the type of housing they would need in the short term and were encouraged to share their thoughts about designs for future housing and future communities.  At the end of the session each group shared their ideas with all forum members.

The icing on the cake here was the way that students were able to effectively and effortlessly harness the power of the Wesley flexible learning space and Microsoft Office 365 to facilitate collaboration.  The space enabled students to interact and engage, and the collaborative cloud-based functionality of Office 365 delivered a real-time collaborative platform for the sharing of ideas and solutions.

  • Furniture was rearranged into perfect discussion hubs
  • The Centre piece of the hub was the write-on surface (Students’ names. group roles, central question and big ideas were penned on the central table)
  • One collaborative Office 365 Word document was hosted on SharePoint, which enabled the student group leader to capture and share, in real time, the thinking of the group members
  • One “cow” (large screen) projected the group’s thinking so that ideas were discussed, captured, shared, honed and refined
  • The student notebook was connected wirelessly to the screen via a local WIPs device


Technology made the process of thinking within each of the groups visible for both the students and the group facilitators.  Ideas were captured quickly in the first 10 minutes and then as discussion and thinking deepened, the recorders were able to edit the document to include the clarifications, elaborations and examples that rolled out through the sharing of ideas.

When it came time to prepare the presentation, ideas were sorted and categorised, key points were highlighted and the collaborative notes were logically and efficiently collated to support each speaker.  Student presenters then effortlessly took the stage, and confident in referencing their online summaries, were able to eloquently and passionately share their ideas.

And to wrap it all up, Mr de Brenni and his facilitators left Wesley with a digital copy and a hardcopy of the combined thinking of the 50 students. That certainly puts the ‘instant’ in feedback!

This is a perfect example of integrating key features of Office 365 into a scenario that could be replicated in board meetings, government think-tanks and even cabinet discussions inside political party rooms.  Apply this process to a homework task, and students can be creating ideas and knowledge outside of the classroom in their own times.  As a bonus, this is an amazing example of where a progressive and innovative school has addressed the Australian Curriculum’s ICT General Capabilities inside a learning experience that is not solely about technology.  Specifically, it can be argued that this type of activity can address the following Level 6 elements of the ICT General Capabilities:

Creating with ICT

Generate ideas, plans and processes

  • Select and use ICT to articulate ideas and concepts, and plan the development of complex solutions

Generate solutions to challenges and learning area tasks

  • Design, modify and manage complex digital solutions, or multimodal creative outputs or data transformations for a range of audiences and purposes

Communicating with ICT

Collaborate, share and exchange

  • Select and use a range of ICT tools efficiently and safely to share and exchange information, and to collaboratively and purposefully construct knowledge

Understand computer mediated communications

  • Understand that computer mediated communications have advantages and disadvantages in supporting active participation in a community of practice and the management of collaboration on digital materials

Managing and operating ICT

Select and use hardware and software

  • Justify the selection of, and optimise the operation of, a selected range of devices and software functions to complete specific tasks, for different purposes and in different social contexts


Source: Australian Curriculum

Microsoft Office 365, coupled with Windows 10, can provide you and your students with authentic, anywhere, anytime sharing and collaboration.  The Microsoft Australia Education Team has 3 Teacher Ambassadors that can come into your school to show your teachers how this can be done.  For more information, contact Matthew Jorgensen (


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