2017 Planning | Q&A Expert Tips


If you missed our 5-part #Back2SchoolHELP live webinar series last week, we have a full recap for you. The series aimed to help out our community of school teachers preparing for the new teaching year ahead of them. Educators joined the live Q&A sessions for expert teacher tips and tricks with the host, Megan Townes, a Microsoft NSW Teacher Ambassador.

In this post, we’ve compiled the most common #Back2SchoolHELP questions we received from teachers looking to set up collaborative and interactive classrooms in 2017.

I know I have to integrate ICT into the classroom across the curriculum, but I don’t know where to start!

Tools such as OneDrive, Sway, OneNote and apps like Nearpod and Plumbago can provide your students with an opportunity to compile web research, collaborate in new ways, create interactive content, and explore social and ethical responsibilities.  Watch the video below to see how you can meet the ICT general capabilities for primary school years K-6. You can also follow this link to learn about meeting the requirements for high school years 7-12.


Remember to download the ICT General Capability and Microsoft OneNote Notebook as mentioned by Megan Townes in the webinars.  This notebook contains lots of great ideas and activities for meeting general ICT capability, plus a full list of Microsoft tools, apps and accompanying support guides.

What are the top tools to use when setting up my Classroom for the new year?

The top of our list has to be OneNote! Replacing your traditional paper notepad, Microsoft OneNote helps you stay organised, plan interactive classroom lessons, and enjoy real-time collaboration with students and colleagues.  What’s more, OneNote integrates seamlessly with Outlook, allowing you to insert emails and meeting details directly into your notes.

You can create an individual notebook for your classroom and build completely interactive lessons with audio, video and images to engage your students.  You can also add assignments to your notebook and have your students complete their homework from within OneNote.  And, say farewell to marking overflowing piles of paper – you are able to mark up and annotate assignments directly in OneNote. Get an introduction to OneNote here.

Download OneNote for free on all your devices and make sure you install the OneNote Classroom plugin which includes integration with many Learning Management Systems.

Office Mix is another great tool for bringing interactivity and excitement into the classroom. A simple plug-in to PowerPoint, it lets you create lessons which are rich with video, audio and images, plus you can easily share your lessons online or via email.

Need some lesson planning inspiration? Did you know you can download and share lessons with the Microsoft Education Community? Visit this link to find out more.

How can I give detailed feedback and annotate with marking on digital assignments?

Receiving feedback is an essential part of how we learn and develop.  In his Visible Learning research, John Hattie found that feedback is one of the top ten influences on student development.

With this in mind, your Surface device  paired with the Surface Pen is an essential tool to allow you to highlight and make comments or draw diagrams directly on your student’s assignments. Imagine being able to make your feedback more personal by adding a short audio recording of your comments directly into OneNote, for your student to gain a deeper understanding of your response. Watch the video below to learn how the Surface Pen allows you to provide richer feedback to your students:


Real time Learning analytics sound great, but how do I use it?

As a teacher, you’re constantly giving feedback to your students in order for them to learn and develop. Imagine doing this in innovative ways which free you up from the front of the classroom and let you walk around and interact with your students. Microsoft tools such as OneNote, Office Mix and Bing Pulse allow you to do this. Follow the link to find out more.

With Bing Pulse in the Classroom you can quickly assess how deeply your students understand a concept, through the use of real-time polls, quizzes, thumbs up/down to show their response.  Students can access the Bing Pulse app directly from their phone or other device, and the teacher can view the live results.  These data insights help you to assess if there are concepts that need to be explored in more depth.  By accessing the Bing Pulse dashboard, you’ll know what’s worked and not worked over time. View the video below or follow the link to learn more about Bing Pulse in the Classroom.

With OneNote you can give students private feedback on their assignments directly on the Class Notebook, and Office Mix is another great tool for getting insights into how your students are progressing.

Helen Gooch, Microsoft Fellow and Master Trainer said Office Mix offers “great analytics so that as your students complete a lesson or learning activity, you can see how well they mastered the objectives, and you can view the results if you included quiz questions such as multiple choice, true/false, and short answer. Or, you can monitor how long they spent on various aspects of your instructional sequence. Did they breeze through certain parts or did they truly take their time to learn. These are great formative assessment features!”

And if you need any further convincing of the benefits of real time learning analytics, another teacher reported Once students knew I could see who had watched what, and answered questions, they all watched everything!”.

What’s the best tool for making classroom quizzes?

Office Mix was created with teachers in mind!  As most teachers already use PowerPoint, Office Mix is incredibly easy to master and is simply a free add-on which you can access from within PowerPoint. Easily turn your presentations into interactive lessons to really engage your students with video, audio, inking, quizzes and more. Once you’ve created your Mix you can publish and easily share securely online, to social channels or by embedding within a webpage. Learn more about Office Mix for educators.

Our teacher community also love using Microsoft Forms for quizzes. You can create self-marking multiple choice quizzes or open-ended quizzes, or a combination of both. We’ve also added image and video integration into questions so Microsoft Forms is great for younger years too. Read more about Microsoft Forms on the Office blog.

My students love Minecraft but I’m not sure how to use it in the classroom?

How can you make learning fun? By bringing Minecraft into the classroom of course! Yes you heard right…

Microsoft have now released the Minecraft Education Edition which includes a number of additional features to make learning and collaboration exciting for your students.  Also check out Docs.com for additional Minecraft Education Edition resources. Watch the webinar below to find out more about how to integrate Minecraft into your classroom:

Skype for incursions is a great idea! How can I find people to Skype with?

Using Skype for incursions is much easier to organise than traditional excursions, which take a great deal of planning. Why not take your students on an adventure without even leaving the classroom? Virtual Excursions with Skype in the Classroom are simple to organise plus they open up a whole new world of possibilities. Check out the Top 10 Reasons to use Skype in the Classroom Sway below and then take our course designed to teach you the basics of Virtual Trips.

I didn’t know these webinars were on, but I’m keen to learn when you are next hosting training sessions. How do I connect with MSFT?

To stay up to date with everything happening in Microsoft Education, make sure you follow us on Facebook, subscribe to our blog, and join the Microsoft in Education community.

You can also check out all our teacher training tools and stay up to date with upcoming training and events on the Microsoft in Education website.

Tech troubleshooting Q&A

To use Office 365 and Minecraft for Educators you need to have Office 365 subscription to sign up. If you have a valid school email address, you may use it to sign up. Please refer to this link for more details https://helps.ms/gA6fz4