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A Day in the Life of Teachers Who Use Office 365

23 Sep 2015 by Jessica Hall

Students can explore their greatest curiosities, learn to work with their peers, and enhance their education in and outside of the classroom with Microsoft Office 365. Offering online versions of PowerPoint, Excel, Word and OneNote, Office 365 allows students to do their work at any time and from anywhere using familiar applications. Educators are using this suite of cloud-based software in a variety of innovative ways.

Creating the right mix

Stephen McConnachie, an e-learning coordinator and mathematics teacher at Middleton Grange School in Christchurch, New Zealand, says that he uses Office Mix to record videos for flipped lessons. Being able to do this allows him to teach a skill or concept via video, helping students learn more at home.

Removing the limitations of the physical classroom as well as the usual time constraints has a profound impact. “Students can learn the basics outside of class at their own pace, which frees us up for in-depth problem-solving and investigation in class,” says McConnachie.

Learning whenever, wherever

Inspiration and curiosity can strike at any time. While McConnachie leverages OneNote to plan lessons and track assessments at his convenience, his entire class is testing the use of OneNote Class Notebook as a collaborative online workspace in and out of the classroom.

Facilitating collaboration and productivity from anywhere is crucial. Office 365 also offers:

  • OneDrive, providing cloud-based file storage to enable students and educators to quickly and easily share and access work
  • Skype, allowing pupils, teachers and others to connect face-to-face
  • Sway, facilitating enhanced, collaborative, Web-based presentations, reports and assignments
  • Yammer, offering private, safe social networking

Office 365 allows users to work on any device, ensuring that students and educators aren’t limited in their educational endeavors.

Saving time and money

“Having access to the students' work via OneNote — and being able to provide instant feedback —has a positive impact on their learning,” McConnachie adds. It also helps him, since it streamlines his workflow and workload. Additionally, the switch to OneNote has helped reduce Middleton Grange School’s budget for photocopies.

Although McConnachie notes that using tools like Office Mix can require an investment of time to get things set up, they’re ready for future use once finalized, increasing efficiency in the long run.

Exploring the world without leaving the classroom
As a globally recognized curriculum coach and teacher, Michael Soskil has made Skype — part of the Office 365 Education package — an invaluable tool at Wallenpaupack South Elementary School in Newfoundland, Pennsylvania. From conducting an international holiday song exchange to teach children about traditions on all six continents to learning about a volcano on Mars from University of Pittsburgh professors, students have used the technology to explore new information, cultures and worlds.

Soskil knows that students retain information to a greater extent and over a longer period of time if they have an emotional connection. Additionally, financial and physical constraints won’t hinder the educational experience or the student, allowing those in rural or underserved communities to gain an understanding of things they otherwise wouldn’t be exposed to in their lifetime. Soskil succinctly sums it up: “It’s hard to change the world when you don’t know much about it.”

Facilitating a sizeable jump

In working with fourth graders with low test scores, Soskil implemented a program where they used Skype to connect with various experts twice per week, and each student was tasked with blogging about the experience. Reading levels were tested at the onset and halfway through the school year.

In that short time, the classroom’s reading comprehension increased by a grade level and a half. “They were excited to share their experiences and newfound knowledge, motivating them to write creative, in-depth blog posts,” he explains.

Your school district can leverage Office 365 to enhance students’ educational experiences, increase operational efficiencies and reduce expenditures. Talk to a specialist to learn more about using Office 365 in the classroom.