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Help with Office 365 advanced security capabilities and EMS integration at Ignite 2016

13 hours 44 min ago

Do you have Office 365 E5 and/or Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS) suite and need help to fully implement your plans? Are you going to Ignite 2016? Nominate your organization for a customer solution session!

The Office 365 content team—together with subject-matter experts—is hosting individual customer solution sessions at Ignite in Atlanta, September 26-30. These sessions are designed to help IT teams plan and implement advanced capabilities with Office 365 and Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS) suite.

Each session is 60 minutes. If you are selected, you will meet with one or more product experts (Microsoft product team members, consultants or MVPs) and one or more Office 365 content team members to discuss your goals, get advice on current challenges and envision how to enhance your solution using Office 365 and EMS.

This year, we’re offering sessions in two main focus areas: enterprise security and mobility.

Enterprise security

Do you plan to implement or are you currently blocked in implementing any of the following Office 365 E5 security features?

  • Advanced eDiscovery
  • Advanced Threat Protection
  • Advanced Security Management

Tell us about your organization and what kind of help you would like to receive during a solution session with the product team.

Enterprise mobility

Are you using or do you plan to use EMS together with Office 365 to secure data, devices and accounts? Do you need help? Tell us about your organization and what kind of help you would like to receive during a solution session with the product team.

To be eligible to participate, your organization must meet the following criteria:

  • Be registered to attend Ignite 2016 (this event is sold out).
  • Be licensed for the capabilities.
  • Plan to implement these capabilities or are blocked in implementing your full plan.

To nominate your company or organization for a design session, send an email to o365solutionsessions@microsoft.com by September 7, 2016, and include the following information:

  • Name of your company or organization.
  • Contact information (name and title or role in your organization).
  • The focus area(s) you are interested in and any specific questions you have.
  • Brief description of your solution goals and the challenges you’d like to discuss in the session.

All information shared with the product experts and Office 365 content team—either in email or during a solution session—will be kept confidential.

Due to a limited number of available sessions for each focus area, not every customer will be accepted. We will review nominations and select those that best fit the focus area, and that look like they will lead to a meaningful discussion for both the organization and Microsoft.

If you are selected, a member of the Office 365 content team will contact you with the day and time of your session by September 16, 2016.

We look forward to seeing you in September!

The post Help with Office 365 advanced security capabilities and EMS integration at Ignite 2016 appeared first on Office Blogs.

Episode 105 with SharePoint Dev Kitchen winners Jeff Nowland and Gerald de Run—Office 365 Developer Podcast

14 hours 4 min ago

In episode 105 of the Office 365 Developer Podcast, Andrew Coates talks with SharePoint Developer Kitchen winners Gerald de Run and Jeff Nowland about the new SharePoint Framework.

http://officeblogspodcastswest.blob.core.windows.net/podcasts/EP105_DevKitchenWinners.mp3

Download the podcast.

Weekly update

Great SPFx posts by Waldek Mastykarz

VSTS Build Tasks for Office – Outlook Mail add-ins by Max Knor

Show notes

Got questions or comments about the show? Join the O365 Dev Podcast on the Office 365 Technical Network. The podcast RSS is available on iTunes or search for it at “Office 365 Developer Podcast” or add directly with the RSS feeds.feedburner.com/Office365DeveloperPodcast.

About Gerald de Run

Gerald is a SharePoint consultant and solution architect with over 20 years’ work experience across multiple industries. He has proven expertise in designing and developing custom applications on Office 365, SharePoint Online/On-premises and Microsoft Azure. He is constantly on the forefront of the latest technologies and trends and recently attended SharePoint Dev Kitchen learning from the SharePoint Product Group about the new SharePoint Framework.

Gerald always strives for successful project outcomes and customer experiences, taking into consideration schedule, resourcing and budgetary constraints. He aims to provide creative solutions for complex business problems within scope and tight schedules.

 

About Jeff Nowland

Jeff is an experienced SharePoint Business and Development Consultant with over 10 years of experience across all aspects of SharePoint implementations—both online and on premises. His roles have encompassed viewing the SharePoint ‘prism’ from the business, infrastructure and development angles—providing a unique perspective on how to deliver solutions effectively. Currently, Jeff’s time is spent in a mixture of hands-on tech lead roles on SharePoint Online projects, as well as helping customers look at the Office 365 Collaboration stack more broadly and developing technical and user adoption strategies. Jeff can be reached at jeff.nowland@kloud.com.au or www.linkedin.com/in/jeff-nowland.

About the hosts

Richard is a software engineer in Microsoft’s Developer Experience (DX) group, where he helps developers and software vendors maximize their use of Microsoft cloud services in Office 365 and Azure. Richard has spent a good portion of the last decade architecting Office-centric solutions, many that span Microsoft’s diverse technology portfolio. He is a passionate technology evangelist and a frequent speaker at worldwide conferences, trainings and events. Richard is highly active in the Office 365 community, popular blogger at aka.ms/richdizz and can be found on Twitter at @richdizz. Richard is born, raised and based in Dallas, TX, but works on a worldwide team based in Redmond. Richard is an avid builder of things (BoT), musician and lightning-fast runner.

 

A civil engineer by training and a software developer by profession, Andrew Coates has been a Developer Evangelist at Microsoft since early 2004, teaching, learning and sharing coding techniques. During that time, he’s focused on .Net development on the desktop, in the cloud, on the web, on mobile devices and most recently for Office. Andrew has a number of apps in various stores and generally has far too much fun doing his job to honestly be able to call it work. Andrew lives in Sydney, Australia with his wife and two almost-grown-up children and is a cricket umpire in his spare time. Andrew sometimes blogs at aka.ms/coatsy and you can find him on Twitter at @coatsy

Useful links

StackOverflow

Yammer Office 365 Technical Network

 

The post Episode 105 with SharePoint Dev Kitchen winners Jeff Nowland and Gerald de Run—Office 365 Developer Podcast appeared first on Office Blogs.

Productivity and inclusion—Office 365 accessibility update

14 hours 34 min ago

John Jendrezak, accessibility lead and partner director of program management for the Office Engineering team.

Over the past year, hundreds of engineers from the Office 365 team have been working hard to make progress towards the plans outlined in our 2016 accessibility roadmap. Key enhancements releasing this quarter bring us closer to two goals:

  • People with disabilities can communicate, consume and create content on any device.
  • Everyone can easily create content that is accessible for all people.

As we make Office 365 accessible by design and make it easy for everyone to create accessible content, we hope that people of all abilities will feel empowered to achieve more with our productivity technologies, have equal access to digital information and have fulfilling interactions with each other.

Here are some of the key accessibility improvements releasing this quarter:

Screen reader usability improvements in Word, Outlook and SharePoint

Narrator—our built-in screen reader—received several key updates as part of the recent Windows 10 anniversary update. These included new voices that can speak up to 800 words per minute, six levels of verbosity, so you can get varying indications of text properties and control over how much punctuation you hear, and verbal hints when automatic suggestions are available.

The Office 365 team continues to work closely with the Narrator team to enhance productivity experiences for screen reader users. While using the latest version of Word for the PC and Windows Store apps with Narrator, you might have already noticed improvements in documents with tables, lists, images and hyperlinks. With the latest version of Outlook for the PC, you will now find it easier to manage your calendar, use the Scheduling Assistant to set up a meeting with others, search for an email and set up signatures for your account. Learn more about accessibility enhancements in Outlook for PCs in this article and review this support article to get started with Narrator.

Narrator, the built-in screen reader in Windows 10, can be started from Ease of Access settings.

In SharePoint Online, you will notice improved screen reader experiences as the most used features have been made accessible by design. The new SharePoint home page in Office 365 includes headings for easy navigation across the major areas of the page, a new “search as you type” experience that alerts screen readers when there are matches found and improved navigation of sites by either table commands if using JAWS or arrow keys for all other screen readers.

Document Libraries now includes headings for easy navigation across the major areas of the page, keyboard shortcuts for all major functions that can be viewed in the app by pressing ? and the ability to navigate lists of files and folders using arrow keys similar to Windows Explorer. Screen reader users can now hear announcements when uploads are in progress and confirmations for actions within Document Libraries. Similar enhancements are coming in SharePoint Lists as well.

Press ? to access keyboard shortcuts in SharePoint Document Libraries.

High Contrast mode allows people with vision impairments to see data more clearly

In May, I shared details about work underway to make Office 365 more usable with High Contrast themes on PCs, which is critical to ensure that the people with vision impairments, such as cataracts, can interact with data and commands in our applications with less eye strain. Since then, if you have been working in Excel Online on a PC with High Contrast enabled, you’ll notice that tables, active cell and cells-selection outlines are more visible, hyperlinks in sheets are respecting High Contrast theme colors and Sparkline, slicers, shapes and charts are rendered using High Contrast theme colors.

Excel Online makes it easy to see the active sheet, selected cells, table outlines and chart outlines in the High Contrast mode.

Proofing and Learning Tools enable people with dyslexia to read and write more effectively

Recently, we announced Editor, a cloud-based advanced proofing and editing service. People with dyslexia who have tried spell-checking with Editor have observed significant improvements, including the ability to find spelling corrections even when the misspelled word is very different from the intended word. More Editor enhancements are coming in the next few months for Word on PCs—all inspired by the needs of people with dyslexia and beneficial for everybody. In particular, Editor will make it easier to choose between suggested spellings for a misspelled word. Synonyms or definitions will be shown alongside suggestions and it will be possible to have both read aloud.

Editor in Word for PCs will make it easier to choose between suggested spellings.

Recently, we also made Learning Tools for OneNote generally available. Learning Tools now gives you the ability to dictate text in Spanish, French, German and Italian and have text read back to you in multiple languages. Download Learning Tools for free and see if it transforms your reading experience as it did for these students with dyslexia.

Accessibility Checker available in Office for Mac and more

We know that some of you prefer to check and fix the accessibility of your content after you finish authoring it and find tools, such as the Accessibility Checker for Office on PCs, helpful to identify areas in your files with images or videos that are missing alternative text. You now have the ability to run the Accessibility Checker from more places including, Word, Excel and PowerPoint apps for Mac and Sway web and Windows Store apps. We are working to offer this capability for Word, Excel and PowerPoint Online apps and Outlook for PCs and Macs next. In apps where Accessibility Checker has been available for many years such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint for PCs, we are making it easier to discover and use.

Accessibility Checker can be run from the Review tab of Office for Mac apps.

Export as tagged PDF from Word for Mac and more

This month, we also made available a highly requested ask from the Microsoft Accessibility Forum: Word applications for Mac now give you the ability to export documents as tagged PDFs in conformance with the PDF/UA standard. We are working to offer this capability for Excel and PowerPoint apps for Mac next.

Export as accessible PDF from Word for Mac.

Ways for you to get more information

Eager to learn more about Accessibility Enhancements in Office 365 in person? Join us at the Microsoft Ignite conference next month in Atlanta for these sessions on Office 365 Accessibility Enhancements, SharePoint Online Accessibility and Strategies for an Inclusive Workplace. (Sessions will also be recorded and available to stream online.)

Responsible for ensuring that the products your organization develops or purchases meet accessibility requirements? You can now get conformance statements that demonstrate how Office 365 applications such as Delve, OneDrive, Outlook, Publisher, SharePoint, Sway and Yammer conform to the accessibility criteria of modern accessibility standards via our new pages for WCAG 2.0 AA reports and EN 301 549 reports. Voluntary Product Accessibility Templates continue to be published at the existing page for US Section 508 VPATs. Reports for more Office 365 applications will be added to these pages in the coming months as we make progress towards our publicly committed plans to meet the requirements of modern accessibility standards across the suite by the end of 2016.

Interested in getting help with accessibility issues? Visit the new Office Accessibility Center to find support articles on creating accessible content with Office 365 applications on various platforms or on using Office 365 applications with specific assistive technologies. If you require further assistance, reach out to an accessibility specialist via the Enterprise Disability Answer Desk or Consumer Disability Answer Desk.

How you can get these enhancements

You can start leveraging the capabilities described in this post to make you digital environment more accessible and inclusive by getting Office 365. Many more accessibility enhancements are coming to Office 365 apps by the end of the year and you can be the first to get access to these by signing up for Office Insider or First Release options with Office 365. I look forward to hearing about your experiences with these capabilities @MSFTEnable and welcome suggestions to help us improve.

—John Jendrezak

The post Productivity and inclusion—Office 365 accessibility update appeared first on Office Blogs.

OneNote Class and Staff Notebooks are now available in over 150 countries

Wed, 08/24/2016 - 09:00

With back-to-school season in full swing or just about to get going in many countries, it’s a good time to reflect on the excitement around OneNote Class Notebooks and Staff Notebooks. The original OneNote Class Notebook app was in preview release during the summer of 2014 and went to general availability in October of 2014. Since then, we’ve had hundreds of thousands of teachers using the app in Office 365—resulting in millions of student notebooks created. We also just released some big updates for the 2016/2017 school year. In just one week, we’ve seen more class notebooks created than the entire 2014/2015 school year! We’ve heard from all over the world about teachers’ and schools’ desire to use class and staff notebooks, so we have enabled the app in a set of new countries and regions.

OneNote Class and Staff Notebook app—now available via Office 365 in 90 new countries and regions

In early August, we enabled OneNote Class and Staff Notebooks for 90 new countries around the world—bringing the grand total to 151 countries where Office 365 Education customers can use the OneNote Class or Staff Notebook app.

Here is the full list of languages and countries.

We already had class and staff notebooks created in many of these new countries and, as you can see by the map, there are lots of countries (highlighted with purple for OneNote) using OneNote Class and Staff Notebooks!

Map showing where class or staff notebooks are being used.

To get started, any teacher can follow these three easy steps to create class and staff notebooks today:

  1. Go to www.office.com/teachers and sign up for FREE.

  1. To start a class notebook, visit onenote.com/classnotebook and invite students into the notebook and get their own Office 365 account for free.
  2. To start a staff notebook, visit onenote.com/staffnotebook and invite staff members or educators into the notebook and get their own Office 365 account for free.

—The OneNote team

Full list of countries and regions supporting OneNote Class and Staff Notebooks in Office 365 Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Bermuda, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Cayman Islands, Chile, China , Colombia, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Curaçao, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Estonia, Ethiopia, Faroe Islands, Fiji, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong SAR, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Korea, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lebanon, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macao SAR, Macedonia (FYRO), Malaysia, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Moldova, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Palestinian Authority, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, US Virgin Islands, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Vietnam, Zambia and Zimbabwe

The post OneNote Class and Staff Notebooks are now available in over 150 countries appeared first on Office Blogs.

Assurant: transforming a risk management solutions business with Office 365

Tue, 08/23/2016 - 09:00

Today’s post about Office 365 was written by Robert Lewis, chief information officer at Assurant.

From the outset, Assurant—a global provider of specialty risk management solutions—looked at Microsoft cloud technologies not so much as an IT upgrade, but as an integral component of a business transformation. We needed cloud-based business tools for employees across the United States and our international offices. With a new focus on our core competencies and drive for profitable growth in the housing and lifestyle markets, it was also important that we streamline how we work with customers.

This digital transformation of our workplace is how we meet the real-time service demands of customers for insurance and risk management products and services, where all-day, everyday service through online markets is becoming the new normal. With Office 365, plus mobility solutions like Microsoft Intune, we have the tools required to deliver a competitive level of service in the digital age, while providing comprehensive protection for apps and devices and maintaining the regulatory compliance that is imperative in our industry.

We looked at other cloud-based solutions, but our employees wanted business tools they knew and were comfortable with. We use Office 365 to provide the connected and mobile workplace that employees expect today. The company also wanted an easy transition from our Lotus Notes environment. What was really refreshing and exciting to us about the offering from Microsoft was how seamlessly the Office 365 experience works across smartphones, tablets, laptops and PCs for a complete, collaborative experience, no matter what devices our employees use.

We use the tagline “Your Power to Connect” for our Office 365 deployment. That’s because improved collaboration is empowering. It affects all areas of the business, driving productivity and innovation. Our field staffers assessing property claims upload photos to team sites on our new intranet, which is based on Microsoft SharePoint Online. They also share video footage of property damage on Skype for Business Online. Now our claims personnel in the office can process claims more efficiently. Assurant sales team members use Office 365 to work more productively outside the office, where they spend most of their time. They attend regional sales meetings from home or while traveling, using their smartphones or laptops.

We are generating innovative ideas with global product teams using Skype for Business Online meetings. Brainstorming ideas about ways to differentiate our business is much more fruitful now that we include employees from all over the world. We share desktops and discuss ideas in a visual, collaborative mode. During these web-based meetings, we get considerable feedback and engagement by seeding a few ideas on a whiteboard to spark creative discussion about new products. It’s been very successful for us.

None of these tools for enhancing collaboration and mobility would be of value to Assurant if we didn’t feel confident in the security of our own and our customers’ data. We’ve found that Office 365 has ample security measures in its underlying architecture. And considering how well all the applications interoperate with Microsoft Intune, that’s a strong selling point for any enterprise organization interested in pursuing mobility. We use Microsoft Intune to enhance our ability to provide effective mobile products to our sales team, executives and field claims staff.

Employees are quickly adopting Yammer as our corporate social network. We embedded Yammer on the home page of our intranet, and people are responding well to the mix of company information and employee conversations, where colleagues can post questions regarding customer service issues or ask for advice about new products. We’re using Yammer to build a sense of belonging and spur the impulse to pull together for the same goals. This is a crucial attribute for a strong, cohesive workforce and, at the end of the day, it could be the most lasting benefit of Office 365.

—Robert Lewis

For more details on the Assurant move to Office 365, read the case study.

The post Assurant: transforming a risk management solutions business with Office 365 appeared first on Office Blogs.

Office 365 news roundup

Fri, 08/19/2016 - 15:00

Microsoft customers of every kind, from individuals to enterprises to educators, rely on Office 365 for exceptional productivity, privacy and security. Office 365 provides the tools to help Office 365 administrators of Fortune 500 companies, small businesses and universities work better, more efficiently and more easily.

We recently released the Service Assurance Dashboard as part of the Office 365 Security and Compliance Center, which enables administrators to perform a risk assessment on Office 365 services—on demand—and provides transparency into Office 365 services. We also announced an update to the Yammer apps for iOS and Android, which allows IT administrators to support their mobile workforce and provide employees with access to corporate resources on their personal mobile devices while protecting their corporate data using mobile application management (MAM) controls in Microsoft Intune.

As part of our ongoing work to enhance Office 365 productivity, we announced the general availability of the Microsoft Excel REST API for Office 365. Developers can now use Excel to power custom apps that extend the value of your data, calculations, reporting and dashboards. In addition, we recently released an Office Online extension that lets you create and access Office files directly from the Microsoft Edge browser. We also launched the OneNote Importer tool for Mac, which makes it easy for Mac users to move their Evernote pages to OneNote, allowing them to save money while taking advantage of the OneNote integration with Office apps like Word, PowerPoint and Excel. And for educators, we recently made improvements to OneNote Class Notebooks and OneNote Staff Notebooks based on teacher feedback.

Office 365 is a complete solution, providing the productivity, security and manageability you need.

Below is a roundup of some key news items from the last couple of weeks. Enjoy!

Democratizing data—Atkins goes digital by default with Office 365 E5—Learn how Office 365 is helping employees at Atkins, a design, engineering and project management consultancy, make faster, better decisions.

Carvajal switches to Office 365 for faster business, reduced costs—Find out how this diverse company with offices in 15 countries uses Office 365 to provide companywide collaboration, productivity and efficiency.

Microsoft’s Continuous Improvements to Office 365 Reporting—Learn more about the administrative reporting tools Microsoft provides with Office 365.

A no-frills look at Microsoft Office 2016 and Office 365 versions—Discover which Office plan is right for you and your business.

Microsoft expands and renews international certifications in seven countries—Find out more about the new and expanded cloud certifications that Microsoft recently achieved to ensure greater privacy, security and compliance.

The post Office 365 news roundup appeared first on Office Blogs.

Episode 104 with Mike Ammerlaan on the Developer Preview of the SharePoint Framework—Office 365 Developer Podcast

Thu, 08/18/2016 - 09:30

In episode 104 of the Office 365 Developer Podcast, Andrew Coates talks with SharePoint Product Manager Mike Ammerlaan about the Developer Preview of the new SharePoint Framework.

http://officeblogspodcastswest.blob.core.windows.net/podcasts/EP104_MikeAmmerlaan.mp3

Download the podcast.

Weekly updates

Excel as a Calculation Service–Part 2 by Richard Custance

The SharePoint Framework (SPFx) Is Here!  by Marc Anderson

Creating a new SharePoint framework project using NodeJS  by Tony Phillips

SharePoint Framework Weather Web Part  by Waldek Mastykarz

Show notes

SharePoint Framework Developer Preview Release

SharePoint Framework Docs on Github

Got questions or comments about the show? Join the O365 Dev Podcast on the Office 365 Technical Network. The podcast RSS is available on iTunes or search for it at “Office 365 Developer Podcast” or add directly with the RSS feeds.feedburner.com/Office365DeveloperPodcast.

About Mike Ammerlaan 

Mike has worked at Microsoft for 17 years, working on products like SharePoint, Excel, Yammer, Bing Maps and Combat Flight Simulator. He worked on the SharePoint 2007, 2010 and 2013 developer platforms, including capabilities like .net APIs, features, web parts and add-ins. On Bing Maps, Mike worked to ship the Universal Windows map control that is a part of Windows 10.  Mike is now back on the SharePoint Developer Ecosystem team and looking forward to helping developers build fantastic things inside of SharePoint. Mike was born in New Jersey, but raised in Arizona.  In his spare time, Mike loves to code, build random things (scenery add-ins for Flight Simulator!), and play Minecraft with his two children.

About the hosts

Richard is a software engineer in Microsoft’s Developer Experience (DX) group, where he helps developers and software vendors maximize their use of Microsoft cloud services in Office 365 and Azure. Richard has spent a good portion of the last decade architecting Office-centric solutions, many that span Microsoft’s diverse technology portfolio. He is a passionate technology evangelist and a frequent speaker at worldwide conferences, trainings and events. Richard is highly active in the Office 365 community, popular blogger at aka.ms/richdizz and can be found on Twitter at @richdizz. Richard is born, raised and based in Dallas, TX, but works on a worldwide team based in Redmond. Richard is an avid builder of things (BoT), musician and lightning-fast runner.

 

A Civil Engineer by training and a software developer by profession, Andrew Coates has been a Developer Evangelist at Microsoft since early 2004, teaching, learning and sharing coding techniques. During that time, he’s focused on .Net development on the desktop, in the cloud, on the web, on mobile devices and most recently for Office. Andrew has a number of apps in various stores and generally has far too much fun doing his job to honestly be able to call it work. Andrew lives in Sydney, Australia with his wife and two almost-grown-up children and is a cricket umpire in his spare time. Andrew sometimes blogs at aka.ms/coatsy and you can find him on Twitter at @coatsy

Useful links

StackOverflow

Yammer Office 365 Technical Network

The post Episode 104 with Mike Ammerlaan on the Developer Preview of the SharePoint Framework—Office 365 Developer Podcast appeared first on Office Blogs.

Now Mac users can make the move from Evernote to OneNote

Thu, 08/18/2016 - 09:00

Since last March, we have helped Windows users import 71 million Evernote pages to OneNote. Following the great feedback we received, we want to help even more people make the move. Today, we are launching the OneNote Importer tool for Mac. You may feel hesitant about moving all your notes from a place you know to a new online home. Don’t worry, the Importer tool makes moving day easy.

Download the OneNote Importer tool.

OneNote lets you work the way you want. You can get your ideas down in a range of ways that include typing, inking, embedding videos, recording audio or clipping web content. If you prefer to use paper and pen, you can even scan that content with OneNote to make it digital, searchable and available from your phone to your laptop. We’ve heard that many Evernote users rely heavily on their clipper. OneNote has a great clipper for all major browsers, available for free at OneNote.com/clipper. We upgrade it all the time, and you can read the OneNote July roundup for the latest updates.

OneNote lets you sync all your notes across all your devices—for free. It is part of the Office family and works seamlessly with Outlook, Word, Excel and PowerPoint to help you stay organized, collaborate and get more done. Following Evernote’s recent price changes—their Premium offer ($69.99/year) is now the same price as Office 365 Personal ($69.99/year). Office 365 gives you OneNote, plus all the Office apps you know and love that are always up to date, and 1 TB of cloud storage.

How to migrate your notes from Evernote 

To get started migrating your Evernote notes to OneNote, you will need:

  • A Mac with OS X 10.11+ (El Capitan). Once your Evernote notes are imported, they’ll sync across all your devices, including PC, iOS and Android, as well as web browsers—for free.
  • To speed up the migration process, it is recommended you have Evernote for Mac installed. Sign in to Evernote for Mac with your Evernote account and make sure your latest notes are synced before importing.

Watch this short video to see how easy it is to use the OneNote Importer tool:

Download the OneNote Importer tool and visit our Support page for more information and step-by-step instructions. And don’t forget to send us feedback and ask questions at OneNote UserVoice or tweet us at @msonenote. The OneNote team wants to do everything possible to help you feel confident about choosing to try OneNote.

—Scott Shapiro, product marketing manager for the OneNote team

The post Now Mac users can make the move from Evernote to OneNote appeared first on Office Blogs.

Individualizing instruction with the new Microsoft Forms

Thu, 08/18/2016 - 08:00

Today’s post was written by Laura Stanner, Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert and technology integration consultant in Dubuque, Iowa.

When teachers and students using Office 365 Education return to school this year, they’ll be greeted with a big, fat “F” in their app launcher!

No, “F” isn’t what you think it means. “F” stands for the “fabulously fantastic” Microsoft Forms.

Microsoft Forms is one of many “welcome-back-to-school gifts” specifically focused on the needs of teachers brought to you by Microsoft engineers.

Forms—created just for teachers and students

Forms was created just for teachers and students to meet our specific needs. The Forms team welcomes honest feedback from its clients—teachers and students.

Knowing that they actually read your feedback, I emailed the Forms team using the Feedback button during my Forms sessions at my agency’s education conference at the end of June. The teachers in my Forms session shared incredible ideas, wish lists and suggestions, but found it hard to believe when I said, “The Forms team cares! I’ve already heard from one of the program managers.” The teachers were absolutely stunned their suggestions mattered. As Microsoft engineers develop brand new educator-focused and student-friendly resources, it reflects Microsoft’s commitment to users in education like myself. And all these improvements I’ve seen in Forms has happened in just a few short weeks—directly because of teacher feedback.

As I prepare for back-to-school professional development sessions, I am excited to share my experience working with the Forms team with teachers I support in my area. I can honestly say my new friendships with the Microsoft engineers, which started with my honest, descriptive, ongoing and timely feedback, is just one example of how Microsoft prioritizes schools’, teachers’ and students’ needs in the classroom.

What is Forms?

Forms is the new “go-to” resource for summative and formative assessments, surveys and so much more! Forms replaces Excel Survey with more user-friendly, engaging and easy-to-manage features. It was made available just under two months ago and the team at Microsoft is already hard at work making it an app for teachers. For example, the team is adding top teacher-requested features like image support, Individual responses (covered in this blog), branching and other improvements to quizzes in Forms. You can click through this interactive guide for Microsoft Forms to get started:

The multiple ways educators and students can use Forms—because of its ease of use—makes it a useful tool for teachers who need easy, efficient and robust tools that include the ability to share information.

Teachers who love digging deeper into data will appreciate that you can also download Forms responses into Excel, too.

Forms is available by default for any student or teacher using Office 365 Education. Talk to your administrator if you don’t see it in your app launcher! In addition, authoring Forms can be done in all major browsers and then completed in any browser or device—even mobile devices.

My favorite feature in Forms—Individual responses

A brand new feature, based on teacher feedback, is Summary responses, which allows teachers to quickly see class-wide trends. Teachers can also “pop out” and project one of the questions in the summary response to watch the pie charts change in real-time with their students, as answers are submitted. That makes for a visually engaging, real-time experience for students, too.

While Summary responses helps teachers see class-wide responses, in today’s classroom teachers also need the ability to capture individual feedback to quickly guide instructional decisions, and more.

That’s why the Individual responses option, linked to Summary responses, is an incredibly welcome addition to Forms, and perhaps my favorite feature!

As a teacher, I now have the ability to identify individual student mastery, struggles and possible needs with a quick click of a button while still accessing whole-group summative data.

And the link between the summative and individual responses is what makes Forms an incredibly valuable tool for educators around the world.

What does “individual response” mean for teachers?

The Individual responses feature gives teachers the ability to quickly:

  • Identify who might need immediate help or support.
  • Create small groups for extra support and planned interventions based on the data.
  • Identify trends of learning or specific needs for individual students.
  • Easily document student growth or lack of growth.
  • Manually add specific skills or standards to their questions based on district expectations.

To do this, simply type in that skill or standard at the end of your question or into the individual answers using the Comment icon. Import responses in Excel to quickly filter/sort based on skill or standard.

What does “individual response” mean for students?

Student also benefit from the Individual responses feature by being able to:

  • Download or save their individual response for their student growth portfolios.
  • Identify potential areas of struggle and success for themselves.
  • Use individual data as a self-reflective resource.
  • Showcase their own learning with their parents/guardians.

A few ideas to use Forms for summative and formative data

Once educators and students dig into Forms, they will find multiple ways to use this resource to meet their specific needs. Here are just a few ideas to get you started that worked for me:

  • Flip-check—While not an official term in Flipped Learning, but a term that made sense for my former students—Flip-check is when have a student complete an assignment (watch a video or complete a reading) and then check their understanding of the lesson before the class. You can assess their comprehension several ways, including having them:
    • Complete a quick quiz.
    • Submit a question for their peers to answer at the beginning of class.
    • Submit a “burning question” about the “flipped” assignment.
  • Rotate and Respond—For classrooms that might use a Rotation Mode of learning, Rotate and Respond is simply when students go to their first rotation, then share a summary of their learning, pose a “burning question” from the learning experience and/or upload and submit a picture or video documenting their findings.

Here are a few examples of Rotate and Respond using Forms for this type of learning experience:

Scenario 1: Science lab stations—At the end of their lab rotation, students access the form through Microsoft Classroom, scan a pre-printed Forms QR code or enter the Forms URL address specific to that station and then:

    • Take a quick quiz. (See Create a quiz form with Microsoft Forms for directions on different types of question options.
    • Submit a summary of their learning using the long-answer text option.
    • Submit a question for the test.
    • Ask a “burning, still-unanswered question” from the lab experience.

Scenario 2: Comprehension station check—After reading, ear-reading or viewing an e-book, students access the form through Microsoft Classroom, scan a pre-printed Forms QR code or enter the Forms URL address specific to that station and then:

    • Take a quick quiz.
    • Submit a summary of their learning using the long-answer text option.
    • Submit a question for the test.
    • Ask that “burning, still-unanswered question” from the reading experience.
    • Rate their book in one question, then in the next question support that rating with a follow-up long-answer text question.

Other ideas for using Forms around your school

Obviously, the assessment options, the ability to identify whole-class trends and individual needs and ease of use makes Forms an incredibly powerful classroom tool to support and guide students toward successfully reaching their learning goals. However, teachers and students will also quickly recognize the value of Forms for other school-related purposes.

Thanks to the ability to apply a deadline to close or lock a form, educators may use Forms to:

  • Survey families about school-related topics.
  • Gather feedback about school-related experiences, such as open houses and conferences, from parents/guardians.
  • Survey school communities by embedding a form on the school website. Student governments and other school organizations could use this to gather information; student journalists could survey school communities for story ideas or yearbook themes.
  • Share a Forms link to a parent support group asking for volunteers and then import to Excel to quickly create volunteer schedules.
  • Capture ordering and information for t-shirts or uniform for a school group.

In addition, administrators and building leadership teams can easily survey teachers to see what professional development opportunities they need as well as to identify school-wide needs, small group needs and individual needs. Administrators might create a master observation form with the teacher standards. That form can then be shared or linked to their OneNote Staff Notebooks.

One final quick and easy idea—entry and exit ticket questions

If you’ve encouraged students to submit questions for their peers, use the questions for “entry and exit tickets” in your classes! This is a simple way to value their responses and recognize their quality thinking and questioning.

When it comes to Forms, the possibilities are just endless!

Adding the “fantastic, fabulous” Forms to your “teacher toolkit” means you can define exactly what anytime, anyplace, anywhere learning looks like in your classroom, school or district.

Clearly, a big, fat “F” in education has been REDEFINED.

Laura Stanner

The post Individualizing instruction with the new Microsoft Forms appeared first on Office Blogs.

Math teachers’ summer collaboration with Office Online in Office 365

Thu, 08/18/2016 - 08:00

Today’s post was written by Cal Armstrong, Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert at Appleby College in Canada.

This year, I had the opportunity to be faculty at the Institute for Advanced Study’s Park City Mathematics Institute (PCMI)—a three-week, residential program for mathematics teachers from around the world. There are three aspects to PCMI: One is discovering (new) mathematics, another is delving deeply into pedagogy and the third is becoming a resource to other teachers. It is the latter in which Office Online has made our summer work possible.

The task in the two-hour afternoon sessions is to develop a resource not for you, but for others. This often takes the form of a professional development seminar, a task collection on a particular theme (i.e., “low floor, high ceiling”) or a rubric or framework for teacher learning.

Now, all that seems pretty manageable. But the teachers are from all over. They don’t know one another. They have different roles (elementary, middle and high school level). They have different curricula and widely varying expertise in professional development. They also all arrive with different devices, many of them school-provided that are subject to a variety of IT restrictions. To top it all off, we only had 14 hours to get everything done; so being efficient, flexible and open was important. We set Office Online and Office 365 to the task!

Initial meetings via Skype, brainstorming in OneNote

The program runs for three weeks starting July 1, but beginning in May, we used a Skype for Business “meeting room” to introduce teachers to each other and the task. They needed to find a theme they’d like to work on, and a partner, since no one works alone. This year, we covered time zones from Amman and Jordan to California. It was nice that the link to the Skype meeting room never changed, and it stayed open for the participants to meet with each other independent of me, the organizer, at their convenience. We were also able to easily record the sessions for people who just couldn’t find a time that worked for them.

We used a OneNote Online notebook to record everyone’s ideas, contact information and resources. This gave everyone an opportunity to describe what they were interested in and read over everyone else’s ideas at their leisure. Adding a table with everyone’s name in the first column ahead of time allowed everyone to just open the OneNote link, click in the cell and add their information. A little structure for new users goes a long way to making the transition to OneNote a lot easier. Several working groups formed and met online ahead of time so that they could hit the ground running in Park City.

When we finally met face-to-face in Park City, I already had everything set up. There was a shared OneDrive folder for their group with the PD Facilitator Guides, a PowerPoint template and a shared OneNote notebook. Since their final project names or descriptions weren’t ready, they were given Utah city names. This worked really well for organizing us physically in the large room we worked in and for keeping their files together. The PCMI 2016 WG folder was only shared with staff so we could keep all the information from the afternoon together.

Inside their OneNote notebook, I created three specific sections for them. As many participants were new to OneNote, this structure gave them easy steps to get used to the program. I created a Notes section, and named the first page Brainstorming; a Research section, in which we could put journal articles; and a For Cal section, where they would drop materials that I needed to look at, such as learning goals, abstracts, trailers for their workshop, etc. I also put a link to their OneDrive (the Bountiful link, in this example) so they could easily jump between the two spaces. The master, shared OneNote notebook we started during the Skype sessions was then shared to everyone. This was basically our clearinghouse of information and scheduling for the 14 days.

Overcoming “Why can’t we use Google Docs?”

One of the first questions I received was why we weren’t using Google Docs. For us, there were several reasons:

  • First, we had used Google Docs in the past, but when we were ready to store and share the documents, there were issues with formatting fidelity across both the documents and the PowerPoint decks. With Office Online, what you see is really what you get when you download in the universal Word or PowerPoint format.
  • Second, we’re located in a ski resort with sometimes dubious Wi-Fi. By using OneNote for their initial development and to store their research and incremental draft copies, participants could continue to work even if the Wi-Fi was really slow or non-existent (and we lost Wi-Fi a couple of times).
  • Third, we wanted to avoid email and disparate information as much as possible. Ten teams can produce a lot of information in a short amount of time. Using OneNote made it easy for me to read, support and provide feedback in one place without having to send email. While you can share documents separately with Google Drive, you can’t share these within the context of other pieces of information. Using OneNote, you can provide a document but also frame it in relationship to the other documents you have, and provide annotated comments and layer information. Being able to truly brainstorm in OneNote—clicking and adding varied types of media/content (ink, audio, files, etc.) wherever you want—is something you can’t do in Google Docs.

Writing, reviewing and sharing work with OneDrive and Office Online

Given that many of the participants were using school laptops, we couldn’t be certain that they had Office installed on their computers, or if it was installed, that it was a recent version. Fortunately, Office Online works really well across devices, allowing them almost the full power of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote in a browser. And of course, simultaneous collaboration (or real-time co-authoring) was very powerful. Since all of the participants were math teachers, they sometimes wanted access to the Equation Editor or other rich functionality, so they would occasionally “drop down” into the desktop version of Word if they had it installed on their PC or Mac.

The participants wrote, edited and shared with other groups for feedback, and then wrote again. That Office Online enables multiple users to seamlessly edit the same document made it so easy to collaborate. Plus, it’s free for OneDrive users.

On the eighth day, all of their work up to that point was to be given to an external reviewer (mathematics educators at universities and schools across the U.S.) for additional feedback. In order to make this work, I created a folder in each of the OneDrive folders called FINAL. Participants put all the files that they wanted the external reviewer to look at in that folder, and I just copied each of these folders into a PCMI 2016 WG Reviews folder (picture above). Since I had everything synced to my laptop, it was a quick step to open two File Explorer windows and drag copies into the folder created for the reviewers.

With that done, I opened up my Excel spreadsheet with all the reviewers’ names, interests and emails, and pasted a sharing link into another column. Next, using Mail Merge in Word, I created an email with instructions, a list of review questions to answer and the sharing link to the folder with all the group’s files that was sent to each reviewer.

A few reviewers used Word Online to add comments to the participants’ files. Others created a new Word document in the folder to add their comments. Most used the PD Criteria Review document template I provided and edited it in Word Online. Once the review was completed, I copied all the reviews from the reviewer folder into the participants’ original OneDrive folders. They could see all of the content the reviewers had seen and all of the comments. It worked beautifully!

With only a few days left to work, participants were asked to put all their final copies in the FINAL folder again. One of the files they had to submit was a two-minute “trailer” for their professional development. Most of them shot the video on their phones and quickly uploaded it into the OneDrive folder. Since my laptop was synced to OneDrive, I could copy all the trailers into another OneDrive folder I shared with the organizer of our sharing afternoon so everyone could see all the trailers and all the other work done at PCMI.

Suzanne Alejandre, of the Math Forum, has been collecting all of our work for 14 years. So I zipped each FINAL folder and put all the zips in another OneDrive folder I shared with her, and now they all reside at mathforum.org/pcmi/hstp/sum2016/wg/pldev/.

And just to continue to reinforce the power of Office Online, I wrote this blog post while on a motorcycle trip. I stopped in at the public library in Billings, Montana, where I was able to open a Word document via my OneDrive account and pull up the participants’ work in their OneDrive folders as needed. Even in the sometimes restrictive environment of a public library, I’m able to view, edit and continue to reflect on what I learned over the summer. Why wouldn’t anyone want this flexibility?

—Cal Armstrong

The post Math teachers’ summer collaboration with Office Online in Office 365 appeared first on Office Blogs.

King’s Schools journey with Sway

Thu, 08/18/2016 - 08:00

Today’s post was written by David Harcrow, academic technology coordinator at King’s Schools in Shoreline, Washington.

I started teaching elementary school in 1998. Back then, technology was really limited to word processing, some PowerPoint and really slow internet—especially at our school. Back then, I was not really involved in using technology in the classroom simply because it seemed very inefficient and lacked a lot of exciting programs for students to use for learning.

As the years went on, technology started to improve, the internet became faster and new programs started to emerge. About six years into my teaching career, I started to see lots of new programs that could impact student learning. Our internet speed started to improve, and programs like Google Earth and YouTube started to present the ability to access content that could be displayed for all students to engage with and share. Still, at that time, projectors weighed 60 pounds and were extremely expensive, so there still were limitations on the amount of use I could get out of these tools. Nobody in our school had an LCD projector, but there was one that could be checked out from the library.

Finally, in my ninth year of teaching, projectors had gotten small and cheap enough that my principal had enough money for me to purchase one for my classroom. This opened up so many doors for my ability as an educator to show content to students in ways that were exciting and kept their attention. We read books online, worked with interactive maps, used interactive math websites to tackle difficult concepts, kept daily class notes online (in Word), used PowerPoint for student reports and much more. Our class was using technology in ways that helped bring learning concepts alive and helped students stay focused, excited and engaged.

Starting the Sway journey at King’s Schools

Two years later, I accepted a position at King’s Schools in Shoreline as the academic technology coordinator. My job was to take everything I learned about technology and how it can positively impact the classroom and present it to other teachers for use in their classrooms.

At that time, a very exciting product came out called Microsoft Live@Edu. I was really excited to see that you could access Microsoft products online even if you did not have a copy of the Microsoft Office Suite at home. I also like the ability for schools to have a specific domain name for emails and individual accounts. At the time, Google had something very similar, so the decision to go with either one of the programs was up in the air.

Even though I was the technology coordinator, I did not have a strong background in computer science or IT, so I needed to reach out to Google and Microsoft for assistance in setting up these accounts for my school, which required some PowerShell, web domain and Active Directory experience. When I reached out to both companies, I immediately heard back from a man named Jonny Chambers at Microsoft. Very soon after, he came to our campus and actually helped our IT department connect all of our students with an account with Live@Edu. Right there, the answer for me was very simple—Live@Edu and Microsoft were our choice in moving forward with anything cloud related. The service we received was top notch and in person. Any time I needed assistance, I receive a response quickly and sometimes even in person.

One of the nice things about being a technology coordinator is I have the ability to spend a lot of time researching programs that help engage students and increase student learning and involvement. No matter what grade you’re in, there are times you need to present information to others, whether it is in small groups or full class. There are many presentation programs—PowerPoint, SlideShare, Animoto, Keynote, Google Slides, Prezi and more—which all have pros and cons and dynamic ways of presenting content for the user.

These presentation tools always seem to have a fairly steep learning curve. They also require the user to spend a fair amount of time with design and layout. Some of them are very linear, while some of them are almost three-dimensional. Some of them are single presenter only, while others allow for peer editing and sharing. The ability to allow for linking and embedding of content and ease of inserting media differs on each.

What I really was looking for was a presentation tool that seemed to have it all: a small learning curve, the ability to share and edit with peers easily and quick setup with less attention to detail and more attention to content.

About a year and a half ago, I was browsing through YouTube and saw this new Microsoft app, Sway. It looked different than all the other presentation products I had seen. It had a different flow to it and it seemed to be fresh and exciting. Naturally, I wanted to try it out right away. My initial impression of Sway was one of great excitement. I really liked how content could be added from various sources within the program itself. One of the things that’s difficult is having to continually leave your active window to find content that you want to add. You have to minimize your presentation app, open another window and start searching. When you find something you want, you either have to save it somewhere and/or cut and paste and open up your presentation window to add. Sway has the ability to search for content of all types—videos, images, tweets—within the same active window, and then merely drag and drop into your Sway. What a fantastic way to stay focused and work efficiently!

Office 365 Education provides instant access to Sway

Since our school already has Office 365 Education accounts (formally Live@Edu), we are able to sign in with these accounts and start utilizing Sway right away. With Office 365 Education accounts, students can easily add to Sway presentations through their same connected OneDrive account. If students have been saving all their Word docs, PowerPoint decks, images, videos and other files to OneDrive, they have instant ability to grab them within the Sway editing view and place their content directly into their presentation.

Sway even works on mobile devices. I have an iPhone, which is set to automatically upload pictures I take directly to OneDrive. The nice thing with that is that now anytime I use Sway to create a report, I can quickly add pictures from my phone to my OneDrive account and then put them directly into a Sway. This saves a lot of time because all of this can happen automatically.

One of the other features that I really like about Sway is the ability to embed websites. Oftentimes, when you are presenting content, you’re also presenting something else from the web. It is very clunky in a presentation to minimize a window and maximize another to share different content. The ability to share a website or webpage within a presentation without leaving the presentation is very seamless and very professional-looking in Sway.

The ability to embed and add pictures and videos is so easy that I have seen 3rd-graders, learning Sway for the first time, do this within 15 minutes of starting the program.

I also like how the program is so easy to share throughout our student community in Office 365. One component of presentation is collaboration, and the easier you make this, the more time will be spent on content than actual setup. Sway makes it very easy to share with others and work together on the same project.

One example of the ability to use Sway for projects was in the 6th grade at King’s Schools. Every year, they have a science project where they host a family science fair night and display a science inquiry that includes a tested hypothesis with results. Hundreds of people attend and look at all the student projects and displays. This year, each student created a Sway presentation that highlighted their science project and their findings, in addition to their physical props. They then created a QR code for their Sway presentation that was placed at their physical presentation booth for the science fair. Parents and families were encouraged to scan the QR codes to view a student’s digital presentation. Teachers, students and families were impressed with the perfect blend of physical presentation with virtual presentation. It was such a hit that the 6th-graders will follow this format again next year.

Wireless projection and tablets are becoming the norm in schools. Presenting Sways with a tablet device is the way that presentations are meant to be. Sway allows for seamless scrolling, which adds very strong eye appeal. The HD pictures I put in Sway are much more vivid and pop better than any other presentation program I have used.

When I present with Sway, especially to people that have never seen it before, I hear a lot of “oohs” and “awes” about how it looks so cool to scroll through the presentation and have many different looks, whether it is an embedded video, a stack of pictures, an external website built within the Sway or even the cool ability to build a Sway within a Sway.

I have specifically heard two of our graduating seniors refer to Sway as their “go-to” for presentation because they can complete a powerful presentation in 30 minutes as opposed to a couple hours.

Feedback and focus on learning

All of these things together, in my mind, make Sway rise to the top when it comes to presenting. The whole idea of spending more time on content and less time on design—especially in a new and dynamic way—makes Sway a very good choice for presenting.

I have seen Sway since its beginning and have been lucky enough to have a connection with the team that created it. Over the last year and a half, the Sway team from Microsoft has listened to its users and made amazing advances in the program, and they continually work toward making presentations dynamic, easy and accessible for all students regardless of their platform. They continue to make game-changing enhancements and add tools that continue to make it a must-use or a “go-to” for presenting.

Technology has come a long way in my 18 years in education. I’m very excited to see tools like Sway begin to emerge as not only fun and exciting ways to present information, but also truly impacting student learning. With Sway, students spend more time focused on the content and less time on the design. When students are more focused on the content, they are truly learning, which is the whole purpose of the presentation.

—David Harcrow

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Back to school with Microsoft Classroom and School Data Sync

Thu, 08/18/2016 - 08:00

It’s back-to-school time in the U.S. and many other countries, and we’re excited to invite you to the Microsoft Classroom Preview and the School Data Sync (SDS) Preview. IT admins can visit the preview instructions right now or (for a limited time) sign up to receive free one-on-one help directly from Microsoft.

Back in April, we announced new experiences for education and we’ve been humbled by the enthusiastic response. Teachers have used Microsoft Classroom and OneNote Class Notebooks to spark student creativity and enable more productive, collaborative classrooms. Schools and partners around the world have jumped on board to use School Data Sync, the easiest way to provision online classrooms in Office 365 Education.

With these products in Office 365 Education, everyone wins. School IT departments can save time and money, teachers can improve student outcomes and students can have better learning experiences. Our partners can more easily integrate with Office 365 and each other, and they can offer richer, more personalized experiences, while also saving time to market. And all of these benefits come at no additional charge.

Teachers save time with Microsoft Classroom

Teachers are busy. Many are passionate about the potential of technology in the classroom, but they’re even more passionate about their students. Teachers told us that they need technology that saves time, so that they can spend more time with their students.

A single experience—Microsoft Classroom is a single experience for managing all classes and assignment workflows for teachers and students. Teachers can use the Office documents and class materials they already have or create new ones using familiar Office applications like Word and PowerPoint.

OneNote just got better—Teachers who like OneNote Class Notebooks will love Microsoft Classroom. It lets them create a Class Notebook for all the students in their class—with just one click. Assignments can reference materials from the Class Notebook, Office documents or online content. Teachers can create assignments for multiple classes at the same time, easily grade submissions and give private feedback. They can even grade offline submissions from students who hand in printed materials.

Classroom collaboration—Microsoft Classroom saves teachers even more time by giving them the ability to share work with their peers. They can reuse Office lesson plans and materials created by other teachers, collaborate to create new ones or have someone else co-teach the class. Students can work together in OneNote and the other Office applications or teach each other in the class discussion boards built in to every class. It all adds up to easier ways to achieve more in the classroom.

We have created an interactive guide, “Introducing Microsoft Classroom,” to give you an overview of Microsoft Classroom.

Online classroom automation with School Data Sync

School Data Sync (SDS) helps schools automatically create online classes used by Microsoft Classroom. It also helps Student Information System (SIS) and app partners to integrate with each other so they can build richer learning experiences for the classroom. SDS supports importing CSV files—so it supports virtually every SIS in the market.

Create teachers, students and classrooms in Office 365—School leaders have consistently told us that online classroom solutions can help accelerate learning. They’ve also told us that it can be costly to maintain the online classrooms because rosters naturally change throughout the year. Many schools store the roster data in the SIS, and many schools build custom solutions to mirror their rosters and user profiles within their online classrooms.

With SDS, IT admins can automatically import user profiles and rosters from their SIS into Office 365. When data in the SIS changes, SDS can sync those changes to Office 365—so classroom rosters always stay up to date. SDS doesn’t update the SIS during this process; the SIS remains the system of record for the roster data.

“It really helped our teachers get off to a running start at the beginning of the school year,” says Rob Dickson, executive director of IMS for Omaha Public Schools. “Typically when you think of the start of the school year, creating all my classes manually is a huge time consumption. School Data Sync automates this task.” To learn more about the Omaha Public Schools journey with SDS, watch this video.

A platform for learning applications—After the user profiles and rosters are imported into Office 365, they become available to third-party applications through the free Azure Active Directory Graph API, so that apps can personalize their learning experiences. For example, reading apps can automatically show appropriate content without asking the student their grade level. With SDS, third-party apps and SIS partners can save costs by integrating with each other through a single platform—Office 365.

Heath Silverman, vice president of Marketing for Edmodo, says, “As the world’s number one K–12 social learning network, Edmodo is dedicated to connecting all learners with the people and resources they need to reach their full potential. Our customers and other app vendors need an easier, more standard way to integrate with the range of SISs in the market. SDS can simplify setup and management of digital classrooms, which makes lives easier for teachers, students and IT.” To learn more about how Edmodo and Microsoft worked together to solve big challenges like this for a large school district, read this article.

Single sign-on and Windows 10—Office 365 also helps app vendors to use single sign-on (SSO), which helps reduce learning friction so teachers can get more done in the classroom. Teachers have told us that it can be a challenge to get a room of 30 students to sign in to apps, especially if each student has a different password. With SSO, when the student is signed in to Office 365, they’re automatically signed in to all their SSO apps. The story gets even better with Windows 10 because it also supports SSO, so students can be automatically signed in to Office 365—and their apps—just by signing in to the device. With Office 365, supporting apps and Windows 10, teachers can get back valuable minutes for classroom instruction.

Get started today

The Microsoft Classroom Preview and the School Data Sync Preview are available in the U.S. and other regions.

Here’s how to get started:

Teachers:

School IT admins:

Partners (join us!):

App vendors:

SIS vendors and System Integrators:

  • Sign up to stay in touch on opportunities with SDS and Office 365.

We’re excited by the opportunity that these services bring to education. We hope you like them and we’re looking forward to hearing your feedback. Please let us know what you think.

The post Back to school with Microsoft Classroom and School Data Sync appeared first on Office Blogs.

Sway design tips and new templates

Wed, 08/17/2016 - 09:00

Sway just passed its one-year mark, and we are very inspired to see millions of users from all over the globe using Sway in their work and personal lives. We hope to serve even more people by delivering on our promise to make it effortless to create and share content with colleagues, family and friends.

To achieve this goal, our team takes user feedback to heart—constantly testing and iterating on our user experience. Since we’ve received numerous requests to show you how to navigate through Sway’s style features, we thought it would be helpful to publish some tips to help you make the most out of Sway.

Remix

First, let’s begin with our new Portfolio template as a sample Sway. Sway templates start you off with a color palette, layout and sample content. If you like the first combination you see, you can move on to the other tips below. But if you were looking for something different, click the Remix button on the top navigation bar and Sway will give you various combinations to select.

Here is a sample of different combinations you can get by pressing the Remix button a few times:

As you can see, the color scheme, font and layout all dynamically change and the differences become more apparent when you scroll through the Sways. The idea here is similar to having a designer by your side who whips up various styles options without you having to do a lot of work on your part.

Design

If you want to be more deliberate in the way you change your Sway’s style, you can also click the Design button on the top navigation bar. This opens up a Design pane that shows you a preview of the various style combinations you can select. Styles in the same row differ in small ways, like font and background, while styles in different rows change more substantially, such as in layout and structure.

Customize (in Design)

Once you find a style that works for you, the Customize button in the Design pane offers you the ability to fine-tune specific elements in your Sway. For instance, you can change just the color palette—keeping the rest of the Sway format intact. You can also customize font styles, font size and degree of animation.

Layout

The last major style element you can modify is your Sway’s layout. The Portfolio template we started from employs a Vertical layout, where the document moves from top to bottom, much like how most web pages work today.

You can easily switch the way your Sway flows. Simply select Layout on the top navigation bar and then select either vertically scrolling layout (top icon), horizontally scrolling layout (middle icon) or screen-by-screen, optimized for presentation layout (bottom icon).

Here is how the same Sway looks in Horizontal layout:

As with all the other functions, Sway makes it easy for you to change your Layout in just a few clicks. The app does all the work of reformatting everything else—so you won’t need to spend hours moving around your sections, text boxes, images and other content.

Undo/Redo and Duplicate

As you work on getting to your ideal Sway, don’t forget to use the Undo and Redo buttons on the top navigation bar in case you change your mind about some style changes. And if you want to use a particular style for all your Sways, you can use the Duplicate this Sway function in the section to create a copy for future use.

Photo tips

As a bonus, these last few tips are easy ways to make sure your photos show up great. First, you can set how Sway displays your photo by clicking on the image or image card, selecting Focus Points and then selecting the parts that are most important to you.

You can mark specific areas in the photo that you want Sway to highlight or select The entire image is important checkbox. Sway automatically adjusts how your photo shows up and emphasizes certain areas based on your selection.

Second, you can select different sizes for your photos by clicking the image card and then selecting either Subtle, Moderate or Intense. Subtle will use the smallest image size, Moderate the medium image size and Intense the largest image size that will still look good with the rest of your Sway.

Lastly, you can Group your text, photos and other Sway cards when you want them to show up together in specific ways. In the example below, we first picked the photos we wanted to group together by selecting the checkboxes at the lower right of the cards. Next, we clicked the Group button, which opened up the Group Type pane, and selected the second Slideshow from the pane. The Sway preview shows you how the photos are instantly grouped together in a left-to-right Slideshow, with a preview bar at the bottom.

New Sway templates

We recently released several new templates to help you get started on your Sway. You can find them in the My Sways page under Start from a template. Some of our favorites are featured on our new Land your dream job site. We partnered with careers expert Maxie McCoy to create free resume, portfolio and blog post templates to help aspiring job hunters, artists and writers land their dream jobs—or simply have another great way to showcase their work.

We hope you find our tips useful and have learned a bit more on how to make the most of your Sway. As always, we’d love to hear your feedback on how to further improve our app in the Sway UserVoice.

—The Sway team

Get Sway | Follow Sway

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Social collaboration improves an organization’s ability to react quickly to new data and information

Mon, 08/15/2016 - 09:00

The social and collaborative tools built into Office 2016 and Windows 10 allow you to take your teamwork to the next level.

An online immersion session is not your typical online event. Each 90-minute interactive session starts with an online roundtable discussing your business challenges and then launches into a live environment in the cloud. A skilled facilitator will guide you through simulated business scenarios that are customized to your interests.

We will send you a link to connect your own device to a remote desktop loaded with our latest and greatest technology, so you can experience first-hand how Microsoft tools can solve your biggest challenges in a collaborative, fun environment.

Online immersion sessions help you discover how to:

  • Keep information secure while being productive—Make it easier to work securely and maintain compliance without inhibiting your workflow.
  • Capture, review and share notes from anywhere—Boost your team’s productivity by sharing documents and collaborating in real time.
  • Use social tools to find experts and answers—Break down barriers between departments to share knowledge quickly.
  • Quickly visualize and analyze complex data—Zero in on the data and insights you need without having to involve a BI expert.
  • Co-author and share content quickly—Access and edit documents even while others are editing and reviewing them—all at the same time.

Expect to leave the session with enough time-saving skills to more than offset your time investment within a few short days.

Each session is only open to 20 participants. Reserve your seat now and learn how you can be more productive anywhere, anytime with Office 365.

Sessions are held at 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. PT every Wednesday. Register now!

The post Social collaboration improves an organization’s ability to react quickly to new data and information appeared first on Office Blogs.

Yammer adds mobile application management capabilities through Intune

Thu, 08/11/2016 - 09:00

People are increasingly using apps for work on their personal mobile devices. This is especially true of “deskless” workers—employees who spend most of their work day away from a desk—in industries like retail, manufacturing, healthcare, airlines and consulting. In the case of Yammer’s customers, an employee might use the Yammer mobile app to help customers in-store or share customer feedback with colleagues. In other scenarios, employees might access Yammer when they are in transit or working remotely.

This trend of using personal mobile devices for work presents a challenge for IT departments that want to ensure the security of company data, especially those concerned about unintentional data leaks.

Today, we’re excited to announce an update to the Yammer apps for iOS and Android that allows IT administrators to protect their corporate data using mobile application management (MAM) controls in Microsoft Intune. Using Intune, organizations can provide their employees with access to corporate apps, data and resources on their personal mobile devices while protecting their corporate data with a rich set of mobile device management, mobile application management and PC management capabilities delivered from the cloud. Read the Intune blog post for more details.

(Left) Message on the iOS app informs users that their IT department has enabled MAM. (Right) Prompt on the Android app asks users to set a PIN to access the app in future.

Administrators can now apply different policies for the Yammer apps. These policies include requiring a PIN or corporate credentials to access the apps, limiting data sharing between apps and remotely wiping out data on the apps. For a complete list of supported policies, please review the Manage Yammer with Microsoft Intune support article.

IT departments can use the Intune admin console to set policies for iOS and Android apps.

All of these policies are available for use on both mobile device management (MDM) enrolled devices and on unmanaged devices through Intune’s MAM without enrollment capabilities. MAM without enrollment is a great option for BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) scenarios, where you want to keep corporate data safe without managing a user’s device. To enforce MAM policies, users should be authenticated to Yammer by Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) accounts through Office 365 sign-in.

The updated app will be available in the Google Play and iOS App stores today.

—The Yammer team

The post Yammer adds mobile application management capabilities through Intune appeared first on Office Blogs.

Episode 103 with Ben Parker on building tools for massive Office 365 tenants—Office 365 Developer Podcast

Thu, 08/11/2016 - 09:00

In episode 103 of the Office 365 Developer Podcast, Andrew Coates talks with Ben Parker from Codify about building tools for massive Office 365 tenants.

http://officeblogspodcastswest.blob.core.windows.net/podcasts/EP103_BenParker.mp3

Download the podcast.

Excel as a calculation service  by Richard Custance

Are you sure your SharePoint intranet won’t break  by Waldek Mastykarz

Office Dev PnP Webcast – Integrating Angular v1.x to SharePoint Framework client side web part

Office 365 and SharePoint Patterns & Practices – August 2016 release

Office.js docs on Github

Show notes

Applying DevOps principals in applications integrated with Office 365 Evergreen by Ben Parker

Behind the Curtain: Running Exchange Online by Perry Clarke and Vivek Sharma

Visual Studio Build Monitor: First Play with Windows 10 IoT by Ben Parker

A Raspberry Pi3 VSTS Build Light by Anthony Borton

Got questions or comments about the show? Join the O365 Dev Podcast on the Office 365 Technical Network. The podcast RSS is available on iTunes or search for it at “Office 365 Developer Podcast” or add directly with the RSS feeds.feedburner.com/Office365DeveloperPodcast.

About Ben Parker 

Ben is an IT Professional who has been working in the industry for over 15 years with expertise in many areas including financial, utilities, events and government. Recently, Ben has been working in the areas of technical delivery on enterprise projects and large events. Ben is an active member of the IT Community in his native Brisbane.

About the hosts

Richard is a software engineer in Microsoft’s Developer Experience (DX) group, where he helps developers and software vendors maximize their use of Microsoft cloud services in Office 365 and Azure. Richard has spent a good portion of the last decade architecting Office-centric solutions, many that span Microsoft’s diverse technology portfolio. He is a passionate technology evangelist and a frequent speaker at worldwide conferences, trainings and events. Richard is highly active in the Office 365 community, popular blogger at aka.ms/richdizz and can be found on Twitter at @richdizz. Richard is born, raised and based in Dallas, TX, but works on a worldwide team based in Redmond. Richard is an avid builder of things (BoT), musician and lightning-fast runner.

 

A civil engineer by training and a software developer by profession, Andrew Coates has been a Developer Evangelist at Microsoft since early 2004, teaching, learning and sharing coding techniques. During that time, he’s focused on .Net development on the desktop, in the cloud, on the web, on mobile devices and most recently for Office. Andrew has a number of apps in various stores and generally has far too much fun doing his job to honestly be able to call it work. Andrew lives in Sydney, Australia with his wife and two almost-grown-up children and is a cricket umpire in his spare time. Andrew sometimes blogs at aka.ms/coatsy and you can find him on Twitter at @coatsy

Useful links

StackOverflow

Yammer Office 365 Technical Network

The post Episode 103 with Ben Parker on building tools for massive Office 365 tenants—Office 365 Developer Podcast appeared first on Office Blogs.

Keep your email secure with Office 365

Wed, 08/10/2016 - 09:00

As the person responsible for supporting a mobile workforce, you face complicated and ever-changing threats like data privacy, security and advanced threat protection. Viruses and hacks are real threats that cause damage to businesses every day, and email protection must be at the top of your list.

With this in mind, we created an advanced secure email service with Office 365.

Here are just a few of the ways Office 365, including Exchange Online and Outlook, protects your business’s emails:

Data privacy and security

It’s your data; you control and manage access with incident reports, proactive controls to maintain compliance and secure mobile freedom. You’ll be confident about where your data is, who has access and what happens to it—with the added bonus of a 99.9 percent uptime commitment—and you can be sure it won’t be mined for ads or shared with third parties.

Enterprise-level authentication and security certification

There’s no need for additional virus software for advanced protection. When tackling external threats, use Exchange Online Advanced Threat Protection to secure email inboxes against sophisticated attacks in real time. You’re in control of internal protection: controlling access permissions with information rights management (IRM) to keep unauthorized people from printing, forwarding or copying sensitive information; and controlling transport rules, actions and exceptions with data loss prevention (DLP).

Mobile freedom without compromise

Odds are, someone at your business will use mobile email access; most businesses can’t work without it. Now, 93 percent of businesses have remote workers who rely on mobile technology for mobile productivity. Don’t choose between mobile access or data security; mobile device management (MDM) enables you to manage Office 365 access across devices, and other features prevent unauthorized access.

Protecting your business, however, means more than just safeguarding your inbox from spam and viruses. Office 365 adheres to 10 privacy compliance standards and automatically provides business users with the most up-to-date apps, as soon as they launch. To learn more about these security features, check out our eBooks, “Your Business, Secured” and “5 questions executives should be asking their security teams.”

The post Keep your email secure with Office 365 appeared first on Office Blogs.

React quickly to new data and information using Office 365 and Windows 10

Tue, 08/09/2016 - 09:00

React quickly to new data and information using Office 365 and Windows 10.

An online immersion session is not your typical online event. These 90-minute interactive sessions start with an online roundtable discussing your business challenges and then launch into a live environment in the cloud. A skilled facilitator guides you through simulated business scenarios that are customized to your interests.

We will send you a link to connect your own device to a remote desktop loaded with our latest and greatest technology, so you can experience first-hand how Microsoft tools can solve your biggest challenges in a collaborative, fun environment.

Online immersion sessions help you discover how to:

  • Keep information secure while being productive—Make it easier to work securely and maintain compliance without inhibiting your workflow.
  • Capture, review and share notes from anywhere—Boost your team’s productivity by sharing documents and collaborating in real time.
  • Use social tools to find experts and answers—Break down barriers between departments to share knowledge quickly.
  • Quickly visualize and analyze complex data—Zero in on the data and insights you need without having to involve a BI expert.
  • Co-author and share content quickly—Access and edit documents even while others are editing and reviewing them—all at the same time.

Expect to leave the session with enough time-saving skills to more than offset your time investment within a few short days.

Each session is only open to 20 participants. Reserve your seat now and learn how you can be more productive anywhere, anytime with Office 365.

Sessions are held at 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. PT every Wednesday. Register now!

The post React quickly to new data and information using Office 365 and Windows 10 appeared first on Office Blogs.

Carvajal switches to Office 365 for faster business, reduced costs

Tue, 08/09/2016 - 09:00

Today’s Microsoft Office 365 post was written by Jaime Parra Mutis, corporate IT director at Carvajal.

Keep business information both accessible and safe—a challenge in any scenario, but especially difficult when you operate myriad business divisions in 15 countries. That’s what we face at Carvajal, where our divisions produce everything from office furniture and educational software to commercial printing and packaging. We also strive to make our large, diverse company operate as a cohesive organization. It can be tough to coordinate meetings and collaborate among 20,000 employees in so many different divisions dispersed throughout South and North America.

A few years ago, we decided to standardize our technology environment to make it easier to reach across geographic and divisional borders and unite our workforce. For example, we needed to consolidate all the different communications systems we’d been supporting and establish a more stable email infrastructure that would help us reduce hardware and administration costs. So we moved from our range of on-premises software to Google Apps.

But we soon found that employees had to take extra steps to accomplish their work. This was due to the lack of integration between our Google solutions and our Microsoft systems, particularly Microsoft Office, which employees depend on for daily productivity. For example, employees encountered issues when they tried to publish documents because their formatting didn’t stay consistent, and they struggled to find ways to collaborate efficiently. We knew we needed to make a change, and in 2015, we chose to migrate to Microsoft Office 365 and completed our migration successfully with help from Microsoft Services Premier Support.

Switching from Google Apps to Office 365 has been a savvy move for Carvajal. We saw right away how much easier it is now for employees everywhere to share information and work together using any device. We’re implementing workflow processes in Microsoft SharePoint Online and taking advantage of Office 365 Groups to help us streamline our operations even further. And it doesn’t matter whether employees are working from an office or hotel, a smartphone or a traditional computer—they stay productive no matter what. Plus, our employees are happy to be back using Microsoft Outlook, which is where they’re most comfortable working. The best part is that everything interoperates in a way that supports connected teamwork.

There are plenty of reasons why we’re pleased that we adopted Office 365, most of which relate to companywide collaboration and efficiency. We appreciate that now we’re able to extend the number of attendees on our video calls using Skype for Business, because greater employee input gives us the opportunity to make more informed decisions. We also plan to expand use of our Yammer corporate social network to make it simple for all our business divisions to share best practices, comment on projects and tap into the company’s full knowledge base for fast answers to problems.

Our IT staff members are as happy with Office 365 as their colleagues. For example, they spend far less time now on hardware and software administration, focusing instead on new projects that support the business. The company also benefits from having more secure data in an environment that complies with important international standards. That’s significant to us because we operate in so many industries in which it’s critical to adhere to regulations, and we count on Microsoft to help keep us protected and compliant.

We’re making it easier for employees to communicate with each other and collaborate on a huge array of projects. Ultimately, that helps us develop products quicker and be more responsive to our customers and their needs. That’s smart business.

—Jaime Parra Mutis

The post Carvajal switches to Office 365 for faster business, reduced costs appeared first on Office Blogs.

Cross-classroom collaboration—student scientists as teachers

Tue, 08/09/2016 - 08:59

Today’s post was written by Cheryl McClure, science teacher and MIE Expert at the International School in Bellevue, Washington.

Collaboration is the name of the game in education these days. We want students to be able to converse and collaborate in the classroom. But what if we add technology to collaborate across grade levels or even to other schools? As a school district with Office 365 it is pretty easy to do. In my school, we are fortunate to be a school where each student receives a district-issued laptop for the school year. The fact that we have technology at our fingertips makes this technology collaboration easier. We utilize Skype for communications with another school, take notes in OneNote class notebooks, make videos or use Sway and PowerPoint Mix as presentation tools. We also use Docs.com as a platform for sharing.

For an introductory chemistry unit, my middle school science students became the teachers to a class of 1st– graders in another school. When 7th-grade students were tasked with creating “States of Matter” lessons for younger learners, they had to ask themselves, “Can 1st-graders even understand what a molecule is?”

Since our two schools were across town, we Skyped a series of introduction calls to meet each other. We chatted with the 1st-graders in three different sessions, since they were only one class and we had three classes. The 7th-graders absolutely fell in love with the 1st-graders, with their endless questions about a myriad of topics, while the 1st-graders were in awe of the knowledgeable big kids.

Student scientists as teachers

As the 7th-graders began learning the core ideas of solids, liquids and gases, we used the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCI) for middle and elementary grade levels as our benchmarks for understanding. In order to best understand the science of the states of matter, we first played with oobleck (corn starch and water) to experience an amorphous solid—a solid that flows like a liquid when pressure is applied.

We followed this by experimenting with dry ice (CO2), an ice cube, water and heat to watch all three states of matter within a few moments. Lastly, students worked through a series of online simulated labs to further build their foundational understanding of the energy and particle nature of matter.

After discussing the key concepts of the states of matter, students made a list of learning objectives and determined the story or theme to teach solids, liquids and gases to the 1st-graders. The goal was to teach the basic idea of what makes up a state of matter and how to know if it is a liquid or a solid. The 7th-graders began brainstorming how best to engage their young audience to demonstrate the different states of matter and how the energy of the particles changes between states. Finally, students had to figure out how best to stay scientifically correct, but simple enough for a 1st-grader to understand.

Students organized their work into our OneNote Science class notebook, where they wrote up their notes, lab observations and even planned their group tasks for developing their lessons. The OneNote Collaboration Space makes it extremely easy for students to share what they are working on with each other without multiple copies or lost papers floating around.

Utilizing technology to master science concepts

The students agreed that the lesson needed the following elements:

  • Scientific content.
  • An engaging, age-appropriate format.
  • Examples for 1st-graders to confirm their observations as a solid or a liquid.
  • A wrap-up summary.

They then made their lessons into videos, Sways or a PowerPoint Office Mix. Since we had just been introduced to Docs.com, we were eager to try Microsoft’s new sharing platform for Word documents, Sways and Mixes.

A great feature of Docs.com is a pop-up summary that allows a viewer to quickly see what the content is prior to opening the document. This meant that students had to write their own brief “marketing” summaries of their lessons. The purpose of the summaries was to help guide which lesson the 1st-grade teacher and students would watch. Once their summaries were written, we uploaded the lessons to Docs.com. Another nice feature is the ability to set the privacy settings to either public or within an organization, which is especially helpful within a school and district setting.

We Skyped again after the 1st-graders had time to watch and learn from our science lessons. The 1st-graders shared which lessons they liked best and which ones they thought were silly. We answered to clarify their questions about how an object could change from a liquid to solid and vice versa. We also learned that sometimes 1st-graders understand that a rock is just rock and we shouldn’t make it too complicated. The outcomes were positive: the 7th-graders mastered their understanding of states of matter and the 1st-graders reported they loved our lessons and the variety and creativity.

Cross-class collaboration for content

Traditionally, science lessons begin with a lecture of content material, such as the amount of energy in a given state of matter. Next, students dutifully write down the concept, vocabulary and complete the worksheet. Hopefully the lesson is learned.  Although this may be tradition, it also may not be the best way to learn, remember and engage with the science in the world around us. We are science “doers.” We learn by doing. Watch any toddler figure out the world around them: they try, experiment, re-try and then show us what they have learned. The same applies to us and our students. Using collaborative technology, 7th-grade students became not only teachers but creators, role models and collaborators. The 1st-grade students were not only our inspiration but also our selective consumers, providers of feedback and our collaborators as well. Once we try something for ourselves, we master what we learn by showing or explaining it to others. Students are excellent teachers, and when students have technology as a tool, they are immeasurably creative when it comes to teaching others. Kids get a kick out of watching, reacting and listening to their voices. It’s a powerful tool for learning.

I presented this classroom collaboration partnership at the MIEE U.S. Forum in Denver and at a Redefining Learning Conference at Sammamish High School. Watch a short clip here: cross-classroom collaboration demo or see the Sway here: school partnerships Sway on Docs.com.

A little bit about Cheryl McClure

I am a science teacher who is totally geeky about science education, technology, soccer and sailing. I teach 6th-grade Life Science, 7th-grade Earth Science and high school Biology at the International School in Bellevue, Washington. I am passionate about utilizing technology to assist the “ah-ha” moment of discovery and understanding. I am Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert (MIEE) and member teacher in the Partnership for Ambitious Science Teacher Leaders (PASTL).

(Artwork courtesy of one of Cheryl’s Biology students.)

 

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