As the end of the first half term is now upon us, I wanted to talk about the opportunities teachers have to help make a difference in the classroom. When I was Director of IT at my last school, I always tried to get teachers and pupils to work with technology as part of a whole approach to improving the quality of their teaching and learning. Appropriate, well planned use of ICT can be the silver bullet to help improve the understanding of a concept or expand on a pupil’s knowledge of a particular subject.
I’m reminded of a great quote I first came across at BETT 2019 when listening a wonderfully inspiring primary school teacher talking about how she uses the Microsoft Cloud to support effective teaching and learning and raise expectations in her class.
Technology will never replace great teachers – but technology in the hands of great teachers can be transformational.George Couros
High quality, deeper learning
I would like to take this one step further by saying the same about high quality, deeper learning. Technology on its own can never replace good quality learning and hard work, but as students learn to use ICT selectively, when and where appropriate in the same way they would select any other tool or technique, effective and confident learning can take place.
The Microsoft Cloud is one such great toolbox full of applications that can help transform teaching and support high quality, effective learning.
With BETT 2022 fast approaching in January next year – let’s take a look at a few now:
Microsoft Teams allows teachers and students to access their online or hybrid classroom instantly, whenever required. Not only a service to support school closures during lockdown, Teams can be used to help schools promote the concept of “anytime and anywhere” learning beyond the boundaries of the traditional classroom. Combining Teams with School Data Sync to make use of the set, student timetable and class information stored in your School Information System makes Microsoft Teams a really powerful solution.
Immersive Reader is a full screen reading experience to increase the readability of content in documents. The Immersive Reader is part of the Microsoft 365 applications, including Teams and SharePoint, and is designed to support students with dyslexia and dysgraphia in the classroom, but can support anyone who wants to make reading on their device easier. In combination with the online Translation tools, the Immersive Reader is a great tool to support those who may have English as a second language.
Microsoft Forms allows a teacher to quickly and easily create surveys, quizzes and polls. They can be setup in minutes and easily shared with students either directly with a link or QR code, or embedded into Teams and SharePoint sites. They are a great way to check how a class has understood a particular topic and allows students to feed-back to a teacher in real-time during a lesson – regardless if that’s in the classroom or remotely. Quizzes can be transformed into richer teaching materials by adding videos to the questions, too. Forms allow teachers to build up a series of interactive resources that can be used for multiple classes and consumed on multiple devices without the need for any code or specialist IT skills.
How to get started
AspiraCloud helps schools and Multi Academy Trusts work smarter with Microsoft Cloud to develop a modern workplace for teaching and learning. Get in touch today to see how we can help enhance your classroom experience with Microsoft Cloud.