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As schools make a pacy move to cloud-based learning platforms, recommendations on what to kick off first (and what not to do at all!) can help make this transition so much smoother for everyone. Share your top tips here to celebrate what you’ve learned and help thousands of school leaders across the country.

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See tips from leaders like you below.

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Use Microsoft Teams for the social side of school, too

Added 17 April 2020

Our teachers set up video calls for pupils that aren't directly related to learning so they can chat to each other and keep in touch. A teacher sits in to supervise, like they would in the playground.

It's also important to educate pupils about chat function etiquette - how their messages might come across, the fact they might be addressing 60 people at once, and that you can't hear tone in a message. These are things they might never have had to think about before.

Shared by Sarah Dawkins, headteacher, Danesfield School

Great idea

Keep all your staff on the same page with Microsoft Teams, and use Forms to get feedback from parents

Added 17 April 2020

Make it clear which features you expect staff to use and which ones they don’t need to worry about. Set expectations on how staff should keep in touch with each other, and how regularly they should check in on each other. We've made Teams our central comms hub - everything comes through here.

Use Microsoft Forms to regularly seek parents’ views - keep checking that what you’re doing is working, and find out if there's anything they'd like to change. We sent a form to parents at the end of the spring term, and will iterate based on feedback in the summer term.

Shared by Paul Edge, assistant headteacher, Ribblesdale High School

Great idea

Use the immersive reader to make activities accessible to more pupils

Added 13 May 2020

The immersive reader built into Teams lets us deliver learning to all of our pupils. Start with simple tasks for your class to do, and support them by uploading pictures (especially for younger pupils). You can also use Microsoft Forms to create wellbeing questionnaires for your pupils.

Shared by Kate Keaveny, SENCO, All Saints Church of England Primary School.

Twitter: @kojk30

Great idea

Get confident with Teams first, then start using OneNote Class Notebooks for work and feedback

Added 26 April 2020

The first thing I would encourage people to get to grips with is Microsoft Teams. It is a brilliant way to quickly, efficiently and effectively communicate to a whole class of students. The ability to answer students’ questions ‘live’ via the chat function really helps avoid misunderstandings. 

Once you and your students are up to speed on Teams, you can start to think about increasing the complexity of set tasks and take advantage of the collaboration features allowed via Office 365. I would encourage you to use a OneNote Class Notebook which integrates into a class Team. It’s brilliant for checking students are completing their work, allows you to give feedback easily (whilst students are working, if you wish) and can really help students with SEND due to built-in learning tools.

Shared by James Hoyle, assistant headteacher, Skipton Girls' High School

Twitter: @rockiestop

Great idea

Track student engagement with the Insights app in Teams

Added 13 May 2020

Add the Insights tab to your team to see exactly when students are active and what they do, as well as aggregated data such as the percentage of students actively engaged in Teams that day, average grades etc. You can even see who's viewing each file, if you enable this feature in SharePoint. Alongside data from marked work and any forms you've sent to pupils, you can build a picture of pupil progress over time. 

Keeping track of engagement, and following up in Teams or by traditional means, will help you to ensure that students aren't facing barriers to using the platform. Set some expectations for how staff should use this data and the actions they might take to reward engagement or to follow up on concerns.

Shared by Mark Guest, director of data systems, Woolwich Polytechnic School for Boys.

Twitter: @teach_technol

Great idea

Set 'family challenges' in Teams

Added 25 April 2020

We're using the assignments tab in Teams to set family challenges - both social and learning based, like:

  • Digimapping daily walks
  • Taking part in an RE art competition

Children upload their pictures or work, staff give feedback and award points. We use the 'Posts' tab to keep a sense of class identity. It's lovely to see teachers and children chatting as they would in school - receiving feedback on their home learning and getting general encouragement.

Shared by Alison Reakes-Williams, headteacher, Astley Church of England Primary School.

Twitter: @astleyschool

Great idea

Let pupils engage with their teachers with Teams' Q&A function

Added 14 May 2020

All our students receive live lessons each day via Microsoft Teams Live meetings. Students can access more work on our class and hub sites. During live lessons, students get the ability to engage with teachers via Teams' Q&A feature, which helps our staff give pupils a really good experience.

We also use Teams for weekly tutor sessions to support pupils, as well as staff meetings. Having a consistent tool for teaching, learning, and general communication keeps things simple for staff and pupils.

Shared by David Green, vice principal, Shireland Collegiate Academy.

Great idea
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