Microsoft has a wide variety of FREE tools for teachers and students to use in their classrooms. On this page, I share some of my favorites and where to get them.
Ready to get started?
Not a day goes by that Microsoft doesn’t announce new ways of engaging students and educators with Microsoft-based technology tools! Here are some of the ways Microsoft is engaging in education!
Free Office 365 Online Account
Get your free Office.com/teachers account and get started! Students and teachers, get the online versions of Office plus 1 TB online storage for free! And, there are 100s of education apps in the Microsoft Store.
Have Office 365 in your work environment?
Whether you are a classroom teacher or professional learning facilitator (or coach), you can use free Microsoft tools to create an online teaching and learning space. Take advantage of a “light” learning management system (LMS) option to make it easy for you and your students to gather, share, and collect resources for students and colleagues. Schools are depending on one of the solutions below to create a digital presence for staff and/or student sharing.
MS Classroom plus OneNote Class Notebook make it easy to issue assignments, track those assignments in calendars, engage students in conversations, aligned to individual assignments or for group work. With OneNote Class Notebook, teachers can distribute handouts, resources, as well as grade student work using digital ink, and that syncs to MS Classroom gradebook!
And, staff/students have access to Word, Powerpoint, Excel Online, OneDrive cloud storage and Microsoft Forms with built-in quiz and QR code functionality.
We'll introduce you to Microsoft Sway so that you can create and share interactive reports, presentations, assignments, projects, and more.
What is Sway?
- Sway is a presentation program that allows users to combine text and media to create a presentable captivating presentations
- Sway also allows for collaborative document creation! Multiple users can connect and build together
- Sways are stored on Microsoft's servers and are tied to the user's Microsoft account
- Getting Started with MS Sway
- Inserting Cards
- Exploring Sway in Schools
Let's get started!
#3 - Exploring Sway in Schools
10 ways to use Sway in the Classroom
Sway is 100% teacher friendly and can be used in variety of different ways. Check out my top ten ideas below to get you thinking of ways to use Sway in your teaching.
- Presentations – Teachers and students can use Sway as a presentation tool for learning
- eTextbooks – create your own eTextbook with links, information, videos, images and questions. You can then direct students to different website, using Sway as the base learning pathway
- Picture Books – get students to create a storybook using Sway
- Experiment and Research Reports – use sway to show research, experiment videos and results. You could even make your next science report using Sway
- Artwork or Multimedia Portfolio – Use Sway as a product portfolio to show a number of your own creations. Spend some time to explain what your project was, and why you created it
- Dictionary – Sway would make n awesome picture dictionary for English as Another Language or Language Other Than English students. Set groups the task to create dictionaries complete with audio tracks (uploaded to sound cloud)
- Book and Film Reviews – This multimodal tool makes a wonderful platform for students to create literacy focussed tasks such as reviews and analysis pieces
- Professional Learning Resource – Create a Sway for professional learning by bringing together links, help, examples and advice for teacher colleagues with which you are working
- Flipped Learning content delivery – use Sway to deliver your unit of study. Bring all the content together and allow students to view it at home in one space. Share the link, and you’re done
- School Showcases – Bring the best of your school together, simply choose images, text and video then embed your Sway on the front page of your school website. What a cool new way to share your school’s success.
#2 - Inserting Cards
The INSERT menu enables you to search the Internet and add a wide variety of content (check list below) to your Sway.
One neat point is that Sway keeps track of the source of the item that you add to your Sway!
You can insert all sorts of content into Sway!
Sways are composed of multiple cards that are combined into a storyline. Cards are containers that hold text, images and videos.
You can combine cards into groups. A collection of cards make up the storyline.
In addition to adding text, media, and group cards, you can easily incorporate tons of external content! See list below.
Interactive Multimedia in Sway - https://sway.com/IoxJQBigNCnNnrgZ
The Cards Menu
These card types allow you to quickly insert content.
The Text Set
This card set allows you to add headings and text content.
The Group Set
Group cards let you combine your cards as shown to organize and present your message. You can use embedded slideshows, a grid, and several others.
The Media set
This set allows you to incorporate image, video, tweets, audio, and embed content. This last item (embed) gives you access to a wide variety of sources on the Web.
Content You Can Embed
Sway currently supports embedding content from the following sites:
- Esri ArcGIS Online
- Google Calendar
- Google Docs
- Google Forms
- Google Maps
- Microsoft Channel 9
- Microsoft Docs.com
- Microsoft Office Mix
- Microsoft OneDrive (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and PDF documents)
- Microsoft Power BI
- Microsoft Pulse
- Microsoft Sway
- Poll Everywhere
#1 - Getting Started with MS Sway
Get Started with Sway
- Sign in using your Microsoft account (you could use a hotmail.com, outlook.com, live.com etc) to the Sway website
- Create a new Sway – you’ll soon see the below interface pop up
- Give your Sway a name – Add a title and image and click on the small cross to add a new content area. Think of these areas as pages on a PowerPoint file
- Add some content to your Sway – When you click on the + Sign you will be given the option to add a ‘Heading, Text, Media, Upload’. Choose the appropriate content
- Arrange your section – Use the Layout Button and then the Change Layout area to move around the parts within your sections
- Add Media – When you add media you have a choice of a number of sources. Some may or may not work with a filtered school environment. If this is the case, you can just choose to upload your own content. As you can see below, you can bring media across from a number of sources. All this media applicable for use under creative commons
- Choose the Mood of your Sway – in the top right hand of the interface is an area where you can choose themes and fonts for your Sway. Navigate through ‘Mood’ to choose the theme you like, or choose ‘remix’ for Sway to suggest a theme to you
- Publish your Sway – Once done, choose ‘share’ and get the link for your Sway. You can then share this with anyone in anyway you would usually share. Options for Embedding or sharing through social media are also in this area.
Source: Pip Cleaves