Even without internet at home, students can keep learning
adopted from https://www.blog.google/outreach-initiatives/education/offline-access-covid19/
If your school is operating virtually as a result of COVID-19, you may be wondering how to continue teaching students who don’t have access to the internet at home, or who only have low-bandwidth access. Fortunately, there are many ways to keep Chromebooks and Google G Suite up and running even when online access is slow or unavailable. We’ve pulled together ideas for educators and school IT teams who want to encourage all students to keep learning, regardless of their online access.
For edtech and IT teams: The basics of enabling offline access
Using Chromebooks and Google G Suite without Wi-Fi or low connectivity is relatively easy, but you may want to enlist your EdTech and IT teams to set up offline access for everyone. Here are the key steps in the process, along with useful Google support links.
Keep in mind that people need to go through this process while they still have online access. Consider taking a few minutes to guide students and staff through the process while they’re on school Wi-Fi networks.
Step 1: To help students, teachers and staff work in G Suite offline, the first step is to enable offline access for all users. Your IT or EdTech team can do this from G Suite’s admin console using these instructions for managed devices; in the Features and Applications section of the Admin console, administrators can click “Allow users to enable offline access.”
Step 2: G Suite users also need to download the Google Docs Offline extension for Chrome Browser, which will allow them to use Google Docs, Sheets, Drive and Slides without online access.
Step 3: Finally, people should turn on offline access for the G Suite applications they’d like to use before they go offline. Share these instructions for opening G Suite files offline. It’s a good idea to ask students to test that offline access is working properly; help them turn off Wi-Fi access and try to access a G Suite file. Students can download notes from Slides, Docs, and more, and download the lectures from Classroom and Drive to watch later if they do not have internet at home.
For teachers: Things to do offline
Remind students that even if they don’t have Wi-Fi access away from school, there’s a lot that they can do with their Chromebooks:
Read and respond to emails. Once the IT administrator enables offline access, they can read and write emails. The emails are sent as soon as students get back online.
For edtech and IT teams: Chrome extensions that work offline
Encourage students to use Chrome extensions that help them do classwork while offline—and ask your edtech or IT team to push out the extensions to all G Suite and Chromebook users. Search the Chromebook App Hub or the Chrome Web Store using the “runs offline” option to find useful extensions, or start with Screencastify for recording and editing videos and Soundtrap for recording and saving audio files.
Tips from teachers
Teachers are already brainstorming creative ways to help students without home online access continue their studies:
Create a “file upload” feature in Google Forms: Eric Lawson, director of technology at Maine’s York School Department, shared that you can create a Google Form directly from Google Classroom. One of the question options in Google Forms is to create a “file upload.” This allows for students to work on podcasts, videos, journals, infographics, etc. and simply submit them to their teacher through a form. On a day where students may not have internet access, they can still work on their project offline on their Chromebooks at home and then submit the file when they have access.
Offer mobile hotspot access: At Grain Valley Schools in Missouri, Kyle Pace, director of technology, plans to remind students that they can check out mobile hotspot devices from the school’s libraries—just as they’d check out books.
If you use Google Classroom and want to make sure students can view assignments offline, follow this YouTube tutorial from Stewart Lee, technology integration coordinator with Anderson School District 3 in South Carolina.
Connect your students to the world with Skype in the Classroom Live Events
adopted from https://educationblog.microsoft.com/en-us/2020/05/connect-your-students-to-the-world-with-skype-in-the-classroom-live-events/
During this time of social distancing and remote learning, staying connected with the world and keeping our children engaged has been a priority for all of us. Teachers and parents are constantly looking for fun and educational activities that will empower students’ learning, make them smile, and spark imagination and curiosity.
Learning from home doesn’t mean that you have to be cut off from the world. Skype in the Classroom recently launched a new activity called “Live Events.” Every Wednesday at 10:00 AM Pacific Time (5:00 PM Coordinated Universal Time), teachers, students, and parents can tune in to connect with subject matter experts and visit amazing locations across the globe. From exploring the habitats of Yellowstone National Park, to learning about sequoias or visiting a zoo, these 30-minute interactive events will add some extra fun and inspiration to your children’s learning.
“Adventure and familiarity, simultaneously. During remote learning due to the pandemic, the weekly Skype in the Classroom virtual field trips have enabled my students to travel the country and the world, right from their own homes. They’ve missed the connections we’ve made with people throughout the world while we were in our school building, and these events have given them the sense that the excitement continues. My third graders and I loved the trip to Yellowstone and enjoyed hearing from the Night Zookeeper…we can’t wait to learn about sharks and animal adaptations! We’re looking forward to what else is in store until we meet again,” says Amy Rosenstein (@SkypeAmy), third-grade teacher from New York, United States.
One of the most powerful parts of these events is that children can ask questions via a fully moderated Q&A chat tool.
“As a family we visited Yellowstone. We watched while having our dinner here in the UK and talked about all the animals the speaker showed us. There were many we hadn’t heard of before. It challenged our family to find out about somewhere totally new to us and we could ask questions via the chat tool. My kids were learning without it feeling like a lesson!” said Sarah Clark (@sfm36), parent from United Kingdom.
In addition, every event has follow-up activities that parents and teachers can share with their students for a richer learning experience. Make sure you check them out!
Are you ready for a learning adventure? View upcoming Live Events at https://aka.ms/EDULiveEvents. Live Events take place on Microsoft Teams. However, you do not need Skype or Teams to join. You can select to watch on the web. Download the “How-to join” guide to get started. Each event has one or more follow up activities! Make sure you check those out to enrich the learning experience. Live captions are available in six languages. Download a digital certificate to celebrate your participation. No need to worry if you miss the live event! All episodes will be available to watch on demand.
Teachers are on the frontlines of enabling the sudden shift to remote learning. Within a matter of weeks, educators have had to quickly adapt their engaging, aligned, in-person lessons into online learning for their students. This incredible change has shed light on the inspiring ingenuity, passion, and commitment of those who support our communities. What we hear from educators is that they need to be able to transition to remote learning quickly, to connect in a community to share best practices, and to learn from each other.
Based on feedback from our Remote Learning Educator Community, we’ve outlined five ways to help you get the most out of Microsoft Teams, a digital hub for communication and collaboration, during remote learning:
Connection and collaboration: Use the Teams built-in meetings features to effectively hold classroom meetings, collaborate on virtual whiteboards, and share documents. With assignments, conversations, files, notes, and video calls all pulled together, Teams is a great all-in-one hub for the collaborative classroom. Here is a great Teams for Education Quick Start Guide, and we have new updates rolling out regularly with improvements that have been inspired by educators.
Inclusion: In order to ensure learners of all abilities are included, understanding which tools and technologies improve accessibility and foster an inclusive classroom becomes critical. With built-in capabilities like the Immersive Reader, message translation, and Live Captions for meetings, Teams is a non-stigmatizing platform.
3. Meaningful feedback with rubrics: An important part of remote learning is good teaching practice. Teams Assignments have built-in rubrics. Rubric grading helps increase assignment transparency for students and allows you to give more meaningful feedback. These feedback mechanisms not only help students learn and improve their work, but they’re also a consistent and transparent way for teachers to grade. This has been an incredibly popular feature with both educators and students, and with rubrics now easily sharable, we have seen this practice take off in Teams.
4. Staff and learning communities: Saving time, being more organized, and collaborating more effectively during remote learning is critical. With Teams being a hub for education, a core part of this also includes built-in Staff teams and Professional Learning Community (PLC) teams to go along with Class Teams. This provides a one-stop shop for educators. Staff Teams and PLC teams allow educators and staff to easily communicate and collaborate during remote learning. We’ve seen many three-ring binders tossed with the paperless use of Staff and PLC teams in schools.
5.OneNote Class Notebooks, built into Teams: OneNote is a multifaceted note-taking tool that is built into Teams and can be used for a variety of lessons and activities. With OneNote Class Notebooks, you have a personal workspace for every student, a content library for handouts, and a collaboration space for lessons and creative activities. You can also embed all sorts of interactive apps, lessons, and content onto the OneNote page. Especially with remote learning, paper notes and handouts are difficult to work with, and having a digital notebook for the class is a natural fit. Remote learning is a journey for all of us, and we are grateful to the diligence and creativity of educators during this time. Please visit our Remote Learning Page (higher education here) and (K-12 here) for all of our resources. Thank you for all you have done for students around the world. We are looking forward to continuing to work with you.
It’s Day 3 of Bett, where we’ve been bringing you updates and insights into how to use the latest and most effective ed tech tools and resources. It’s our final day live streaming from London. We explored how educators can help students develop communication, and collaboration skills while using free tools like Office 365 Education and Microsoft Teams in our Day 1 episode here and we shared how you can prepare students for jobs of the future in our Day 2 episode here. Today, we want to talk about how to use built-in accessible tools at no extra cost and the power of joining an innovative and caring community of like-minded innovators in education.
Today, we’ll dive into ways to provide students with personalized learning, how to foster inclusion to meet the needs of all the learners in your classroom, and the power of joining a global community devoted to improving equity in education. At Microsoft, we’re committed to providing you and your students with built-in accessibility tools at no extra cost. These can improve language, literacy and numeracy skills and give students of all abilities independence and the opportunity to learn without stigma.
In this episode we will show you how:
You can use available Immersive Reader features in the new Microsoft Edge
You can now use Office 365 Education online for free, from anywhere, with built-in tools for accessibility
You can promote student confidence and capacity to learn and improve independently with powerful learning tools
For starters, we want to share this inspiring story about Louis Riel School Division in Winnipeg, Manitoba, where the entire community is focused on creating equitable, inclusive and accessible learning environments. Check out this case study and video below to learn about how the district went about meeting the needs of all students and how administrators support teachers in accessing education technology in ways that advance teaching and learning goals.
The new Microsoft Edge– supporting inclusive learning
The web should have built-in flexibility and accessibility to support you and every student in your classroom. The new Microsoft Edge web browser supports inclusive classrooms with built-in Microsoft Learning Tools and helps every student learn and benefit from the web. Immersive Reader capabilities in Microsoft Edge help students, particularly struggling readers, stay engaged and promote reading skills. While using Microsoft Edge, teachers and students can use Immersive Reader to change text size to improve readability and hear text read aloud. Additional Immersive Reader capabilities that allow users to customize their experience will come later this year.
Today’s classrooms have students with diverse learning needs, and as teachers, we know you have a strong desire to effectively reach every one of your students. Microsoft Learning Tools enable teachers to provide differentiated support to all students in reading, writing, and math as well as communication. We have updates below!
We’re thrilled that the Immersive Reader learning tool continues to come to more platforms. The full-screen reading experience improves the readability of content in many ways, including by enabling users to tailor text size, fonts, spacing, line focus, read-aloud capabilities and more.
Here’s some additional Immersive Reader news:
Spotlight on The Young Women’s Leadership School of Astoria and Azure AI partner Buncee: We’re inspired by the way that schools like the Young Women’s Leadership School of Astoria (TYWLS) are using Immersive Reader to empower readers of all ages and reading abilities. Learn more about their story and how Azure AI is enabling partners to build accessible applications in our blog.
Office Lens for iOS and Android both now have the full Immersive Reader experience integrated with the latest updates for both iPhone and iPad. Office Lens on Android (all platforms) will be shipping a similar update in spring. Office Lens is a free mobile scanning app. It offers a great way to capture text from a document or elsewhere without manually having to retype it.
Language updates: Parts of speech in Immersive Reader allows students to label nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs. We’ve rolled out parts of speech for Arabic. We’ve also added the ability to translate to and from the Maori and Gaelic languages in the Immersive Reader. These will also be available in Live Presentations in PowerPoint for the Web.
Immersive Reader for Microsoft Forms is now available globally for students and educators, so they can leverage Immersive Reader tools as they create or take a quiz.
Dictation (speech to text) is an important technology that allows people to easily type with their voice. It is especially helpful for those with dyslexia, dysgraphia or mobility impairments. In addition to about a dozen languages already available, we are rolling out Dictation support in public preview for five new languages: Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Norwegian, and Swedish. These languages will start rolling out in Word, OneNote, Outlook and PowerPoint Desktop and web in late January.
Equation Tools in OneNote for Windows 10
We’re thrilled to let you know that we’re starting to roll out Equation Tools in OneNote for Windows 10. Equation Tools allows students to input and make changes to math equations more easily than by typing those in with a keyboard. To get started, all you do is press the Equation button in the ribbon Insert tab in OneNote on your Windows 10 device and choose from a range of structures and math symbols to build up equations.
We believe an inclusive math class is one where students have a variety of methods for inputting equations because we know different learners have different styles and needs, and we’re so glad to add this resource to the classroom toolbox!
Math Assistant in OneNote for iPad
We’re excited to announce we’re bringing Math Assistant in OneNote to iPad users this spring. We heard you say you wanted Math Assistant on this platform, and we worked hard to make it happen. It’s easy to use–all you do to get started is log into your Office 365 Education account in OneNote on your iPad and press the Math button on the ribbon Draw tab.
You’ll be able to use the tool to help you solve equations and see solution steps to help build student understanding. Look out for additional updates to the app, such as the ability to graph equations and generate practice quizzes, which is popular on other platforms, after Bett and ahead of back-to-school season.
We’re excited to announce that Windows Calculator is getting a new feature: graphing mode. We’re adding this feature to every Windows 10 and 10S PC for students and teachers to help with instruction related to graphing concepts. Educators and students will be able to use this free tool right from their devices, without having to buy an expensive graphing calculator. It will help users plot and analyze multiple equations and manipulate equation variables to help understand how changes to equations affect graphs.
The graphing mode in Windows Calculator is available now through our Microsoft Insider program and will be refined and released for a general audience before back-to-school season.
We’re excited to make this feature available to Windows 10 users, offering a built-in, easy-to-use tool that can help create a more inclusive learning environment. Many of you have asked if educators can disable the feature if they need to, for assessments for example, and the answer is yes. It’s yours to use with your students, as that makes sense.
We welcome your feedback. We’ve open sourced the Windows Calculator app on GitHub, which means those of you who are computer science educators, or have some background knowledge, can study the source code, build system, unit tests and product roadmap and offer new ideas for improvements. We always enjoy seeing educators, and sometimes their students, get involved in this kind of collaboration. If you see a feature that is missing, build it yourself and add it to the graphing calculator! You can read more here.
OneNote Live Captions. As we noted in our Bett kickoff post, a recent study at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg (USFSP), found that 42 percent of students use closed captions to help maintain focus and 38 percent use interactive transcripts to help them better retain information. In addition, student outcomes improve with the use of transcripts. This month, we are rolling out a private preview of OneNote that allows any student to connect OneNote to a Microsoft Translator captions via a Join Code and receive the captions and translation stream.
This allows captions from the educator speaking to flow directly into OneNote for reading, while still allowing the student to take notes. In addition, the student can pause the captions, highlight portions, and then have the entire transcription saved as a page into OneNote. This feature will benefit all learners but especially those who may be hard of hearing or speak multiple languages. We’ll start by rolling out OneNote Live Captions in private Beta in early February with more general availability to follow.
Empower Every Voice with Flipgrid: Microsoft’s free video discussion platform!
NEW! Edit captions, launch the Immersive Reader on video transcripts, and more. Flipgrid enables you to empower every voice in your classroom by recording and sharing short, awesome videos … together! Since last year, Flipgrid revolutionized the camera, adding trimming and rearranging clips, whiteboard mode, live inking, and more. Furthermore, every video is now automatically transcribed and close-captioned by Microsoft Azure. Take engagement to the next level by “sticking” videos ANYWHERE with the transformative Flipgrid AR. Inspired by your feedback and ideas, the Flipgrid team is constantly innovating and improving for you, your community, and your peers from 190 countries around the world.
Wrapping it up
Thanks for checking out our latest episode of What’s New in EDU, live from Bett 2020 and those we brought you earlier in the week. We’ve enjoyed meeting so many innovative and passionate educators here in London. And we hope you found the information we brought you to be helpful. Please check out our new tech tools, free teacher training resources, STEM and computer science materials and advice on boosting future-ready skills in your students. As always, share your feedback with us on Twitter by tagging @MicrosoftEDU!