More and more often we are hearing about Office 365 Education, but what exactly is it? And as a teacher, why does it make sense to use this platform in the classroom? And how do you use it to help enhance collaboration and communication amongst students and teachers?

To help you understand this and much more, Microsoft Australia are hosting a Webinar on the 14th of May at 4:00PM AEST, hosted by Microsoft experts, exploring how Office 365 is transforming teaching and learning – You can Register Now Here

Before the webinar, we thought we would provide a brief summary of how some features within Office 365 can be used within the classroom to get you started.

Sites

One of the best features of Office 365 Education is the ability to easily create websites for your school and classroom, here are some examples:

  • School Portal – A public facing site with updated information for parents that can be changed and adapted quickly and efficiently.
  • Class Sites – build your own secure class site for sharing learning resources, calendar, discussions and links.
  • Interactive Space – use the social media capacity of Office 365 to enable students to interact in a safe environment, while building their digital citizenship skills. Use the newsfeed and discussion features to create online forums, social media style interactions. Homework Site – make a site with links, documents and information about the homework your students need to hand in. Open the site to parents to keep them up to date and on top of teacher requests.
  • Personalised Communication – using the social media components, talk one-on-one with students. Keep student work synced through this site and know exactly where each student is up to in their work. Embed quizzes and components that help you to get data on student understanding.
  • Flipped Classroom – if you’re moving into a Flipped Classroom model, you need somewhere to house the content you want students to view. An Office 365 site can give you a place to organise your files and plan learning journeys.

Office Online

Office Online is your Microsoft Office software suite in the cloud. When you have access to Office 365, suddenly your Office Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote Documents can be accessed in the browser via Office Online, or in, or full desktop version. Some great uses of this collaborative and safe environment include:

  • Working together through document sharing
  • Present work creatively and professionally
  • Keeping organised with OneNote
  • Equal access to Office apps from all devices
  • Uploading and syncing your office documents, knowing that the formatting will remain – Office Online keeps the integrity and formatting of your document, even online.

“One of my favourite things about OneNote is that I can access my notes anywhere. When I was waiting in line for a coffee or at a bus stop, it was easy to access my daily task list using OneNote on my phone. If I wanted to work in a computer lab, I could access my notes on OneDrive. I love that I never have to worry about forgetting my notes somewhere, because they are with me wherever I go!” Liz Scoble from Microsoft UK Schools Blog

Lync Online

Lync is an online webinar and communication component. Through Lync you can have voice calls, video calls, share desktop content to participants and also record sessions for viewing later. You might use Lync to:

  • Connect with students not at school
  • Connect with experts outside school
  • Share content on desktops
  • Record desktop and webinar sessions to watch later
  • Continuing with work started at school for homework
  • Teacher meetings across distance
  • Professional Development sessions
  • Connecting with your class while at a distant location
  • Distance education for students in remote locations
  • Group revision sessions
  • Parent meetings when face-to-face is not possible

As you can see, Office 365 can bring so many more ways to communicate, collaborate and build 21st Century skills. Hopefully next time you see or hear Office 365 being discussed, you now understand how it can be applied in the classroom, and don’t forget to Register Now for the upcoming Webinar for further understanding.