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kid looks at a computer

Microsoft Teams is just one of the many online teaching platforms available to help remote learning a whole lot easier.

Not only can teachers use it to recreate the traditional classroom setup with the use of live video lessons, but they can also use it to store documents, share resources, streamline their teaching workflow and be ore interactive with their students.

MICROSOFT TEAMS TEACHING BENEFITS

1. Record Classes To Be Watched Again Later

One major feature of Teams is the ability to record classes during live video meetings and share them around later. This is hugely important as it allows students who may have been absent to catch up, or for present students to go back to particular aspects of the lesson they may wish to review and revise.

2. Take Advantage Of Microsoft Whiteboard

Microsoft Whiteboard is a freeform digital canvas that easily replicates the blackboard or whiteboard you would use in the classroom. Keep it free-style or transform work into professional looking charts and shapes. Whiteboard works with pen, touch and keyboard.

Teachers can use it to teach concepts like they usually would, or to allow students to collaborate and share ideas. This is a good way to keep students interested and involved in class work.

3. Take Advantage Of App Integrations

Microsoft Teams integrates seamlessly with other apps allowing teachers to make Class diverse and fun. This is where a large portion of Teams’ creativity comes from, as it really opens up doors in terms of delivering content to students, structuring lessons and setting tasks.

Here are two apps we believe are the most popular within the Teams’ environment.

KAHOOT!

Adding a live game of Kahoot! to your Class is a great way to help students feel more connected and build a strong team spirit.

It’s interactive and invites the fun into learning.

QUIZLET

Quizlet is a popular revision tool for students, with millions of study sets already created by teachers and students covering thousands of popular topics. All of the Quizlet activities, such as Flashcards, Learn, Write, Spell and the Match and Gravity games will run from inside Teams.

Woman with hands on notebook

Thinking about starting up a social media account for your school? Social media offers schools a number of useful features including free promotion and the opportunity to increase your school’s Google ranking, but a basic understanding of how to use this technology is necessary to fully leverage its potential. In today’s blog, we look at some of the top social media tips for schools.

  1. Choose These Two Channels

There’s a quite a few different social media platforms available for schools to use, but we always recommend starting out with Facebook and Twitter, as they’re both quite easy to use and are very popular with parents.

Twitter is great for keeping parents updated about school developments e.g. if it’s closed due to snowy weather, while Facebook is perfect for longer posts about recent and upcoming events.

  1. Post Regularly

The key to succeeding at social media is to post regularly, ideally once or twice a day on Facebook, and at least once on Twitter.

Maintaining a regular presence on social media will not only keep parents happy and informed, it will also attract prospective parents by highlighting the benefits of the school, namely the teachers, students, curriculum and activities.

  1. Assign a Social Media Master

It’s a good idea to assign one person (or ask for a volunteer) to oversee your school’s social media accounts to ensure the posting schedule is maintained and your school’s social media pages are kept free from negative content.

This doesn’t have to be a 24/7 responsibility, as checking in just twice a day (once in the morning and once in the evening) should be enough.

Technology Hacks

Technology can be very easy to use. It can also be difficult. For those who did not grow up with technology, it can be a really challenging and frustrating experience.

For those who do not fully understand technology, it is a grueling and tortuous experience. In the world we live in today, technology is not going anywhere, and in certain job fields, technology is now commonplace.

In the education sector today it would be considered abnormal for a classroom to not have some type of technology. Whether that technology be a computer, an iPad, or even just a projector. Many classrooms do not solely have a blackboard in the middle of the room. The ways of learning are constantly upgrading, so the methods of teaching should be as well.

“There can be infinite uses of the computer and of new age technology, but if teachers themselves are not able to bring it into the classroom and make it work, then it fails.”

– Nancy Kassebaum

Again, technology can be very easy, or it can be difficult. But there is good news. TED Talk speaker David Pogue has created a list of ten tech hacks that will save you some time. It will also provide you with some simple tips to use to help in the classroom. 

Watch the full video here

By Taylor

Brilliant ideas to Boost Your School’s Social Media Presence

Teachers and schools alike can benefit from being active on social media. It’s a free networking tool, a place of inspiration, and a marketing resource. Teachers can find new ideas for their classroom, interface with fellow educators, and share top tips. Schools can connect with current families and recruit prospective students. It takes a small amount of effort to reap big rewards. Here are some tips to boost your social media presence.

 

 

  1. Hooray for Hashtags

Hashtags are a great way to find what you’re looking for. Some we love are #edchat (learn about teaching trends from around the world) #edtech (keep up with the latest STEAM and tech news), and #educationforall (a movement started by unesco, powerful stories and tips). Hashtags can also be be used to promote your posts. Try searching for top education hashtags online and adding some to the end of your captions.

 

  1. Join the Conversation

Don’t be afraid to comment on other’s posts! Ask experts questions or congratulate people on their successes. The online community is vast and full of people to communicate with. Tap into the global network!

 

  1. Visuals

Did you know? Tweets and posts with visual media are more likely to be clicked on? This is an easy way to attract attention to your posts. Also, make sure your profile and header pictures are clean and easy to read. It’s a simple way to give your account instant cred! Use a free tool like Canva to create sleek graphics for your social media.

 

  1. Interact

Ask for feedback, retweets, or answers if something is important. This shows followers that their input matters to you, plus chatting makes it more fun for everyone. Interactions online are a great way to let your personality shine and show people that you care.

 

  1. Cultivate your feed

Curate your list of accounts you follow to develop a feed that is interesting and worth reposting! Search for accounts that inspire you as well as accounts that already have a big following amongst your audience.

Linda Cliatt - Wayman

Looking for a way to be productive during breaks in your day? TED talks are a fantastic way to discover bite-size inspiration! Here are a few of our favorite talks for educators.

 

“Success, failure, and the drive to keep creating” – Elizabeth Gilbert

Eat, Pray, Love author Elizabeth Gilbert talks about where inspiration can strike and the ways that she learned from her failures. She emphasizes the importance of staying true to oneself and learning from failures. Great motivation for Back to School!

 

“The difference between winning and succeeding” – John Wooden

UCLA Basketball Coach John Wooden talks both coaching and teaching, providing profound insight into what he found was the best way to inspire both his students and his players. This is a talk with knowledge and wisdom everyone should hear.

 

“Help for the kids the education system ignores” – Victor Rios

Talking from personal experience, Victor Rios shifts the perspective on the way we think of children who do not finish school. He talks of a teacher who inspired him to stick with school and graduate with his class. This talk is inspirational and it has the capability to transform your thoughts and encourage understanding of every type of student.

 

“How to fix a broken school? Lead fearlessly, Love hard” – Linda Cliatt-Wayman

School principal Linda Cliatt-Wayman has witnessed the struggles of urban public schools. But she is determined not to let the hardships deter her from giving her best to the students who show up to school each day. In this emotional talk, Wayman talks about what it takes to be an effective leader for the students who need it most.

 

“My story, from gangland daughter to star teacher” – Pearl Arredondo

In this emotional and personal TED Talk, Pearl Arredondo talks about her personal experiences, as well as how those specific experiences encouraged her to create a school with the specific purpose of reassuring students that they are cared for.

 

“Love letters to strangers” – Hannah Brencher

She’s not a teacher, and she doesn’t like technology. But she writes letters. She writes letters to strangers who need it. In doing so, she has inspired a movement whereby people write out how they feel instead of immediately resorting to social media. It’s an inspiring talk about the power of words and it might just inspire you to switch the smartphone for a pen and paper. 

 

 “Comics Belong in the Classroom” – Gene Luen Yang

Gene Yang, a secondary education teacher and comic book fan, noticed that there was a shortage of comic books in the education sector. He believes that comic books can have a place in education, especially for those students who learn better visually. In this humorous and innovative talk, Yang discusses the path he took to discovering that comics deserve a place in every classroom. 

An app Can Inspire Your School

Keep parents and students informed

An app platform allows teachers and faculty to send immediate alerts and updates. It ensures that parents and students are aware of any changes or important deadlines. A study by the Michigan Department of Education found that children of involved parents are more likely to do better in school. Most parents must be informed of how and why they ought to become involved. The app is a simple and easy way for schools to reach out to parents and keep them continually involved in their child’s education and aware of what they can do.

Reduce paper usage

Using a mobile app would allow schools to provide parents and students with paper-free updates. This could potentially allow schools to completely eliminate their use of paper flyers. The app notifications can also reduce the risk of information not reaching parents.

Schools making the change to a paperless system have reported saving about $418,000 in less than a year by cutting out almost 17 million sheets of paper!

stack of white paper

Access information easily

Simple information such as deadlines and notifications would become readily available to parents and students in an instant. The more accessible the information can be, the less time administrators must spend answering simple questions. School apps can provide parents with a sense of security because they are able to stay well involved within the school.

Personalized notifications and updates

Notifications can be sent to any group! Whether you have a district-wide or class-only reminder, it will reach the correct audience. 

Notifications and alerts can be released to parents and students based on the information that would be relevant to them. Alerts sent to the right group would create relevant news updates and eliminate junk mail and wasted resources.

Eliminate SMS text alert costs

Decrease the cost of using alert services by converting to a mobile app! Many schools are using SMS text message alert systems to keep faculty, parents and students informed. The cost of these services can add up quickly, especially for larger schools sending various types of notifications. A mobile app would allow a school to send out a notification through the app using data or the internet rather than paying a phone company per text message. It may be extremely helpful for schools to convert either fully or partially to an in-app notification system depending on the needs of the parents and students. Either way, the cost of an app can reduce the costs acquired from sending SMS alerts and notifications.

iClass CMS provides a fully integrated website and mobile app solution for schools all over the world. Learn about how we can help your school here. 

by Megan
Phone

When used correctly, social media can be an extremely effective tool for promoting schools and generating interest among parents.

It can also be used to update students, parents and teachers about school news and facilitate communication between parents and teachers.

Keep in mind the following when setting up a social media profile for your school and you will soon be enjoying the benefits that come with this type of promotion tool.

Do:

  • Consider your audience: there are a few different social media platforms but schools generally only need a Facebook and Twitter account, as these are the services chiefly used by students, parents and teachers.
  • Assign roles: it’s a good idea to assign one or two teachers or staff members to overseeing the school’s social media profiles, as daily activity is recommended for maintaining a positive image.
  • Implement routines: the person in charge of the school’s social media profiles should implement a daily routine consisting of reviewing comments and replying where needed, as this will ensure a consistent and respectable image.
  • Post pictures: post pictures of the school, sporting events, student activities and anything else that could help reinforce a positive image of the school.

Don’t:

  • Give students control: avoid allowing any student direct access to the school’s social media profiles, as this can understandably lead to issues down the line, but encourage them to interact via their own profiles.
  • Post inappropriate content: this may seem obvious but it does unfortunately occur from time to time, which is why it is so important to assign a teacher or member or staff with control of the profile.
  • Respond directly to posted issues: avoid responding directly to serious issues posted on the school’s social media profiles and instead acknowledge the comment and inform the user they will be contacted through traditional avenues (phone, letter etc.) to discuss the issue.

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