As a new school year quickly approaches, many teachers and students are eagerly anticipating engaging in newSkype collaborative projects, virtual field trips and guest speakers. Recently, Skype released some new features that will make those connections even easier. To get them all, upgrade your Skype today and learn more here.
One new feature is the Chat Media Gallery. Files, links and photos shared through the chat are stored in the Gallery, making them easily searchable and accessible. People no longer need to scroll through their chat history to find a file. They can simply click on Gallery under the chat name to locate a file that has been shared through the chat.
Snapshots is another new feature. When people are on a Skype call, they can click the Snapshots button and a picture will be taken of all parties on the call. The photo will automatically appear in the Skype chat box for anyone on that call. This is a handy feature for classes doing a Mystery Skype or collaborative project. Their interactions can be quickly captured with a click of a button and shared on social media, with parents, or on a school bulletin or website. This is also a great way to capture the magic of a virtual field trip and share what the students learned in a school yearbook or email to parents.
A third new feature, Sharing Emotion, allows participants to click on an Emotion icon to cause it to automatically appear over the video during a Skype call. This is a fun way to communicate non-verbally during a call or to respond to a question during a Mystery Skype.
Skype Call Recording has just been added as a new feature, as well. It is cloud-based, and all participants in the call are notified when someone starts recording the call. It records everyone’s video, as well as any screens that have been shared. If there is a special Skype guest speaker or virtual field trip that a teacher wants to capture, or if there is a unique class-to-class Skype collaborative project, the recording feature is an ideal way to capture and preserve the learning experience.
These new features are a welcome addition to Skype and will further enable students and teachers to have engaging and world-changing Skype in the Classroom experiences!
Teachers: You are invited to explore all these amazing features here and start using them with your Skype in the Classroom activities.
If you are new to Skype in the Classroom, join our free and global community at skypeintheclassroom.com to expand the walls of your classroom and inspire your students.
More than 36 million adults in the United States cannot read, write, or do basic math above a third grade level. And children whose parents have low literacy levels have a 72 percent chance of being at the lowest reading levels themselves. These kids are more likely to get poor grades, display behavioral problems, have high absentee rates, repeat school years, or drop out1.
In a majority of classrooms today, teachers have students reading at up to four different grade levels, trying to keep the same pace on curriculum2.
Workshops will be offered at different times throughout the year at all Microsoft Stores in the US, Canada and Puerto Rico, so be sure to check out the local Store programming near you to find the right workshop for your needs. Workshops will be catered to students’ age range, including:
Empowering students affected by Dyslexia
Educators and parents/caregivers working with students of any age; and children in 8th grade or above who are accompanied by an adult, will get hands-on experience with Microsoft applications and tools – including Learning Tools, the Ease of Access menu and accessibility and productivity features of Office 365. Teachers will be empowered to create inclusive classrooms that support students of all abilities, while parents/caregivers will gain skills to support learners outside of the classroom.
The workshop covers why it’s important to create an inclusive classroom, tools to empower different learning styles and abilities, and tools to support students with disabilities.
Boost your reading confidence and literacy skills ages 8-12
This workshop introduces students, with foundational literacy skills, to the Immersive Reader in the OneNote app. Participants will build confidence and improve their reading comprehension through grade-level–appropriate activities with Immersive Reader features. Activities include demonstrations, playing “Mad-Lib” style games, and building and reading stories in pairs to gain hands-on experience using the tools.
Literacy skills for emerging readers ages 6-8
This workshop introduces emerging readers to Learning Tools for OneNote via age–appropriate activities with Immersive Reader features. Activities include discussions, demonstrations, and playing word and story games to gain hands-on experience using the tools. At the end, participants will share what they learned with their parent or caregiver. Throughout the workshop, participants will learn how to build confidence and improve their reading comprehension, and should leave prepared to continue using Learning Tools to further develop reading skills at home and at school.
With free software like Microsoft Learning Tools and heroic educators like Merlyne Graves, we are encouraged by the progress that’s happening every day. More than 13 million teachers and students are already using Microsoft Learning Tools for free as part of Office 365 Education, including tools like Immersive Reader, Picture Dictionary and Dictation. These are proving to increase reading and writing skill successfully, as evidenced by the recent 3rd party study from RTI International, Leveling the Playing Field with Microsoft Learning Tools.
Through these workshops, we hope to give anyone who may have challenges with reading and writing skills the tools they need to feel empowered and to personalize their learning experience, especially those in underserved communities, or with learning differences like ADHD, Dyslexia, Dysgraphia or Autism.
Decoding Dyslexia, a parent-led movement to raise awareness around Dyslexia, is partnering with Microsoft on these workshops. “We need to get technology like Learning Tools into the hands of more students with Dyslexia and other learning differences before they fall behind,” said Rachel Berger, CEO of Decoding Dyslexia, “so I’m excited about the reach Microsoft Stores will have this fall. It’s truly empowering software that can make any classroom more inclusive.”
To kick off the program, Microsoft recently hosted more than 400 students, parents and teachers from across Washington and Oregon to be the first to try the new workshops. The event also included a keynote from former NFL cornerback Robert Tate, who shared his experience with dyslexia at a young age. “My friends didn’t know I had dyslexia,” Robert said. “I would hide within myself and make sure I wasn’t the one putting my hand up to ask questions or the one reading in class. You just have to keep moving forward and never go backwards.”
Ales Holecek, corporate vice president at Microsoft who helped spark discussions that led to Learning Tools, also spoke to the group, telling the audience of parents, teachers and students about his reading comprehension issues that started at a young age and continue today. “I take a long time to read anything and hate emails. I tell my team to send short emails; or better still, come speak to me in person,” said Holecek. For Ales, the turning point came in coding, which he felt operated on a simpler vocabulary.
Microsoft Education has undertaken a new study with researchers at Digital Promise to investigate how teachers around the world are using Microsoft Forms to drive learning. Providing feedback to students on their learning progress is one of the most powerful pedagogical approaches and education research has repeatedly shown that formative feedback has a tremendous impact on learning outcomes.
In this study, we found that teachers use Microsoft Forms not only for formative assessment, but for many other pedagogical activities. Teachers value the ease of use and clear reporting of Microsoft Forms.
“I actually say to teachers, ‘I think Forms is the most underrated piece of software in the suite because of the time that it saves you in terms of data-driven outcomes and the data collection that goes on with schools now.’”
– Instructional Technology Coach
We are delighted to share this new report, which highlights the variety of creative ways teachers are using Forms.
Teachers are using Microsoft Forms in pedagogically substantive ways to improve student outcomes:
Peer Collaboration (students creating their own Forms in groups)
Teachers also used Microsoft Forms for professional learning and to increase their efficiency with administrative and routine teaching tasks, such as:
Communicating with Parents
Professional Development through Reflective Practice
Increasing Teaching Efficiency by incorporating lunch choices, applications, and locker assignments into Forms
We also explored some of the best practices school and education-system leaders are using to grow adoption and use of Microsoft Forms. Some implementation strategies to get teachers to use Forms:
The most essential strategy is simply making teachers aware that Microsoft Forms is available and how it can be used. Follow the Quick Start guide to try out Microsoft Forms.
Training on how to use Forms is the second step and most coaches believed this training should be undertaken on its own (not as part of training on other apps). Check out Microsoft’s own training course, Microsoft Forms: Creating Authentic Assessments.
Coaches used the following strategies:
Using a Form with teachers directly to show its simplicity of use and to get them familiar with the tool
Understanding their teacher audiences and designing training for those audiences (e.g. ‘savvy explorer’ or ‘cautious adopter’)
Describing the time-saving element of Microsoft Forms use, especially enabling teachers to give students instant feedback; and how Microsoft Forms enables data-driven approaches to pedagogy with the immediate capture of data to Microsoft Excel.
Forms is an ideal tool for helping teachers incorporate more data-driven approaches to understanding what is working in their teaching practices, because it makes the collection (and much of the analysis) of student-learning data automatic. Results from a mood survey, a math quiz, or an exit ticket Form, are instantly available to both students and teachers. Such data helps teachers to build stronger learning relationships with their students, because they know where each student is at in their learning progress.
“There was that magical moment when getting the data happened. Oh my gosh, we’re getting this data in Forms in real time and that was unheard of before. Now within a matter of minutes I know where my students stand on the concepts that we’re going to cover that day.”
– 3rd Grade Teacher
Getting Started with Microsoft Forms
Microsoft Forms is an online quiz and survey application included with Microsoft Office 365. Forms was designed using direct feedback from educators looking for a simple way to formatively assess student learning and monitor learning progress on an ongoing basis.
Forms is part of the Office 365 suite of tools. If your school already has Office 365, you can log in at www.office.com and begin using Forms as one of the many apps included in the suite. Teachers and students can also Download Office 365 for free using a valid school email address. The resources below will help you get started on your journey to using Microsoft Forms.
Today we are excited to announce a new partnership with the Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA). Microsoft will provide $2 million, over three years, to help CSTA launch new chapters and strengthen existing ones. It will help them attract new members and partners to build a stronger community to serve computer science teachers.
We’re thrilled that students of all ages are discovering the exciting – and critical – field of computer science. From the Hour of Code, to Minecraft Education, and even Advanced Placement Computer Sciences courses, participation rates are expanding. This surge of student interest, combined with the premium our economy places on technology skill of all kinds, requires us to do all we can to ensure every student has access to computer science courses. And it all starts with our teachers.
Nearly every teacher belongs to a professional membership organization, from social studies, to reading, to math and science. These organizations provide teachers with subject-specific professional development, up-to-date curriculum, and networking opportunities with peers and other professionals. CSTA was started in 2004 to fill this need for computer science teachers. But to meet today’s needs in this quickly changing and growing field of study, CSTA is expanding as well. We are proud to support them!
Our investment in CSTA continues Microsoft Philanthropies’ long-standing commitment to computer science education through our Technology Education and Literacy in Schools (TEALS) program, which pairs technology industry volunteers with classroom teachers to team-teach computer science in 350 U.S. high schools. It builds on our investments in nonprofits such as Code.org, Girls Who Code, and Boys & Girls Clubs of America, with whom we partnered to create a computer science learning pathway. And it builds on our work advocating at a state and federal level for policy change and investments in computer science education across the United States.
While technology can be a powerful learning tool, nothing can replace the expertise, guidance, and encouragement that teachers provide to students each day of the school year. I remember my own favorite teachers who helped me see a world beyond the rural town in which I grew up. I would guess that nearly everyone has a similar story. We thank our teachers and we hope that this investment in computer science teachers, through CSTA, empowers more educators to do what they do best: make a positive difference in the lives of students. To learn how you can help CSTA serve teachers, please visit https://www.csteachers.org/page/GetInvolved.
Microsoft TEALS partners with teachers to provide students with skills required for today and tomorrow’s careers
EL PASO, Texas — April 30, 2018 — El Paso students at four area schools will have the opportunity to learn to code this fall, thanks to a new partnership announced Monday with Microsoft Corp.
Microsoft’s Technology Education and Literacy in Schools (TEALS) program, which helps high schools build and grow sustainable computer science programs through partnerships between classroom teachers and technology industry volunteers, will launch this fall at Clint ISD Early College Academy, Eastlake High School, Eastwood High School and Loretto Academy.
“Our region is fortunate to have terrific schools, which will be even stronger with the addition of a program that teaches one of the key skills young people will need to be successful in our increasingly technology driven world,” said JJ Childress, El Paso manager of Microsoft’s TechSpark program to foster greater economic opportunity and job creation in six communities in the United States. “We know teachers want to teach computer science, but it can be challenging to find the time and resources to learn the subject. TEALS addresses this by putting trained technology volunteers into classrooms to teach students, while helping teachers prepare to teach the subject on their own.”
Since its formation in 2009, TEALS has paired volunteer computer science experts from over 500 companies with high school teachers in nearly 350 schools, in 29 states and Washington, D.C. Volunteers join classes in person, or through the internet when enough volunteers aren’t available locally.
John Mack, Prudential’s head of Technology in El Paso, is among those who signed up to volunteer through TEALS. “Technology is driving the world economy, and there are so many rewarding careers available to those who have learned to code,” Mack said. “I jumped at the opportunity to work with young people in our community this fall, and I hope that many others join me.”
Other El Paso-based businesses helping promote TEALS among their employees, and supporting their employees in their volunteer work, include El Paso Electric and Steele Consulting. The University of Texas at El Paso is also helping to promote TEALS among students interested in volunteering through the program. As a result of this support from the community, employees from these companies, and university students, have applied to volunteer.
Edmond Martinez, principal of Clint ISD Early College Academy, a school that has long embraced the need for strong science, technology, engineering and math programs, sees the teaching of computer science as a duty to the next generation, and encourages local technology experts to step up to volunteer.
“We have a responsibility to create pathways for our students from high school, through college, and to professional positions,” Martinez said. “Technical knowledge and skills prepare our students for the jobs of today and tomorrow, to solve serious problems, and create new opportunities for humanity. It’s my hope that many of those in our community who have technology training will sign up to volunteer with TEALS this fall. What could be more rewarding than passing on your skills to the next generation of innovators?”
Anyone with a computer science degree or equivalent industry experience, who wants to give back to the community by teaching high school computer science, can apply. Volunteers receive training over the summer, and other support throughout the process. Applications are open now, through the end of May, and can be found at https://www.tealsk12.org/volunteers/.
Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) enables digital transformation for the era of an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge. Its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.
For more information, press only:
Microsoft Media Relations, WE Communications for Microsoft, (425) 638-7777,
Note to editors: For more information, news and perspectives from Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft News Center at http://news.microsoft.com. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at http://news.microsoft.com/microsoft-public-relations-contacts.
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The Microsoft Education team with Microsoft Innovative Educators, showing off their superhero status.
The stores are chock-full of school supplies, buses are back on their routes, and anticipation is in the air: it’s back-to-school time again. And while parents and students are doing their part to be school-ready, teachers have been working behind-the-scenes to prepare for perhaps the most important job there is: educating our next generation.
I’ve had the great privilege to work with teachers and schools around the world for years, and I’ve seen a lot – continually evolving education systems, the “sure-fire” ways to improve learning, new trends in teaching and even those that cycle back through. Yet, no matter the trend in education, the constant force that has been hard at work to transform learning for decades, are teachers.
At Microsoft, we create products with teachers in mind and they tell us that products like OneNote, Sway, Minecraft and Skype help them bring new creativity and engagement to the classroom. We are inspired by what’s possible when teachers meet students where they’re at, help them to learn at their own pace, and then propel them to reach new heights in their learning. There’s no better place to use technology – and its promise to change lives – than in the hands of great teachers!
Individualized teaching and learning in action.
With the right technology platform in place and training, teachers around the world are finding inspiring new ways to use personalized approaches to impart 21st century skills.
Today, we announced 8 new resources to help enable individualized teaching and learning:
New and no-cost features to Office 365 Education, along with the recent launch of Windows 10, are offering huge improvements for educators and students. With today’s update, we are simplifying our education lineup, moving to a single, free plan for all academic institutions and adding several new features to help schools meet their security and compliance requirements. We’ve also made it easier for teachers and students to sign up and start using free Office tools. Starting today in the U.S. and later this week everywhere else, anyone with a valid school email address can sign up.
Snip is a new screen capture tool that lets you tell your story in your own voice while you ink on an image, a photo that you take with your webcam, or a digital whiteboard. And you can share that story by copying your snip to the clipboard, sending it in an email, and embedding it on a website. Educators are using Snip to provide personalized feedback to students and students are using Snip to express their creativity and to collaborate with teachers and classmates.
In addition to learning how to use technology, we see the growing interest from students to learn how to create technology. Teachers can help their students understand and learn more about creating technology with these new resources:
Microsoft YouthSpark Hub has various resources and programs to learn digital skills and computer science, for students to prepare for the jobs of the future or even to start their own business.
Microsoft Imagine tools and resources are available to teachers at no cost to help their students learn the fundamentals of coding while engaging in fun projects. Take it to the next level by leveraging contests through the Imagine Cup competition hub to help your students use those fundamentals to become creators of technology. New for this school year, Imagine Cup Earth leverages a partnership with NASA that teaches earth sciences and programming at the same time. Inspire your students to build their skills and bring their ideas to life and possibly win prizes! And, if you are interested in creating a coding club, our Coding Club Starter Kit will help get you started.
Microsoft Virtual Academy is offering even more no cost computer science courses for students at all levels, coupled with resources to help teachers better integrate technology into their curriculum.
With Angela Maiers and Choose2Matter, Inc. we’re providing teachers with a free, customizable and interactive e-book: “Liberating Genius, The First 20 Days.” This free e-book guides teachers through the introduction of Genius Hour.
Even more free training, designed specifically for educators, is now available online and at your local Microsoft stores.
Supporting the best and the brightest. The best technology will never be a substitute for great teachers. That’s why Microsoft supports teachers through learning communities that offer resources and peer connections. Programs like the Microsoft Innovative Educators enable teachers to connect, share best practices, and help break down barriers together. Applications for this year’s cohort of Microsoft Innovative Educators are accepted until Oct. 30, 2015.
Together, we’re off to a good start of the new school year and I’m looking forward to more to come … Teachers, we celebrate your superhero status!