Why do the best ideas seem to come to us right before school starts in the morning?
While putting the finishing touches on my hair for the day, I suddenly realized how I should have put together my introduction to that day’s Liberating Genius lesson! But how would I be able to put it into a presentable format in time?
While driving in to school, I decided to use Microsoft Sway, a versatile and easy tool to create fast presentations that look great on any platform. When I arrived at school, I quickly pasted in my content and links to the videos I wanted to share and – voila! – my lesson “into” was ready to rock by 9 o’clock! Microsoft has great tools for virtually everything we teachers need for lesson planning – not just to create lessons, but to make them differentiated, engaging, effective and efficient.
This is the first in a series of blogs about how best to harness the power of Microsoft tools for lesson planning. I’ll explore best practices, pedagogical applications and share actual examples anyone may use and/or adapt. To learn more about how to use these free tools, go to the Microsoft Educator Community. And if you have some ideas of your own, please share them in the comments below!
And don’t forget: Office 365 Education, with most of the above tools built in (aside from Snip, available for download here), is free for students and teachers at Office.com/education.
Microsoft Forms: If you want to see what your students know before you start a lesson, Microsoft Forms is the tool to use. An online tool that can be accessed by any device, Forms allows teachers to create quick polls or formative assessments which can be emailed, embedded or linked. As students fill out and submit the Form, the results populate in real time so results can be quickly evaluated and lesson plans adjusted as needed.
PowerPoint: If you want a lesson introduction designed just the way you want it to look, PowerPoint is the right choice. With PowerPoint, you have all the design control plus the ability to add narration, audio, video, screen recording with the added power of Mix! This is a great option is your connectivity isn’t great, because everything you embed in a PowerPoint is always there (except links, of course)!
Snip: If you want a quick snapshot of your upcoming lesson, you can create a Snip in no time! For math, I love using the whiteboard feature that records my digital inking and voice. Once created, I can embed them into our OneNote Class Notebook so they serve the dual purpose of getting students into the lesson and being available afterward for students to review the lesson!
Sway: If you have a great idea with little time to put it together, as I did with my Liberating Genius lesson, Sway is the way to go! Sway is also ideal if your connectivity is great because it lives up on the cloud. You don’t need to worry about design because Sway takes your content and makes it look great on any device. Plus, you can also embed a Forms survey into a Sway! No matter when inspiration hits you, there’s a Microsoft tool that can help you harness your genius for a great introduction to your lessons!