3 Microsoft Tools to Hook Students on Creativity

With more digital tools to choose from than ever before, it can be challenging to know what to focus on. Before you go looking for something shiny and new, it’s worth checking out the tools on offer in the platform you are already using. 

Often there will be seamless integrations and updates that you might not be aware of. Microsoft for Education tools, for example, has come a long way in recent times and offers a user-friendly pathway to reinvigorate engagement and hook your students on creativity.

We take a closer look at 3 Microsoft tools that will enable your students to take their creativity to the next level with new ways to create dynamic visual content.

Sway

Sway is a Microsoft tool that allows you to create visually striking presentations, communications, and documentation in minutes. It is integrated with your device and the web so that you can easily drop in photos, videos, and other multimedia, and its built-in design engine brings your content together effortlessly. 

Sway offers a host of themes to choose from and remix, as well as pre-built templates to inspire your students. When you are ready to share, Sway dynamically adapts so it looks great on any screen and can be shared or co-edited with a simple URL (there’s even a visual URL sharing option!). Students can easily collaborate on a Sway in real-time which brings hybrid learning to life.

The uses for Sway in a learning setting are endless and can improve teacher workflow too. Use Sway to redefine your school newsletter, build student portfolios, write reports, or create a hyperdoc. 

Get Creative with Sway: Create a resource that scaffolds students into using Sway for the first time and share the link with them so they can duplicate and edit their copy of your template.

Audio Tools

Often students want to convey ideas that go beyond the confines of text or visuals. That’s where audio tools come in. Whether it is inside Teams, OneNote, PowerPoint or Word, students can use the audio tool to communicate in greater detail. By removing the traditional expectation that students have to respond via text, we open up pathways for them to be more expressive and build connections

You could incorporate audio into your classroom through storyboarding podcasts, recording class discussions, building revision resources, or even creating digital narratives layering their voices over video TikTok-style.

Don’t forget, audio is a hugely powerful tool for self-assessment too as students are free from the confines of templates or frameworks. They can revisit their recordings without marks or errors standing out on a page; it is a judgement-free, fresh experience each time they listen.

Get Creative with Audio: normalise using audio in your classroom by getting students to use the audio button inside their Class Notebook to brainstorm ideas and thinking.

Flipgrid

During remote learning, students have become very familiar with video as a sharing platform. The pickle here is that sharing videos and organising them in a central place can sometimes be challenging. 

Flipgrid takes this challenge and turns it around. Thanks to its tight security, I like to refer to this one as the “closed YouTube” that brings all the fun of Instagram and Snapchat to one safe space with filters, stickers and a bank of background music. 

As a web-based video response tool, Flipgrid brings a myriad of creative features to your students and is also available as an app so it doesn’t matter what device you’re using in the classroom. 

Flipgrid’s newer features include the ability to record a screen as a virtual background with your students layered on top which is an incredible way for them to explain the thinking behind maths equations, create stop-motion animation that they feature in, produce a movie trailer or even walk you through a virtual tour of a Minecraft world they’ve built!

Get Creative with Fliprid: Integrate a Flipgrid group inside your Class Team environment by adding the URL as a new tab in your general channel. That way, your students are already logged into their Microsoft 365 accounts.

Click here > Microsoft Sway Learn on Demand course
Click here > Get started with Filpgrid

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