Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Useful Microsoft in Education posts this week #103

The Internet is currently full of posts about using Microsoft products effectively in the classroom. Here are a number of them from this past week. The list is embedded below but can also be found at http://bit.ly/2q8j1S8 . The link to the back-dated posts is:http://bit.ly/1GVLTUZ 

Sunday, 14 May 2017

‘From teacher to certified Minecraft: Education Edition trainer in South Africa’ – a guest post featuring Dominique Cave

This is a guest post featuring Dominique Cave (@dominiquecave), the only Minecraft Certified

Educator currently in South Africa. Dominique is a teacher with 23 years of classroom experience, teaching students from pre-school age to Year 13. Her experience has been largely in international schools – she has worked in the UK, Swaziland, Malaysia, Dubai and Kenya. Most recently she was Director of ICT at Hillcrest International schools in Nairobi. Since giving up full time teaching, she has been working for Computers 4 Kids, creating learning materials for Minecraft: Education Edition. Computer 4 Kids has been working on this for the past 8 months, learning how best to use this wonderful tool to support learning in South African classrooms. Dominique has also been lucky enough to travel to Dubai to train with Neal Manegold and Meenoo Rami of the Minecraft: Education Edition team, and she is now a Certified Minecraft Trainer. Why not invite Dominique to conduct a training session on using Minecraft: Education Edition at your school?


If you want to know anything about using Minecraft in your classroom in South Africa, Dominique Cave is the person to approach. She is a teacher with 23 years of international and local classroom experience teaching students from pre-school age to Year 13. If you had told her, when she started teaching, that she would become the first (and currently, the only) Minecraft Certified Educator in South Africa, she wouldn’t have believed you!

Dominique's Minecraft: Education Edition certifications

Learning about Minecraft: Education Edition
Dominique learned about Minecraft Education Edition through Computers 4 Kids when they asked her to investigate whether she could create some lessons based on the product. She then had to learn how to play Minecraft and experiment with the new versions as Microsoft started to release Minecraft: Education Edition. It wasn’t until she got her 10 year old daughter on board, that she really learned how it all works. Her ten year-old spends hours watching YouTube videos to learn new things, and shares her learning with her mum! "Most classroom teachers don’t have time for researching to that extent. This is why it is so important to have a product like Computers 4 Kids Minecraft lessons where the research work has been done and worlds have been set up ready for teachers to use in their classrooms. We provide ‘Skills Cards’ with all the necessary Minecraft Skills in ‘bite sized’ chunks. These are linked to lessons so that everything a teacher needs to know for a particular lesson is available,” says Dominique. 

Minecraft In the Classroom workshop about to happen!

The importance of using technology to integrate subjects in education
Dominique believe education is about more than teaching facts;  it is about learning how to learn. Technology in our classrooms really helps us to have access to tools which can help in this quest for new skills and a culture of lifelong learning. She comments: “I also think that education should be integrated. By that I mean that individual ‘subjects’ should be interconnected and cross-disciplinary studies should be what we strive for.” Technology, and using a tool like Minecraft: Education Edition can facilitate this kind of learning.

Girls at Hillcrest International School playing Minecraft: Education Edition

Minecraft training in Dubai earlier in 2017
When asked about her recent training experience in Dubai concerning Minecraft: Education Edition Dominque explained: “Jethro MacDonald (Computers 4 Kids Business Development Manager) and myself were invited to attend the Minecraft Education Edition Partner training at Microsoft Headquarters in Dubai. Megan Rademeyer (Schoolnet) and Elsabe Hart (Microsoft Schools Ambassador in Cape Town) were also present. The four of us were given training to become Microsoft Education Edition Certified Trainers. I am also currently the only Minecraft Certified Educator in South Africa. This is something which we will hopefully change over the course of the next couple of months by training more teachers to use Minecraft Education Edition in their classrooms. We were lucky enough to be trained by Neal Manegold and Meenoo Rami who are the two senior members of the Minecraft Education Edition team."

Microsoft Head Office in Dubai

Dominique showing her training colleagues how to place blocks using the Fill
command in Minecraft: Education Edition at Microsoft in Dubai.

Why should teachers use Minecraft in their classrooms?
Dominique believes that one reason teachers should use Minecraft Education Edition in their classrooms because it provides an opportunity for their students to learn through play. “As a preschool teacher I learned the value of ‘playing’ particularly role-play for young children, but I think this is a valuable method for children of all ages to learn new things. The fact that Minecraft has been developed to mimic some of nature’s ‘rules’ (things like gravity work in Minecraft) means that this becomes a valuable simulation environment.”

For further ideas on why you should use Minecraft: Education Edition in your classroom.see our SchoolNet blog post entitled: 'Introducing Minecraft: Education Edition – what it is and why you should think about using it in your classroom'. 


Link to post: http://bit.ly/2oaeDBB

How to get started with Minecraft: Education Edition
Minecraft: Education Edition was officially launched in South Africa earlier this year. The best way to get Minecraft: Education Edition for your school is via Office 365. What makes Education Edition great for teachers is that it utilizes Office 365 to assign Minecraft accounts to students – making it a cost effective way for schools to access the game, and in a way that provides a safe, closed environment in which to play. After getting Minecraft: Education Edition via Office 365 for your school, and exploring the lessons on the Minecraft website, the next step is to get other teachers in your school to start using Minecraft. Dominique suggests: “You could get Computers 4 Kids to run Minecraft training sessions to help get your teachers excited about using Minecraft. The Computers 4 Kids Minecraft lessons are also a great place to get started, giving your teachers ideas which are already linked to the CAPs curriculum."

Stephen Reid and the Microsoft ‘Team’ at the Cape Town launch
of Minecraft Education Edition.

Can Minecraft be used in conjunction with other Microsoft Apps?
Minecraft works well with some of the other Microsoft Apps. Dominique says, “I’m loving Office Mix as a way for students to record their Minecraft: Education Edition game  play and turn it into the basis for a project. Similarly, students could make a Sway about a topic and include a video of themselves moving around in a Minecraft world, or a series of stills to which they have added speech bubbles to create a comic book effect.”

A coding connection introduced in Minecraft
After her extensive background in teaching at International schools in many countries Dominique says: "I think that in South Africa we are lagging behind the rest of the world in terms of technology in our curriculum. We have no requirement to teach students about computer technology and computer science. In the UK National Curriculum, Computing is compulsory and all students now leave school with at least a basic idea of how computers work and the basics of computational thinking. This is something I would like to see us really pushing in South Africa."  Using Minecraft can start closing that gap in coding knowledge. Minecraft: Education Edition now includes Coding Connection which links up Minecraft to Scratch (which is an online beginning programming platform). Students can write code in Scratch which will cause their ‘Agent’ in Minecraft to execute the statements. "This is going to be my favourite thing to do in Minecraft!"says Dominique.


What next?
Think about entering into the world of your learners and introducing Minecraft: Education Edition into their space at school. In South Africa the best way to get Minecraft: Education Edition for your class is for your school to sign up by registering for Office 365 for Education  (which is free) and then buying Minecraft: Education Edition from a Microsoft Authorised Education Partners (AEP). These are current partners who can assist you:

Partner Name
Contact Person
 Email
Computers 4 Kids
Russell Pengelly
Scadco
Mitchell Struwig
ITech Solutions
Daryl Duncan
Onsite IT
Clayton Campbell
Masterskill
Roelof de Bruyn
GACS
Brian Carl Brown
Dial a Nerd
Warren Morton

Technical requirements for Minecraft: Education Edition:
Operating System: Windows 10 or macOS
Identity: Office 365 Education account for each player. This is free for schools and your Authorised Education Partner can assist you getting this set up.
Network: Internet access required for login and multiplayer

Further reading:

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Do you know about Mahala.ms? Free Office with 1TB space for your learners in South Africa - from Microsoft and 2Enable

In a webinar this week presented by MIEExpert and Microsoft Ambassador, Ronelle Klinck, (http://bit.ly/2rfhSd5) we heard about the partnership offer from Microsoft amd 2Enable in SA and their unbelievable free gift to all South African learners. They have called this offer Mahala.

What is Mahala?
Microsoft South Africa and 2Enable are partnering up to offer all South African school learners (ages 8 – 25 years) free access to Microsoft Office across all your devices as well as 1TB of OneDrive. It is obtained through signing up at http://mahala.ms/


Free Office Apps
Learners can share their schoolwork and collaborate on all devices and platforms with familiar applications and always-accessible files that update in real time. YES they can use all the apps they know and love across all their favourite devices. They can get Word, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook and Excel and use them on their PC or MAC, Mobile Phone or Tablet. How is that!

                          

Free OneDrive
This includes free OneDrive and the free 1TB allows enough FREE space to store 200,000 songs, 17,000 hours of music, 250 movies or 310,000 photos. It is huge!


Ready to help your learners create their FREE accounts? Then head over to http://mahala.ms/ where you can read all about it and help your learners fill in the forms. (If a learner is under 18 years old they need an adult to help them fill in the form).

Friday, 12 May 2017

Useful Google in Education posts this week #100

After looking through all the Google posts that were shared to various subscriptions recently, these are a selection that look useful for teachers https://goo.gl/rSnmx3    (The link to previous posts can be found here https://goo.gl/CNO3M2



SchoolNet webinar recording and presentation link 'A Roadmap for Teacher Professional Development' by Ronelle Klinck


On Thursday afternoon 
11 May at 3:30pm we held a free SchoolNet webinar entitled We are 'A Roadmap for Teacher Professional Development' Our speaker was Ronelle Klinck, a MIEExpert from Johannesburg and a Teacher Ambassador with Microsoft South Africa. Ronelle has always been passionate about developing teachers and helping them work toward reaching their goals.She gave us some pointers for teacher professional development as noted in the webinar description below.


Webinar description

Ronelle described her webinar topic as follows: "I have always been passionate about supporting teachers in their personal professional development journey. Jessica Piper, in an online article introduces the topic of PD by stating 'A professional development session can leave a teacher feeling knowledgeable and excited, or feel like the session was a waste of their time'. https://shar.es/19jMNA The article allowed me to reflect upon my own PD as well as supporting others in their journey. In this webinar, I will share ideas and best practice on how to curate a professional development portfolio and tips to ensure that professional development sessions are designed meaningfully."

The downloadable webinar presentation
Here is the downloadable presentation from the webinar available online in SlideShare:


The webinar recording

How to Trim and Clip an online YouTube video using YouTube Editor


Submitted by Fiona Beal
Today I had the problem of uploading a video that had sound problems to YouTube. There had been some loss of Internet connectivity during the recording of the video and I wanted to delete those blank spaces from the video. Normally I would have used Windows Live Movie Maker  but Windows 10 no longer supports Windows Live Movie Maker (oh how I miss that program). I decided to try uploading the problematic video to YouTube first and then use the YouTube video editor to attempt tp trim and clip the video in its online form. It worked! I thought I would record the process.

What is YouTube Video Editor?
My first step was to look at what YouTube help says at https://goo.gl/Eh9Vgi. YouTube Video Editor is YouTube's collection of online tools that enables one to edit your uploaded video in a number of ways:
  • Combine multiple videos and images you've uploaded to create a new video.
  • Trim your clips to custom lengths.
  • Clip out pieces that you don't want.
  • Add music to your video from a library of approved tracks.
  • Customize clips with special tools and effects
  • Publish the new video to YouTube and choose its viewing preferences.
All of your uploads, while you are doing this, are added automatically to the Video Editor where you can make them private until your task is complete. The Video Editor tool at www.youtube.com/editor isn't currently able to publish videos that are longer than one hour. You can still use the Enhancements or Audio tools to process longer videos.

How to get started
My task was listed in the things the editor can do. I wanted to Clip out unwanted blank spaces and Trim the video. You can get to the Video Editor  at http://www.youtube.com/editor if your video is already uploaded. Mine wasn't yet uploaded so here are the steps:

Log in to your YouTube account
Sign into your Google account and go to YouTube https://www.youtube.com/ After logging in I clicked on the upward facing arrow icon in the top right hand corner, and uploaded the video as normal. Here is an image of the icon:
I set the video to private for now so that any subscribers wouldn’t be notified that a new video had been uploaded. In this step I added all the required information about the video.
                            

Edit the Video

1. Open Creator Studio
I clicked on the my name in the right hand corner and selected Creator Studio which is found right underneath my name. This opened a new section with information on the left hand side. On the left side under "Video Manager," I clicked on Videos and selected the video I wanted to edit.


2. Select Edit/Enhancements
Under the video the Edit button was evident. I selected Enhancements. The two enhancements I was interested in were Split and Trim.

3. Work with Trim.
I decided to use Trim first when Enhancements opened, as I needed to cut a piece off the end of the video to shorten it. To do this I clicked on Trim and selected where I wanted to stop the video.

4. Working with Split.
When you click on Trim, the word Split appears at the very bottom under the image of the video breakdown. In this view I wanted to cut out any places where we lost sound.
a) To do this click on the actual video footage at the bottom at the actual place where you want to stop.
b) Select Split and a blue bar appears.
c) Continue to the place where you want to restart the sound again and click Split once more.
d) You’ll notice in the image below the trimmed section on the bottom right and the two split sections with a cross and the word Delete next to it. Select the cross where the word Delete appears and the section is trimmed. If you check this now by playing the video just before the split part, the video jumps over that part seamlessly as though it didn't exist, and it continues.


e) This is what the video in edit mode looked like after the final trimming and splitting (see below). Notice all the greyed-out gaps representing the trimming and clipping. The next step is to click on the word Done. 
                          

f) After clicking Done I am taken to a view where you can see a preview and the original in case you want to revert to the original and start again after watching the preview.


Save as a new video
If you are satisfied with the job done, you can now move to the section on the right of the video and click on Save as a new video. If you want to you can just click Save and the video will replace the previous version. Because I felt unsure I decided to click on Save as a new video. After I saved this video as a new video I immediately set it to private so that no subscribers would be notified while the video is being processed. Incidentally, this processing takes a while.


Where did I learn how to do all this?
I watched a great tutorial from Derral Eves called ‘How To Trim Slice and Edit Your YouTube Videos’. I have embedded it below.

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Useful Microsoft in Education posts this week #102

The Internet is currently full of posts about using Microsoft products effectively in the classroom. Here are a number of them from this past week. The list is embedded below but can also be found at http://bit.ly/2qXgLO5. The link to the back-dated posts is:http://bit.ly/1GVLTUZ



SchoolNet free webinar 'A Roadmap for Teacher Professional Development' by Ronelle Klinck on Thurs 11th May at 3:30pm


We are pleased to announce that our next free webinar, 'A Roadmap for Teacher Professional Development' will be held on Thursday 11 May at 3:30pm. Our speaker will be Ronelle Klinck, a MIEExpert from Johannesburg and a Teacher Ambassador with Microsoft South Africa.  Ronelle has always been passionate about developing teachers and helping them work toward reaching their goals. “I would like to encourage teachers to see beyond limitations such as a lack of Internet connectivity or learners who do not have their own devices. Teachers are the most dynamic group of people and often use limited resources to achieve amazing outcomes.” Ronelle will be giving us some pointers for teacher professional development as noted in the webinar summary below.


Webinar details

Webinar title: A Roadmap for Teacher Professional Development
Summary: Ronelle says: "I have always been passionate about supporting teachers in their personal professional development journey. Jessica Piper, in an online article introduces the topic of PD by stating “A professional development session can leave a teacher feeling knowledgeable and excited, or feel like the session was a waste of their time”. https://shar.es/19jMNA The article allowed me to reflect upon my own PD as well as supporting others in their journey. In this webinar, I will share ideas and best practice on how to curate a professional development portfolio and tips to ensure that professional development sessions are designed meaningfully."
Date: Thursday 11th May, 3:30 - 4pm
Duration: 15-20 minutes
Presenter: Ronelle Klinck, Teacher Ambassador, Microsoft South Africa Johannesburg
Host: Fiona Beal
To join the meeting: http://meet78641452.adobeconnect.com/teacherpd/

Note:
If you have never attended an Adobe Connect meeting before or if you haven’t attended an Adobe Connect meeting for a while you might need to install a free add-in. To investigate this, test your connection: http://bit.ly/2kcJiiH

Saturday, 6 May 2017

'Sharing our Stories: Finding your People – how the #ZAedu hashtag was born!' A guest post from Monique Franzen

This is a guest post from Monique Franzen @moniquefranzsen.  Monique is the Junior Primary IT Specialist at Bridge House in the Western Cape. She is also a Google Certified Educator and Trainer, and a Microsoft Innovative Educator. Monique has her own technology blog called Teacher Squeaks. After the recent EdtechTeam Google In Education Summit at Parklands in Cape Town, Monqiue created the hashtag #ZAedu as a place where South African teachers can gather on Twitter and share their stories. This post describes her journey to creating the hashtag. South African educators, let's all starting using the #ZAedu hashtag when we post our stories on Twitter to keep in contact with each other...

Moniqiue says: 
I'm going to steal my opening of this blog from the amazing Keynote speech I was lucky enough to attend on Wednesday:

Once upon a time there was a little girl called Monique.

This opening is important, because my theme today is about sharing our stories. It gets a little personal in this post today, ladies and gents.

The theme of storytelling resonated through Lindsay Wesner's Keynote at the EdTechTeam Cape Town Summit. She told us to be brave, even if we didn't feel like were brave. She shared her own story and the stories told by her students. She encouraged us to share our teaching journeys on social media and to prove to other educators that great, revolutionary education could be possible here in South Africa.

Lindsay rocking the main stage at the EdTechTeam Cape Town Summit

After the summit was over, I was at a braai with some other teachers who had also attended. My friend, Barbara, and I were wrapping our heads around the idea of sharing our stories - we wanted to find a platform for local teachers to do that. Earlier that day, Barbara had presented a session on using G Suite for Primary Maths and we had been in a conversation with the people attending, sharing hashtags like #gafe4littles and #primaryrocks where they could find more activities like the one Barbara had been demonstrating. We were giving them direct links to social media in order to connect and engage with other educators.


Then it hit me. We needed a hashtag. South African teachers needed a hashtag to rally around, to have a place to share their story and to promote good, local practice. After the braai I did some searching and found out two things:

1) #SAedu was already used, albeit infrequently, by South Australian educators
2) I also found out that back in my early, experimental days of Twitter I had started a list of SA teachers on Twitter. It was called ZA Edu. I checked the hashtag and found that #ZAedu was essentially unused.

And so #ZAedu was born.


I will be the first one to admit that Twitter didn't grab me in the beginning. I remember saying that Tweeting felt like standing on a box and shouting at a room of people who were having their own conversations. Sometimes it still feels a bit like that to me. In terms of building up a PLN (personal learning network), though, it is absolutely invaluable. The brevity of Twitter, which frustrates me, means that you have to be succinct to get your idea across. Over time I have come to see the value of Twitter more and more, as it allows instant connection with your peers. That is the magical part.

I never really enjoyed school as a child. I found it difficult to connect with other children. My mum kept me going with my very own mantra, that one day I would go to university and then I would find my people. I was the first person in my family to go to university, and I did indeed find my people. Through finding those peers, those people who thought and strived for the same things I did, I also found myself.

The same thing happened to me this week when I attended the Cape Town summit. Even though I was nervous and had to be brave every time I spoke to someone, I felt at home. My crazy ideas were not crazy! Instead of looking at me blankly, they validated my opinion, or, even better, asked a question. I had found my people. Twitter and social media is an irreplaceable way for us to find our people online, too, and hashtags are a great way to filter through the spaghetti tangle that is the internet.

And so Monique found her people.


I hope that we can use #ZAedu as a digital space to share authentic, enthusiastic teaching in South Africa. I know that is happening in other classrooms because I had the privilege to attend the summit. Not all of our SA teachers can go to a summit, so this can be our way of connecting. I want to see what is happening in SA classrooms on that hashtag. I want you to share your bright ideas and madcap methods. Show me the amazing work that your students and colleagues are doing. Sharing these moments with other educators will give them inspiration to be that force of change in their own environments.

As a wise woman once said... we are those that can shape the narrative of education in South Africa.

Friday, 5 May 2017

Get started with Lesson planning in Minecraft:Education Edition

This is the fifth post in a series of posts about using Minecraft: Education Edition in the classroom. (The series of posts can be accessed at: http://bit.ly/2pRigwJ) In this post we take a look at lesson planning using Minecraft: Education Edition and we explore where to find ready-made lessons as well as how to create your own lessons using Minecraft: Education Edition.


There is a lot of buzz about using Minecraft in the classroom at the moment. Teachers have been experimenting with different ways to use it in the classroom for some time now, and they have found that Minecraft: Education Edition is a great vehicle for learning in their classrooms. But, the two big questions that most teachers ask are:
  • How does one go about finding already-created lessons on using Minecraft: Education Edition in the classroom? 
  • How does one create a lesson from scratch using Minecraft: Education Edition? 
Here are a few guidelines to follow:

How to find already-created feely-shared lessons on the Minecraft website
There are a whole bunch of ready-made, freely-shared lesson plans waiting for you on the official Minecraft website https://education.minecraft.net/class-resources/lessons/ On this website one can find lessons spanning primary, intermediate, and secondary school for use with your students. There are featured lessons:


There is also a section on the website where you can search for lessons for the age group and subject that you teach.


These are all beautifully presented and easy to follow. I had a search for Maths for Ages 6-7 and came up with quite few options to investigate.\


Ideas for creating lessons from Mark Grundel in his article ‘Lesson Creation in Minecraft: Education Edition’.

Mark Grundel provides the following pointers to lesson planning

Planning
Mark suggests using a blank sheet of paper or graphc organizer for this. In this stage you decide on the skills you would like the learners to work on, and think about a back story narrative for the lesson. One would also decide on game elements to be included.
  • World Setup: There are several worlds in Minecraft – which one would be best for your purposes? 
  • Decide between Creative and survival mode. (On the website https://education.minecraft.net/lessons/geocaching-lesson/ you can see Mark’s geocaching lesson example and how he has created it.) 
  • He suggests that one makes use of potions to quickly build.
  • He adds that one should determine one’s world spawn point.
  • After that set your inventory. Mark determined that he wanted all players entering my game to start with some items, which they could never loose. Minecraft Education Edition has a unique feature of a fixed inventory, which all players will start with upon entering the world.
Narratives Using NPCs (Non Player Characters)
After the planning stage the next step would be to create the back story narrative. Minecraft Education Edition has a unique offering of using Non-Player Characters as shown below to give the back story and the directions:


Build Your World

The next step is to build your world. Mark says: “This is the really fun part. As the teacher and game designer you can determine what you want your students to accomplish. Where do you want them to go? Will there be false clues. You are only limited by your creativity.”

Ways to use Minecraft in your classroom
Albeit using already-created Minecraft lessons in your classroom or creating your own lessons, there are a ton of ideas available. In his Edutopia article ‘Ideas for Using Minecraft in the Classroom’ Andrew Smith https://goo.gl/r2E3iQ here are a couple:

Make History Come Alive
There are many already-created three-dimensional replica structures available in Minecraft Education Edition, such as the Roman Colosseum or the Globe Theatre in London. You can import these into your created game for the learners to explore.

Add a Tool for Writing

Minecraft: Education Edition can be used to tell stories with characters, locations, choices, motivations, and plots. Learners can write and create stories based on their character within Minecraft: Education Edition.

Aid Visualization and Reading Comprehension
Learners can demonstrate their reading comprehension by creating a visualization. They can reconstruct various settings from a text, and even re-create scenes and plot events.

Address Problem Solving and Other Math Principles
Teachers can use Minecraft to build skills needed for Maths competency.

Further reading
  • Take a look at: Petoskey's ‘Bringing Minecraft into the classroom’ to read about Nikky Willison’s third-grade classroom on a particular Wednesday morning.creating zoos in Minecraft. On this day there were about a dozen zoos in the process of construction as students worked in pairs to create the ideal habitats for a wide array of animals through the use of Minecraft: Education Edition
                             

Why not enter the May 2017 Global Virtual Classroom Mini Web Design Contest for K-12 Classes using Google sites...hurry!

Submitted by Fiona Beal
I have participated, with a class, in the full 12 month Global Virtual Classroom web design contest in the past http://www.virtualclassroom.org/contest.html and it was a really great collaborative experience using Google Sites. The good news is that they have introduced a much shorter 10 week option, known as the Global Virtual Classroom Mini, that takes place during the year. The following information about this is taken from the Global Virtual Conference wiki http://minigvc.wikispaces.com/

Registration for the May contest is about to close
Applications for the May Contest are still open…if you hurry! The registration form is available at https://goo.gl/EIE17e

What is the MINI GVC?
MINI GVC is the outcome of some serious thinking regarding preparedness in the context of Collaboration, Commitment, Contribution and Copyright while participating in GVC contests. After functioning as a Teacher-coordinator for GVC Contest from 2009-16 one of the participants noticed that quite often teams do not shine in collaboration which is primarily the aim and purpose of GVC - to share and care. It could be due to various valid reasons but yet we would like not to compromise on the quality and productivity of our websites.

When does the MINI GVC Contest take place?
MINI GVC is a prelude to GVC Contest in which students from various countries supervised by their Teacher Facilitators would represent their schools to create a website on a pre-decided age appropriate theme. The Mini contest is open for approximately 10 weeks during September-November, February-April and June-August. The contest is open for students from K-12 schools around the world to create a collaborative website on a topic of world interest. Groups are assigned by GVC, and may consist of anywhere from 2-4 schools.

Contributions
Contributions can be text, illustrations, multimedia, recorded/textual discussions, interviews, etc all original created by the participants themselves.Copyright rules have to be strictly followed while utilizing content (text /illustrations/photos/videos etc) from another website. Attributions and Citations are a must for every post in the website.

Results
Results shall be announced after every trimester and winners will be awarded Gold, Silver and Bronze Star Certificates. Assessment will be based on Creativity/Originality, Social Responsibility, Team Spirit, Technical Skill and Copyright.

Features of MINI-GVC
Perfect for schools with time constraints. One can choose a convenient trimester.
Acquire new technical skills and improve existing talents.
Improve and acquire collaborative communication skills.
Understand and appreciate cultural differences.
One school can participate in one or more trimesters.
One school can register more than one group in a trimester.

Have Questions?
Contact:
Project Manager - lakshmi.srinivas@gsbi.org
Program Manager - jbarnstable@gsbi.org

This program is a project of Give Something Back International Foundation. www.gsbi.org

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

How to introduce yourself on Microsoft Sway and add your Sway to your profile on the Microsoft Educator Community

Submitted by Fiona Beal
Recently, in a professional development session, I introduced a group of educators to Microsoft Sway. They were delighted with the application after creating a Sway introducing themselves. The plan was to then join Microsoft’s great one-stop-for-all space, the Microsoft Educator Community, and add the Sway they had created to their profile. I thought I would capture this process in a blogpost.


What is Sway?
Microsoft Sway is Microsoft’s newest, creative, free, online presentation tool released in August 2015, Sway allows users who have a Microsoft account to combine text and media to create an online presentation that includes text, images, audio, video, tweets and documents.

                         

How do you access Sway?
Sway can be accessed in a number of ways:
1) Via Office 365
2) Via OneDrive
3) Via http://sway.com

How can I learn to use Sway?
The best way to learn how to use Sway is to go to the Course section on the Microsoft Educator Community http://bit.ly/1T2eZEN where there is a free Introduction to Sway course that should take you from 45 minutes to 2 hours to do (if you are creating a Sway as you go through the videos on the course). You’ll find it at http://bit.ly/2lut4BC it will also give you 500 points on the Microsoft Educator Network. Take a look at this Sway course. It is very worthwhile to work through. This is what you’ll learn:
  • How to create a Sway from start to finish
  • How to collaborate with others on a Sway 
  • How to share your finished Sway with others 
What can you do with Sway?
You can use Sway very effectively in a classroom as long as you have Internet access. It can be used to create and share interactive reports, make presentations of various kinds, create personal stories, create digital stories, create assignments, present study materials, present portfolios, do project recaps, create newsletters… The possibilities are endless. Best is that this can be done right from a phone, a tablet or a browser. Learners can collaborate on Sway and they can share their Sways with the rest of the class or a wider community. It is perfect to use as an introduction to yourself as the educators on the training mentioned above discovered.

How can I share a Sway?
It's super easy to share a Sway. Grab a link and send it by email.


What is some of Sway’s terminology?
You'll come across words like Storyline, Preview, Card, and Remix,

Create your own Sway
Why not do a task like the one below to create a Sway about yourself, and add it to your profile on the Microsoft Educator Community to gain extra points? As we go through this I will show you how I did it with my Microsoft Educator Community Sway. (Note: This is only one way to do it – you can use your imagination and do something completely different!)

1. Start with a title and add a photo of yourself as the background
When you open Sway you’ll see this template on your opening page:


After adding your Title Text, add an image to the section on the left labelled Background.  This can be searched for using the Search Sources box on the left if you wish to add an online image. This will search through Creative Commons images. However, If you go to the tab that says Suggested you’ll be able to upload an image from your computer. To do this click on Background,  Suggested (top left)  and My device (bottom). Upload your desired photo.


The result could be something like what is shown below.



2. Add text information about yourself in the next card
Click on the green diamond + icon under your finished title card and select the Text option.  Write about yourself in this card so as to introduce yourself to other teachers from other parts of the world who may want to collaborate with you.


 Here is my example:


3. Add an image and give an explanation about the image
For the next card, click on the green diamond plus icon, choose Image and upload an image from your device.


You can simply add a caption for your image, but you can also add an explanation of the image which is what I have done.

Here is my example. I added three photos in the way I described above.


Add three photos like I have done. Make one an image with an explanation and the other two images with longer text.


3. Add a video
There are several ways to add a video. Go to Cards – Video to add your video. Another way would be to click the green plus, and select three dots and video. From there you would click the Add the video button. Add your suggestion for online links. Once you have found the video drag it into the video box.

However, if you want to add a video from your device go to Suggested, My Device, and find the video on your device.


 Add two videos with an explanation like I have done.


4. Add a tweet
This gives you extra points on the Microsoft Educator Community.

This video takes you through the process of adding a tweet.



Here is my example


5. Finalise your Sway
Finalise your sway by adding a text card with a closing paragraph.


There you have it. All you need to do now is add your Sway to your profile on the Microsoft Educator Community. There are prompts to take you through this.

This is what you’ll see once it is done. 


Spend some time getting to know this great application, Sway. It's different! It is great!