Keeping the classroom open even when the school is closed

06 Mar 2020

Keeping the classroom open, even when the school is closed

With so many schools using the secure, cloud based Office 365 apps to upload and assess assignments and improve communication between teachers and students, teaching and learning is no longer confined to within the four walls of the classroom. 

Having years of experience using Office 365 and digital learning platforms to enhance teaching and learning, several of our partner schools tell us about the benefits they’ve found from integrating technology into their day-to-day workflow and the value of learning anytime, anywhere.

Deputy principal of Old Bawn Community School, Sarah Gibbons, explains.

As a school, we are eager to safeguard our students’ learning should unforeseen circumstances such as school closures occur and we are confident that our digital progress has created the foundations for this. We moved to a digital platform for planning, recording and submitting student’s work, assignments and CBAs and we use Office 365 apps in a variety of different ways to suit the needs of each subject and the students’ learning styles.”

“We use Microsoft Teams to support and allow students and teachers to communicate with one another or offer clarification on content.added Cathal Molloy, digital technology coordinator.

“Student work can quickly be uploaded by the teachers, completed by the students and graded with feedback using either a rubric, free text or annotation directly on the students’ submitted piece of work."

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(Students from ClareGalway College using Office 365 in the classroom)

In terms of organising and storing content safely in one place, Andrew Maloney of Firhouse Educate Together School tells us of the advantages he finds in using OneNote.

“We use OneNote to ensure that all students can access the learning content with ease. Students’ subjects are clearly laid out and there are different units of learning with clear learning intentions, resources and differentiated worksheets all in one app. Students can also document their learning online by uploading images of this work. As teachers, OneNote provides us with a way to instruct our students and to check in on the learning from the classroom or the comfort of home.” 

With so many Office 365 educational apps which all work together seamlessly, principal of Sandymount Park Educate Together school, Paula Mulhall, tells us how they help their students to access the learning as often as they need.

“Microsoft Stream allows for tuition videos to be created by teachers, describing key concepts and topics within subjects so that students get the benefit of teacher explanations and tutorials whether they are present in school or not."

All of this of course may not be the best news to students’ ears as Susie French, teacher in charge of Digital Learning in Newpark Comprehensive School explains.

“Much to the disgust of many of our students, We have been telling them that even if the school closes due to storms, snow or viruses they will not miss out on any teaching and learning thanks to Office 365 apps Teams and OneNote!"

“Two years ago when we closed due to snow, I used OneNote to post work for my exam classes so they were able to continue studying and submitting work to me. Two years on, I have a Team for each of my groups, and a OneNote and Flipgrid group within it. I find these invaluable in helping my students progress. I can post assignments and messages to the group in Teams explaining the content and students can ask me questions about the work. And as a language teacher, I have found Flipgrid great for setting oral assignments. I can pose a question or throw out a topic and they can each respond by video.”

The reaction to using Office 365 apps from teachers and students in these schools has been very positive as this student from Old Bawn Community School explains.

“I like when I submit a graph and the teacher writes ways to make it better. I get to see how I went wrong and how far I’ve come because I don’t lose any of my work as it’s all in one place.”

LC Physics Student.

“As a school, we are delighted with the progress that we have seen since we implemented our Digital Strategy. Office365 applications and the support of Wriggle has meant that our students’ learning has been greatly enhanced with more continuity, greater communication and development of a broader set of skills, and a more enjoyable and dynamic learning and teaching environment.”

Sarah Gibbons, Deputy Principal, Old Bawn Community School

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(Teachers in Old Bawn Community School using Office 365 to collaborate in CPD)

For more information on keeping the classroom open with Office 365 for education, Contact Us or Ph: 01 5009060.

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