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Our school's adopted Office 365

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Started by Rowan Taigel 12 May 2014 12:20pm () Replies (5)

Hi everyone,

I'm really interested in hearing from people who are using Office 365 in their schools.

In comparison to GAFE, how do you find it? Are there particular apps / functions of sharepoint / uses for sites etc that you'd be willing to share and discuss? 

As a starter, I have been using a weebly for my class sites (high school English) for the last few years. I am looking to transition to the use of 'sites' in 365 very soon.  Has anyone been using this for a while and can discuss the capabilities / functionality / benefits / potential of it?

How are you finding collaboration with staff and students in 365?  Which ways do you find are successful? eg newsfeed, shared documents etc.

Is anyone sharing and marking student work on 365?  How are you doing this?


Thanks heaps,

Rowan Taigel



  • Nikkie (View all users posts) 12 May 2014 3:32pm ()

    Hi Rowan, this Office365 business can be a bit lonely on here so I thought I'd share a little of the journey which we are just beginning.

    We don't have GAFE so I cant comment on this directly. I guessing though there are many similairties and a few differences. No one system will ever meet all of our diverse needs so I guess you just have to jump on board and see where it goes.

    We are very new to Office365 and have only just begun introducing this to staff and students. I think it would be fair to say though that we can all see great potential here.

    In terms of collaboration, it's easy, logical and very straightforward. We can, for example, have many people collaborating on the same doc, spreadhseet, one note, powerpoint etc at the same time (I haven't been able to work out the upper limit yet, we got up to around 40). At the moment with my class I am focussing on the sites function and together we are finding cool ways for our site to be a place for storing stuff and sharing things about our learning. Im finding sites a good place for us to start because I can manage the interactions here easily. I teach a Year 7/8 class so keeping a close eye while we develop our digitial citizenship skills is very necessary. We have a blog which is a subsite of our main site and this helps keep everything handy (document libraries, image libraries etc) so that everyone can post easily.

    Sharing and marking work is really easy and there are a few different ways of doing this. Probably easier to show you than tell you! We are using a very basic drop a doc into a folder arrangement at present until we all get a little braver. O365 feels familiar and this means everyone is more likely to have a little poke around to see how things work.

    Hope this helped a little.




  • Rowan Taigel (View all users posts) 13 May 2014 11:45am ()

    Hi Nikkie,


    Thanks for getting the ball rolling!

    I'm interested in using sites as well, but also very intrigued by feedback and marking strategies. I am an English teacher, and our students are working on writing portfolios this year. They need to complete 6 pieces of writing, get feedback on these and craft 2 up for summative assessment.  I've toyed with the idea of using Onenote to give feedback - eg open their file in Onenote / paste it into a Onenote doc, write comments / draw diagrams etc, drop it back into the student's folder, and they have that to refer to when editing their original.  We are in the super early stages of our adoption, so I haven't even got any student docs in folders to test my ideas out on yet, but I'm also wondering if there are the same capabilities as with a google doc, where you can edit / make comments within a doc, and track the edits and changes that have been made. Part of our standard requires being able to vouch for authenticity of student work etc.  We need to be able to see and be accountable for the writing and editing process to ensure all the work is the student's own, but give generalised support and feedback ourselves as well.

    Do you have any brainwaves about how 365 might make this possible, and even easy / enjoyable for students and teachers?



  • Anthony Swanink (View all users posts) 12 May 2014 10:33pm ()

    Hi Nikkie

    Can you clarify a bit more what you mean by the "sites function" in the paragraph "I am focussing on the sites function and together we are finding cool ways for our site to be a place for storing stuff and sharing things about our learning. Im finding sites a good place for us to start because I can manage the interactions here easily."

    I know a little about Google Sites - are you referring to this or is there an equivalent Office 365 feature that offers something similar?



  • Nikkie (View all users posts) 13 May 2014 10:36pm ()

    Rowan, I think OneNote would be a really easy way to achieve what you are thinking about here. Tracking and editing changes is simple and multiple authors (if collaborating) are easy to identify. I’m definitely not a OneNote expert by any means but I can see this would be doable. I’m not sure if we are allowed to promote services here but in another thread (Office 365 Q and A) I came across Arnika Brown (a teacher) who provides PLD (free!) for teachers around Office365. She would be worth contacting to get you up and running.

    Anthony, clarify eek! My understanding of this sites stuff is still very surface level at this stage but I will try and explain as best I can. Sites is SharePoint. Pretty much a way to centralise and manage stuff! It’s a collection of pages configured to meet your specific need. I’m using our class "site" to store and track documents mostly. This is a central place for us to store and collaborate on documents etc so that we don’t run into version problems. A site is much more than this though, there are apps (kind of like widgets) you can add to your site to increase functionality like image galleries, lists (of all kinds), newsfeeds, site mailboxes as well as your standard calendars, notices and reminders etc. You can make your site accessible to people outside your organisation, limit to those inside or make it completely public. I’m sure this is not a complete explanation. Hopefully an expert will jump in and fill in the gaps.

    I don’t know google sites but I’m guessing these are similar?




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