We often hear from teachers just how difficult, time intensive, and expensive it can be to make online lessons, so our goal was to make it easy to create an online lesson or presentation with something teachers already know how to use – PowerPoint. We call these online, interactive presentations "mixes" and the tool created to build them is Office Mix. Just in time for Teacher Appreciation Week, we are announcing Office Mix.
Office Mix adds functionality to PowerPoint 2013 that allows you, as a teacher, to record audio or video of yourself presenting, write on your slides as you speak to them, insert quizzes, polls, online videos, and more. You can even do full screen capture and record anything directly from your PC. Once your presentation is ready, just click, "Upload," and voila, you've created an interactive, online lesson. You choose when and with whom to share it, and you automatically get near-instant analytics on metrics like how students did on quizzes and how much time they spent watching the lesson.
So what does Office Mix actually do?
Create. Engage. Evaluate.
We spent months talking with teachers about how they use technology and pedagogical approaches like blended learning. One thing was clear – teachers want technology that can help them reach students in new ways, but they don't want to lose focus on the classroom, and they certainly don't have a lot of free time to learn a brand new technology. And, they told us, they already use and love PowerPoint.
Office Mix was designed to enable teachers to take a PowerPoint document and mix it into an interactive, playable document that can be viewed on almost any device, anywhere with an internet connection.
Office Mix gives you the ability to capture the entire experience of delivering your PowerPoint lecture, complete with visual and audio aids, with the added bonus of interactive content. It appears as a new tab in PowerPoint with several features, like allowing you to record audio and video of yourself narrating your slides, or including what you write or draw (or anything from your PC screen) on the screen.
You can also insert and customize quizzes, video and interactive apps. Among the apps that are already included in Office Mix are exercises and lessons from the enormously popular Khan Academy and CK-12 Foundation. Your students will interact with the content you provide, and you see the feedback on how they did.
Once you have created your mix, your lesson is automatically loaded to the Office Mix website as a playable, interactive lesson, and it remains private unless you choose to share it. Because Office Mix is cloud-enabled, mixes can be viewed on almost any device with a modern browser.
When students can take lessons home with them, evaluating progress becomes a challenge, so Office Mix was built to provide near-instant analytics, making it easy for you to see if students have watched the lesson and how they did on any quizzes you included. These analytics are secure and private for you as the teacher.
Getting and Using Office Mix
Office Mix is part of our Student Advantage program that we announced last fall. This is great offer that institutions around the world are taking advantage of. The way it works is simple-any academic institution that licenses Office for staff and faculty can provide Office 365 ProPlus (which includes Office Mix) for students at no additional cost. Student Advantage makes it easy for qualifying institutions to provide students with the latest version of full Office at school and at home. Combined with Office 365 for Education plan A2, which is free for schools, Student Advantage gives students access to the same set of world-class productivity tools and services used by Fortune 500 companies all over the world.
We have already seen teachers doing amazing things using Office Mix, but we want to see what other uses creative teachers can dream up! One teacher, Stacey Roshan, who has already tested the preview said:
Why am I excited about Office Mix? The ease of creating and sharing interactive screencasts is exactly what teachers need! Not only can you record audio, video, and ink directly from PowerPoint, but you can also add in interactive elements, such as embedded quizzes, exercises, and web pages. Sharing lessons is as simple as hitting the save button was on a traditional PowerPoint. Students receive instant feedback on the embedded quiz content and teachers receive detailed analytics to get a sense of students' needs. If you already have Office 2013, then you already have everything you need to get started!
Try the Office Mix customer preview today at mix.office.com.
Office Mix requires Office 2013 SP1. We'll check to see if you have the right version during installation, and let you know if you need to take action. If you know you need Office 365, you can try it for free for 30 days.
Our mission is to make creating an online lesson as simple as creating a PowerPoint. Give Office Mix a try today, and let us know what you think! And, if you create a mix that you would like to share with the world, send us the link and we will consider posting to our examples gallery.