I know it is summer time and we're relaxing but many teachers out there are already getting geared up for the fall. If you're a new teacher, you have probably already called your principal to see when the first minute is you can get into your classroom. If you're a veteran teacher, you already know where all the good bulletin board paper is hidden and how to fix the laminating machine when it starts to act up so you are probably still in vacation mode. Regardless of where we are in our teaching careers we can all take the time to learn new things. If you pick just one thing to learn this summer that can enhance what you are doing in your classroom then take a sip of your lemonade and look at Office Mix at www.officemix.com
Office Mix is a new, free plug-in for PowerPoint 2013 that I describe as an easy e-learning tool with built-in analytics. While most add-ons like this just keep to themselves, Office Mix also ties the content you've created to a free online portal where you can share your lessons with students, colleagues, or anyone else in the world!
Here's how it works:
Install the plug-in from www.officemix.com
Open a new PowerPoint or start with an existing lesson (check out this Pinterest page for PP lessons and ideas: http://bit.ly/1ru5YGC)
Look for the new ribbon at the top labeled "Mix" and then record video and audio, write, and draw on your slides.
Add quizzes for formative assessments, labs from Ck-12 and PHET Interactive, and other interactive content from Khan Academy, Geogebra and more.
Upload your mix to the Microsoft cloud to create a link to share with your students. They don't have to have PowerPoint, any modern browser on any device will do!
See the results. When students click on the link, Mix can tell you how much time was spent on the content as well as collect the results of the quizzes.
The concept of the flipped classroom is fantastic but often requires hours and hours of prep work as well as using new and sometimes expensive tools for video editing, production, audio recording, web development, hosting content, and more. Office Mix allows for free and easy content creation but with the understanding that you don't have to go for a full flip to start creating useful instructional content for students. Use what you have and give it super-powers!
After a second sip of lemonade, most of you will also see the immense value in giving this tool to your students to create and share their own content. Our students have unlimited potential, it is up to us to guide them and to give them the right tools to succeed. My advice is always this, don't be afraid that your students might be better with technology than you, they'll admire and appreciate you just for giving them the opportunity to use it.
Microsoft Fellow and Master Trainer