Guest blog by Helen Gooch – Microsoft Fellow and Master Trainer: Office Mix, a Must Tool for Educators

Guest post by Helen Gooch, a Microsoft Fellow and Master Trainer. Connect with Helen Gooch on the Educator community.

Are you new to teaching? Is this your first or second year in the field? There are more teachers than ever today in our classrooms who have been in education five or fewer years. High on the list of activities you most likely are involved in as a new teacher are driving student achievement and using data to validate your classroom effectiveness. Office Mix, simply, really should be one of the teaching tools you employ on a regular basis to achieve those goals.

Let us start from your, the teacher's, perspective thinking inside the box.

You created, collaborated on, or borrowed a great PowerPoint deck that covers the standards you are currently teaching. You show it in class and your students work furiously to copy down the information on the slides in preparation for a future assessment. You work tirelessly to keep new PowerPoints coming to cover your content and your students work tirelessly to copy them so they will do well on your quizzes and tests. Sound familiar? Now, stop doing that! Try this instead. Download Office Mix, a free add-in to PowerPoint that lets educators (and others, including students) turn their slide decks into interactive lessons.

Use that PowerPoint you have worked so hard on creating and intersperse your slides with formative assessment questions such as Free Response, Multiple Choice, True False, or Multiple Response Poll.

Now instead of students busily copying everything down, they can view your PowerPoint on demand, and you have the ability to gather formative assessment data in an ongoing manner to alert you to whether your students are ready to proceed to the next objective or to continue with some re-teaching or additional practice of the current content.

How do you know which students have mastered the lesson objectives and which have not? Office Mix provides you those analytics when your students consume a mix you have uploaded to your Office Mix page. 

Click on the picture link to the right to view an exceptional video (done in Office Mix) that explains exactly what analytics are available and what permissions are necessary for you to capture your student data. You can even replay certain chapters for clarity!

Even though creating an Office Mix is easy and quick, educators want their tutorials to be interesting and engaging for their students. Here are a couple of hints to get you up and running quickly:

  • Use an external microphone attached to your computer for better sound quality.

  • Use an external camera for better positioning and angles.

  • Make your notes in your PowerPoint. When you record your mix, those details in Slide Notes appear as a "teleprompter" making your recordings go much more smoothly.

  • Keep your mix to no more than 5-7 minutes long.

We are not just limited to adding questions into our slides either. With Office Mix, we can also annotate on top of any slide, bring in screen captures, narrate teachable moments, and add a host of other learning apps into our deck to include Fluid Math, GeoGebra, CK12 content, Khan Academy content, and more.

Now, it time to think outside that box. Using Office Mix as a teacher is a no brainer. Now we can more effectively work toward blended learning or a flipped classroom model. But how about your students? What use could they make of Office Mix? Might they create a mix as a performance of understanding or a project? Would Office Mix be a good choice if students were teaching/leading a class with other students? How about as a study guide with self-checking for classmates? Thinking outside the box, the examples are endless.

The Office Mix team works to make every user as successful as possible. Make sure you spend some time visiting Office Mix for Teachers.

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