Welcome to MOQdigital’s April Education Recap, where our education team share insights into innovation in education technology, tips and tricks for using learning tools in your classrooms along with some thought provocations for leaders in our schools.
This month’s recap is focussing on:
- Digital Inking: To Doodle or Not to Doodle – That Is the Question?
- Innovation, Accessibility and Inking
- Tips & Tricks for your classroom and remote learning
- Security & Governance
Digital Inking: To Doodle or Not to Doodle – That Is the Question?
Writing, painting and doodling have been the cornerstone of how we have learned, experimented, created and daydreamed for hundreds of years.
Who remembers drawing a caricature of your teacher, writing a letter to a friend or designing your dream house using pencil, pen and a ruler?
As technology advanced, we then had to learn how to type on a typewriter, then a QWERTY keyboard, communicate via email and SMS, and design and create using programs such as AutoCAD and Sketchup.
Digital inking has advanced significantly in the past few years with Microsoft providing leading edge technology for education, design and business. Even our Covid-19 registration apps require a digital signature using a pen or our finger. Day-to-day practices are now embedded in touch screen, digital inking and virtual connection.
Animation studios, advertising agencies, accounting practices and even medical services are utilising digital inking to streamline their operations and optimise workflows. Therefore, education now needs to embrace the development of these skills to prepare our students for their world beyond schooling.
Handwriting and Inking
A lot of education debate has hinged on the relevance of handwriting in education curricula with different viewpoints toing and froing between ensuring skills are developed via pen and paper and the sole focus being on typing skills. However, with advances in touch technology we can now meet both needs via digital inking and writing using touch screens with pens and our own ‘digits’.
In 2013, EdTech magazine was debating the demise of cursive handwriting in favour of typing (Handwriting vs. Typing: Which Skill Do Students Need Most? | EdTech Magazine). Skip forward 8 years, the onset of touch devices and a global pandemic has educators looking at ways for students to intuitively use their devices in an accessible and digitally native way.
Innovative schools are now introducing tablets and pens from K to 12, not only for interacting with applications, but to complement the development of handwriting skills using quality handwriting apps such as LetraKid PRO and Crazy Cursive Letters, to reinforce phonics with Jolly Phonics Letter Sounds and Dexteria to support fine motor skill development.
Innovation, Accessibility and Inking
Teachers are embracing the use of apps and digital inking to engage and support students not only in classrooms but with remote and hybrid learning. From simple notetaking that can covert writing to text through to Microsoft’s extensive suite of accessibility and learning tools that use digital inking to support and engage students in their own personalised learning process.
Mathematics tools such as Fluid Math, Math Assistant and the Geoboard app allow students to convert their digital writing to mathematical equations, suggest solutions and provide personalised quizzes to further develop their mathematical understanding of a concept.
Science lessons can be enhanced using the ‘My Incredible Body’ app to identify with the digital pen parts of the body and then record these activities for the teacher to grade later. The mapping tools and ruler can be used virtually to identify mapping points and countries in Geography lessons.
A further advantage of using digital inking during any lesson or activity is the ability for students’ actions and reflections to be recorded in real time giving teachers an insight into the thought process and steps that students have followed to produce their outcome or solution.
Immersive reader is available on all Microsoft for Education products and this allows students to use their digital pens for developing fine motor skills, writing in their first language and then using Translator or converting digital writing to text and voice to share their ideas with peers and teachers.
This is just a small sample of the features and uses of digital inking in the 21st Century classroom. Digital pens can be used across all Microsoft programs including Teams, OneNote, Forms, Excel, PowerPoint, Sway and Word.
Please reach out to our Education team to assist you and your school in using digital inking for supportive, accessible and innovative learning.
April’s Tips & Tricks
Each month we will share some tips and tricks to help you complement your teaching and learning both in the classroom and remotely.
DID YOU KNOW THAT….
Immersive Reader can now be used with PowerPoint Online, SharePoint, OneDrive and MakeCode. Use this inclusive feature to support students with a variety of disabilities, ESL/EAL students and even for those of us who just prefer to listen rather than read text.
Teachers and meeting hosts can now create up to 50 breakout rooms in Microsoft Teams that allow teachers to ‘drop in’ at any time.
Microsoft Teams now has transcript and live captioning on all live events.
The Collaboration Feature in Teams for Education just got even better. Now, when you create a new channel the “note” tab will automatically put a section in the collaboration folder of the main Classroom Notebook
This just in: Through the power of AI, teachers can create PowerPoints from Word Documents with just one click!
Pinning Insights: School leaders and teachers can pin the Insights tab to their Microsoft Teams view for all Teams. This allows quick access to important holistic data and trends to proactively engage with your Teams members and students.
Security & Governance
With the increase in remote schooling and use of collaborative and communication platforms schools and education organisations are concerned by the increased risk of cyber-attacks and illegal harvesting of confidential data and information.
Microsoft for Education products have strict protocols in place to protect data and information stored in Azure and the cloud. However, when setting up Microsoft Teams, LMS systems and other collaboration and communication platforms schools need expert advice, direction and recommendations for the governance and security of their data and data storage options.
Our MOQdigital Education Consultants are experts in governance, security and industry best practice to help leaders protect their organisational and personal data. Please reach out to our Team for advice and assistance in governance and security.