Coronavirus and Remote Learning for Education
Are you entering unknown territory amidst the new remote learning wave sweeping the nation as our UK schools close? In these uncertain times, we’ve got your back and are here as a trusted partner to our Education customers to work alongside Microsoft and ensure you and your staff are supported as you embark on a potentially unknown journey into remote learning.
Already deployed Microsoft Teams?
If you’ve already got Teams up and running in your organisation then the likelihood is that you are ahead of the game and at least equipped with the tools to provide a robust remote learning environment for students and a pathway to keeping your staff connected. However, we appreciate that present conditions may have escalated your need to action this usage and staff may not feel readily trained or confident in their use of Teams. Dominic Williamson, Microsoft’s program manager for Microsoft Teams for Education has provided a whole host of webinars and resources to help get you started and staff feeling confident here:
- Part 1 – Setup your class team https://youtu.be/v2DorZg9m20
- Part 2 – Schedule online meetings https://youtube.com/watch?v=Jqyg-PSP1AU&list=PLXPr7gfUMmKyX-nap0IClZoRsFC02JUZ3&index=12&t=0s
- More webinars – https://aka.ms/TeamsEDUwebinars
In addition, you can join the specially set up ‘Microsoft Enabling Remote Learning Community’ which is a global team joined by many educators worldwide with the specific aim to provide support and guidance during this time. Follow this link to join: https://aka.ms/JoinRemoteLearningCommunity.
Microsoft have also created a bespoke website dedicated to help make the transition to distance learning, they’ve created resources, training and how to guides that will help support IT, educators, staff and students as they make this transition. Find the website here: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/education/remote-learning
Looking for where to begin?
For many educational institutions, you may be at the very daunting stage of not knowing where to begin. You may have Office 365 but not yet embarked on using this as a technological tool for learning and therefore are looking for support and advice to start your journey. Chris Rothwell, UK Director of Education for Microsoft, provided useful guidance within his blog ‘Technology and contingency planning in UK Education’ for where to get started with remote learning which can be read here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/technology-contingency-planning-uk-education-chris-rothwell/
Furthermore, Jennifer King, UK Schools Engagement Lead for Microsoft has put together a fantastic blog with the support of four Microsoft Innovative Fellows who are all real teachers working through the frontline changes as schools begin to embark on a new way of teaching, giving their expert and real advice to support you. Read the blog here: https://cloudblogs.microsoft.com/industry-blog/en-gb/education/2020/03/12/4-tips-to-make-the-most-of-remote-learning-and-deliver-an-uninterrupted-student-experience/
Are you a parent, stepping into the unknown ‘home-schooling’ territory?
Perhaps the recent news has brought to the front of your mind how you will help your own children, as you begin to support them at home with their education alongside the support provided from their school. Even as educators the prospect of teaching our own children, who may be in an age range that is out of your own teaching experience can be overwhelming. Microsoft have put together a package of resources, arranged in activities by age to support parents who would welcome further guidance on supporting their children at home. In their ‘Family Learning Center’ there is a whole host of suggested ideas and partner related activities all provided for free here: https://education.microsoft.com/en-us/resource/755e5a8b?fbclid=IwAR1Rtd-3xnHdZrXPyyzyzT_aF0qMv-YgzqgEgYc5Y0hJ4zqOWivqd78zqTQ
How can Phoenix support you?
Here at Phoenix the Education Team are dedicated to continuing to support you and provide ongoing customer service.
In the wake of the impact on schools, for education customers, Microsoft has extended the following three new offers, which our Licensing Team is ready and available to support you with:
- Office 365 A1 – Free versions to all educational institutions: This version provides unlimited chat, built-in group and one-on-one audio or video calling, 10 GB of team file storage, and 2 GB of personal file storage per user. You also get real-time collaboration with the Office apps for web, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote. No restrictions for the number of users.
- Microsoft Teams for Free (Individuals and IT roll-out – in Office 365 A1 above): This version provides unlimited chat, built-in group and one-on-one audio or video calling, 10 GB of team file storage, and 2 GB of personal file storage per user.
- Minecraft: Education Edition: With extended access to Minecraft: Education Edition to all free and paid O365 Education accounts through to the end of June 2020 and a published M:EE remote learning toolkit with links to >100 Minecraft lessons and STEM curriculum.
If your organisation needs support with technical deployment and training, Phoenix are a Microsoft FastTrack Ready Partner and can provide free of charge remote guidance and advice. In addition, we have a range of chargeable value added services including bespoke training for teachers, technical consultancy and support.
Over the coming weeks, we aim to provide our customers with ongoing support via live and recorded webinars that will aim to give ideas for working remotely in education with both students and colleagues as well as giving support and guidance on any questions you may have.
Finally, on what is an undetermined journey for Educators and Schools please know that you are not alone, and we are all in this together.