Posted in Professional learning, random ramblings, Teaching and Learning, Techie stuff

Powerpoint recording – the little tab that can

When I first heard that one of my most favouritist tools Office Mix (an add in for Microsoft Powerpoint) was not going to be available from mid 2018, I had a proper tanty. I LOVE mix, use it all the time, for handy little feedback videos, for relief lessons when I am away, for exam walk throughs, for all sorts of things. It made powerpoint, a fabulous tool which gets so much stick, a really flexible, powerful and essential tool for me, and it made learning rewindable and accessible from everywhere. Flipped learning was a breeze.  So, with some trepidation, I made myself check out the new powerpoint recording feature today as I wanted to give some kids some feedback on their practice tasks for an assessment, and I can say it was perfect. Just as easy, with a nice interface, easy options for saving videos once you have made them, the same ability to do screen recordings, the inking worked superbly,  it is awesome. You can find out how to access the recording tab in powerpoint 2016 via this link.  You do need to have Microsoft Office 2016 installed, and if you are already logged into powerpoint, it automatically finds your stream account to upload the videos too. Given that you can add Stream tabs into teams, it is an easy way to share the flipped learning videos with students. Almost seems too easy.

So, what does it look like?

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The recording tab has all my favourites from office Mix. I mostly used record slide show, usually with images of student work or a past exam question. Sometimes for a particular concept or idea….

The recording space is straightforward, and there is a nice range of colours for inking. You can choose a camera (or none in this case)

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I liked that any notes added in came across from the powerpoint slides, and that you could change the font size 🙂 But you couldn’t add notes from the recording end…

blog3Considering it is early on in the recording tabs days, there are sufficient add ins just sitting there, and I will have an explore of other options available in the store. But being able to add a PhET simulation is awesome, especially for relief, as you know it will work from within the powerpoint/stream format, where as sometimes the animations can be a bit browser specific which can cause a relief teacher some confusion and concern. It is also really awesome to be able to embed the web viewer into the presentation too – again it saves having to send the students too many places. And given that this whole thing can be accessed via teams, it will save a lot of clicks (and hopefully confusion and/or side tracking other browser windows open) for those students 🙂

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You can also still make a screen shot or a screen recording (handy for tech tips for teachers!! or students – I can see me making a few for minecraft and microbit coding tutorials), or put in a video, and then there are the export/save options. It did take a few minutes for each video to upload (maybe 10 minutes for a 5 minute video) but then I did have about 10 different browser windows open and was trying to do about 50 things at once, so maybe it is faster if it can just do its job.

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So I am really happy with the recording tab in powerpoint (even if it is somewhat begrudgingly). It has almost all of the features of Office Mix that I loved, and it worked seamlessly first try with Stream, which allowed me to email students their feedback straight from the stream interface. Given it slots into teams so well, I think I will end up using this an awful lot this year.

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Posted in surface, Teaching and Learning

My first go with Microsoft Office Mix

So, I first heard about Microsoft Office Mix at Ulearn 2 weeks ago, and then saw some more at the Microsoft Innovative Educators Expert (MIEE) weekend in Sydney. Office Mix is an add on for Microsoft powerpoint that allows you to easily record, annotate and include quizzes within a powerpoint presentation. It was something I really wanted to try, I have blogged earlier about making videos for my classes using powerpoint, and this seemed a perfectly timed next step. So I started reading up on using Office mix, and found some really helpful videos and blogposts. Among the most helpful to be was this one from Sam McNeill at STAC featuring work from Matt Nicoll and fellow MIEE Ben Hilliam. I also checked out the office mix web site – where you can download the add on for free, and there are a range of helpful tutorials and videos. Most importantly to get some ideas, there are a variety of prepared office mix vids you can watch (there is currently a competition, so if you vote for your favourite office mix, your school could win some surface pros!!). There are also some good reviews in a NZ context via learning tech and technet.

So, with all the reading out of the way, I dove in and gave it a go.

My resulting ‘mix’ is very simple, very short, and doesn’t include a quiz. But I am exceptionally pleased with how easy it was to make. I just started by putting the base text on the powerpoint. I tossed up about using type or ink, and went with type as it was neater than my writing. I wanted to distinguish the process to follow from the base info.

I did have some paper notes for the equations, next time I might do a script so I have a clearer idea of what I am doing. As I get more confident I shouldn’t need this, but I felt today I was a bit jerky. However, the writing was in real time, it was ridiculously simple to use and the finished ‘product’ is very useable.

A small hick up I had was I touched the home screen button while I was writing with the pen. An easy fix is next time, I’ll hold the screen ‘upside down’ so the home button is on my left side, so my right hand won’t bump it while I am writing. It wasn’t a biggie, but will hopefully save the moment of mad panic as the screen changes mid sentence on me. Fail – but a good wee learning curve too.

It also took longer than I thought to convert to a video format. In the days of instant everything, waiting a few minutes (between 5 and 10) felt like a thousand years. So if you are making one, plan something to do in the downtime. I glared at it for a while, then checked e-mails and twitter, came back and it was done. It is possible uploading to mix would take less time, but as this was my first one I wasn’t ready for that step yet.

On the whole, Office mix is a real winner from me, and with it being so quick and easy – bonus of being easy to export to video (even if it was a bit slow) so I can put it up on youtube and embed into my class weebly easily. I can use powerpoint resources I already have, and expand on them using the ink function. I might have to get a proper stand, so when I use the camera I am not looking down on it and appear to have a thousand chins 🙂 Or I think I’ll just keep me out of it, students know what I look like. There are lots of differing opinions about the disembodied head in some videos…. I will have to play some more and see what works for me and my students.

I will definitely be using Office mix again. Next step is to get more confident with my voice and my writing, and to include a quiz feature. Which again seems relatively straight forward. I will also work on adjusting the volume, and perhaps finding a quieter space than my classroom at lunch time, so there isn’t so much background noise and you can’t hear the pen tapping on the surface. (update – since writing the draft, I’ve had the suggestion of using a ‘skype’ headset, or a USB microphone to minimise the background noise – nice simple solutions)

On another note, the OneNote presentation I did is continuing to send ripples through the staffroom, and several people have had a go using the software. Most have come back with the same story that it is O for awesome. So check it out, have a play and see if it works for you.

Have fun, and watch this space for some more attempts at using Office Mix