Thursday, July 9, 2015

Microsoft Camp 21 - a reflection

Well, today I completed my two days at Microsoft Camp 21 and wow, was I surprised! I am relating to going to Disney; far better than I had expected.

I stumbled across the camp through a tweet from @mraspinall with only a week and a half before it started. I thought it looked interesting, and decided to check my calendar and sign up. 

My first confession - I don't use Microsoft products on a daily basis. Over the years, I have slowly moved over to Apple products; iPod, iPad, iPhone, Mac, and AppleTV and Google products with Drive and GAFE. It's not that I have had anything against Microsoft, I just started to use other products more and it was natural, I found with Apple, to stay in the same family of products.

That being said, I had 2 take away 'wow' moments with Microsoft products. The first was with Sway. At the start of the Sway presentation (video here), I knew nothing of the software. It only came out at the end of last year and my first impression was that it was a cross between Prezi and a blog. Well, technically it is, but after using it, it is SO easy to use and VERY effective.

The software is like a presentation, but you can add images, text, headers, videos, tweets, as well as embed content. Content can also be grouped together, comparisons can be made between (think 2 images next to each other), charts created and added, presentations embedded, images stacked. I don't that my explanation is doing it justice, but I have only used it for a little while. 

The best part? Sway is free to use and only requires an email to get an account (not necessarily a Microsoft email). Oh, and it's multi-platform - computer, tablet, phone, browser.

Here is my first Sway - not bad for a quick experiment with the software I think! Proof that it is good software - I showed this to my daughter who spent time creating her own today - and it IS summer vacation!

The second 'wow' moment was One Note. This time I had used One Note before, soon after it's 2003 release. At the time, I thought it was good but didn't really use it too much, this was before tablets and smartphones which is where I see the value of the software now (ahead of it's time?)

Again, like Sway, One Note is free to use and is multi-platform. The basic premise of the software is the same as before - notebooks can be created with sections and pages. Text, images, audio, links and a whole lot more can be added to each page. All of this can also be shared as well. Office365 users can also do more - such as creating shareable pages and notebooks with students, and locking content to annotate over it. 

This time viewing One Note, I saw more potential especially as a teacher tool. Day books, anecdotal, file for emails - in essence this will eliminate my day plan binder, records binder, and my huge amount of saved emails. I am very much looking forward to exploring this further. 

So, 2 things to explore further this summer. And I am looking forward to it!


  1. Glad we connected! Thanks for sharing your Sway!

  2. Tons of potential in OneNote - especially for teachers if you get into the OneNote Class Notebook Creator for Office 365 users. Check this link for more info.