Create Interactive Lessons using Office Mix

What is Office Mix?

Office Mix is a very exciting addition to PowerPoint allowing teachers to make lessons interactive and to gather feedback and data from students. It is really easy to use and makes the idea of blended learning or flipping the classroom far more realistic for teachers.

Mix is a  free add-in for PowerPoint 2013 and now gives PowerPoint users added functionality to

  • create videos with voiceover
  • digitally ink slides during videos
  • add quizzes and polls
  • provide simulations
  • create screen recordings on your PC and embed these in a PowerPoint slide

By recording your PowerPoint and making it a video , with the teacher narrating throughout, students can return to the material and go through it at their own pace. What’s even more exciting is the option to add multiple choice questions, multiple response polls, open text response questions and web applications ( GeoGebra, FluidMath, Python etc. ) to your PowerPoint and let Office Mix collect all the feedback and record the audience’s interactions for you.

How will it benefit teachers and students?

Up-cycling is very trendy these days and it doesn’t stop with furniture. Now you can give your PowerPoint an added interactive dimension without having to start from scratch. By adding a new slide to one of your existing PowerPoints you can add a question or interactive web application such as Python, Khan Academy. FluidMath or GeoGebra.

Mix 1

Options to add a quiz or poll to a PowerPoint

Interactive lessons using I.C.T can be difficult for teachers to prepare and may mean installing new software or take quite a bit of planning and preparation.  As long as the web browser works then Mix is a no-brainer. Mixes are viewed and interacted with through a web browser meaning all you need to do is share a web link with your students. Students do not have to have PowerPoint 2013 to view and interact with Mixes as they view these on the Office Mix site.

Using Mix for students to learn properties of parabolas

GeoGebra app in a Mix to allow students graph and discover the properties of quadratic functions. Teachers can then review students work from Mix Analytics.

 

If you viewed it, prove it – by embedding questions throughout a mix, teachers will be able to get a clear overview of the students who viewed or interacted with the Mix and more importantly those who didn’t!   Mix Analytics is a really powerful tool for teachers. It allows key insights into how students interacted with the content. This data can even be exported to Excel for those who would like to slice and dice the data further.

With Mix, teachers are able to get a full breakdown of the activity by student, by slide, by exercise (quiz, poll or app) or by video as long as they require the students to sign in to view the Mix.  This is a great way to include AFL into class or homework activities. It will also give a breakdown of how long each student spent on each slide meaning you can identify students who may have needed to revisit information a number of times and those who may have moved at a quicker pace. This information can be considered further in the context of a student who may be struggling, demotivated, or possibly not sufficiently challenged.

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Add a live web site, in this case an online video, to a Mix and allow students to provide open responses.

 

 

Sharing a Mix

There are five different permissions and sharing options available allowing you to make your Mixes as private or open as you’d like. You must note the permission level you choose will affect the level of insight you receive from the analytics.

  1. Private- Only you can view the Mix
  2. Only members of an organization – This means only people who are part of your school’s Office 365 will be able to view the Mix
  3. Limited – Only people with a link can view the Mix, they must sign-in with a Microsoft or Office 365 account.
  • Unlisted – Anyone with a link can view your Mix but you will not be able to collect analytics per student. All viewers will be listed as anonymous.
  1. Public – Available for anyone without having to sign-in. Again you may not be able to see exactly which students viewed it and how they responded to questions.

 

How do I install Office Mix?

  1. Ensure you have PowerPoint 2013 on your PC, Mix is not compatible with earlier versions.
  2. Close PowerPoint ( it cannot be open during the installation )
  3. Go to officemix.com
  4. Select Get Office Mix and chose Run from the pop-up prompt
  1. When the install is complete you will see a new option in your PowerPoint Ribbon called Mix

I’d like some help getting started, are there any tutorials?

Yes, there is a series of excellent tutorials and additional material, dedicated to teachers, provided by Microsoft at www.mixforteachers.com. To go directly to the tutorials, just click here.

What would make Mix better?

Mix was only launched last November so I expect to see more and more apps and question types available over time.  These are a few I’d like to see :

  • The Library for My Mixes could be improved to allow for better organisation of Mixes such that they can be listed or tagged per level if a teacher wished. Teachers may like to be able to split Mixes into JCOL , JCHL , LCHL etc.
  • In addition to the question or quiz types currently available, it would be great if you could add a matching type question with the ability to add images. This would be beneficial for younger students or an audience who may be learning a second language (students could match images with words in a language class).
  • Currently you can view a Mix on an iPad browser but any polls, quizzes or apps won’t be shown. It would be an added bonus if the interactivity layer would function on iPad browsers also since a number of schools have currently deployed iPads as 1-to-1 devices. This is planned for the future.

Final Thoughts

Office Mix could well be an educational game changer and one that comes at no additional cost. Mix is an extension to a tool most teachers are very familiar with, PowerPoint, and takes away the hassle of getting to grips with completely new software. Many teachers feel they have to completely rethink their teaching style to prepare interactive lessons that incorporate technology: Mix makes this idea a myth. It has the potential to provide meaningful insight into teaching and learning and to allow teachers augment and adapt their lessons using the Office Mix feedback to deliver appropriate individualised learning.

 

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