Office 365 enables cross-classroom collaboration to help student scientists act as teachers

Cheryl McClure is a science teacher for the 6th and 7th grades at the  International School in Bellevue, Washington. She is also a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert and the guest writer for the most recent educational blog post on the Microsoft Office blog. For Cheryl's classes, she aims to merge technology and science for her students. The use of Office 365 tools such as Sway, Powerpoint, OneNote Class Notebooks, and Skype have all opened up fields of exploration for their science department. So when the opportunity arose for her students to become the teachers, she encouraged them to look towards the tools at hand.

McClure's 7th-grade class studied the shift from solid to liquid and liquid to gas. Then went into further depth by experimenting with amorphous solids for clearer understanding. All of which is typical of their age level. To retain their knowledge, they were then tasked with teaching the 1st-grade class all about the States of Matter. The lesson revolved around helping the younger students to understand what a molecule was.

The trick was to explain the concepts of science in a simple yet scientifically correct way. With their OneNote Class Notebook, they began to organize their work into notes, observations and creating tasks. The OneNote Collaboration Space let all of the students work together seamlessly as they put together the lesson. In or out of the classroom, everyone was able to partake and submit their own contributions.

Lessons were then put together into videos, Sway slide shows, or PowerPoint Office Mix and uploaded to to share with the younger students across the town. Thanks to the summaries on, it was easy for the 1st-grade students to know exactly what they were starting to learn. As a conclusion, both classes found the experience both beneficial and fun.

Technology has bridged the gaps in education and significantly improved the classroom experience for many students and educators. The tools available at our disposal have helped to essentially remove much of the hassle that teachers had spent on time and resources unnecessarily. With Microsoft Office 365 development towards incorporating more learning tools, students using the software are bound to aim higher and achieve more.

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