Recently at Wymondham High Academy our Student Digital Leader teams have been getting onto social media in order to help us promote our school and also to provide to help to members within our school about how to use services such as Office 365, Yammer and DreamSpark. The aim of these videos is to show people just how easy it is to use all of these new facilities we are providing for them – and also to demonstrate the benefits that you can get of using these new facilities.
My name is Jason Brown and I am a 16 year old student at Wymondham High Academy who has been part of the Student Digital Leader (‘O Team’) team since May 2014 and have been closely working with Kevin Sait since the end of November 2013. I have a passion for ICT and computers as well as photography.
Whilst overall we feel that the launch of Office 365 and all of the other Microsoft services at school has been a success and teachers and students are beginning to realise that after having several years of various VLEs thrown at them, Office 365 is the ‘one that’s here to stay’, some people are still confused about how to use things like such as OneDrive to help them collaborate with peers on documents and some people don’t even know about the £50,000 worth of Microsoft software students can download for free.
There are various ways of educating members about Office 365 and the opportunities that it brings. One of those ways is lecture them in endless assemblies and hope that they’re listening. Another is to drag disgruntled staff to ‘training sessions’ after work hours when they’d rather be going home. You could send staff emails with long lists of instructions explaining how to use OneDrive and the rest of it – which they look at and then immediately delete. Or, you could teach kids about it in their IT lessons and annoy teachers who would rather that they were being taught the IT syllabus – which sadly is not half as exciting as learning about Office 365 or getting your hands on £50,000 worth of Microsoft software for free.
Or, you could take a more modern approach and make some quick videos which get the key points across in the shortest amount of time possible to keep your audience engaged. What’s more, you could produce these videos in beautiful 1080p Full HD resolution and post them onto one of the most popular video sharing networks in the world: YouTube.
Why YouTube? Simple! The benefits are clear:
1 – People can go onto the YouTube channel at any time they like and watch the videos in any order they like to learn about Office 365 and all of the other opportunities we are introducing. They don’t have to sit in assemblies or be dragged to training sessions after school. Instead, they can sit back in their own home, play the videos and let their minds be blown.
2 – If people like the videos and they find them helpful then they will subscribe to the channel which shows support for what we are doing. YouTube is such a popular site which almost every kid who has internet access visits that there’s bound to be a handful of them watching these videos and learning. One or two subscribers to our YouTube channel to show their support is far more rewarding than seeing a sea of bored faces giving the ‘nod of approval’ at the end of an assembly.
3 – It is rewarding for us who produce this content to see that people are enjoying it and finding it useful. We also love producing videos – well, I certainly do! If we can help our colleagues learn whilst doing it in a way that we enjoy doing, then that is really a ‘win win’ situation.
The story doesn’t end there. YouTube has great integration with Twitter, so every time the O Team post a new video to YouTube, it will also be tweeted on our new Twitter account.
So what? You might say. Who follows you anyway? Well, at the moment not very many since the account is brand new, but we have had retweets from Wymondham High Academy’s official Twitter (@WyHighAcademy – which is followed by over 900 people, many of which are students and staff currently at Wymondham High Academy) as well as from people at Microsoft who we connected with on the Yammer YCN network (Yammer Customer Network) and also technology journalist Gerald Haigh has been retweeting some of our tweets.
Give it time, and I can only see the Wymondham High O Team Twitter being followed by students and technology journalists and Microsoft employees from all around the world who are interested to see what we are doing. As it stands, Wymondham High has already gained international support from Microsoft. The video below was not only presented to students in Wymondham High in April, but was also presented at a Microsoft employee’s presentation in Canada in May.
The reception from this video has been extremely positive, not just at Microsoft and within the Yammer YCN (which is how it was spotted for use in Canada), but also within school too. After the video was shown in assemblies students were saying that it ‘inspired’ them and they were amazed by what the school is now offering – and they were also amazed by my video editing skills… but more to the point they were more excited about Office 365 and everything else we are providing. As soon as this video was shown, we gained many new Yammer members on the WH-AT.net Yammer network within the first week.
And this is what it’s all about it. It’s all about inspiring these students to become interested in what we are doing and getting them to want to go onto DreamSpark tonight and downloading Windows 8.1 Pro for free, and wanting them to go into their Add/Remove Programs, removing Office 2003 and replacing it with Office 2013 (on 365) that they can get for free from the school.
It’s all about wanting them to use Yammer as a tool to talk to teachers, replacing emails.
It’s all about getting them to download the Yammer and Office 365 apps on their smartphones so that whether they’re in their bedroom or on the top of the Eiger, they can talk to people in school and continue to learn and produce.
And it’s not just our students who we want to inspire. We want to inspire every student out there. They can see our videos. They can subscribe to our channel. They can follow us on Twitter. They can see what we are doing. They can say ‘Wow – Wymondham High has all of this. Why don’t we?’ The response we’d want to hear from that is that other schools have been inspired by us and want to do the same. As it stands, Wymondham High is already working with Old Buckenham High School which is a small high school in Norfolk very close to us. We can help them develop and learn. And that is a great feeling.
In the 1980s, Bill Gates’ dream was to ‘have a computer on every desk in every home running Microsoft software.’
Our dream is much the same: our dream is to ‘have a computer on every desk in every home running Windows 8.1 Pro and Office 365 Professional Plus, provided by Wymondham High Academy.’
So, to conclude, the aim of these short videos is to teach people about the benefits of what we are offering and to get them inspired.
You can visit our YouTube channel by clicking here.
You can follow our Twitter account by clicking here or by tweeting to @WyHighOTeam.