MIEExpert Spotlight #10: Bruce Eyles from Johannesburg talks about his use of Sway in the classroom

This is a guest post from Bruce Eyles, a MIEExpert from St David’s Mrist in Johannesburg. Bruce teaches English and RE to Grade 7s and he is head of Life Skills in the Senior Prep. He teaches Life Skills to Grade 6. Apart from that he spends a lot of time coaching sport. In this post Bruce shares the different ways that he uses Sway in the classroom. 

Although we have 1:1 devices in the classes that I teach, the students unfortunately 😢 do not use Microsoft devices. In its wisdom our IT department recommended devices made by another company 🍎!

I, personally, am a dedicated and loyal Microsoft device user (I have two Windows phones and hope to upgrade to another) and so I use Microsoft tools whenever I can in the classroom. I regularly use OneNote and Sway both in a personal capacity and as tools in the classroom. These are both magnificent products.

I find Sway to be an ideal tool for lesson presentation. A Sway presentation is so quick and easy to piece together, it is very attractive and it is accessible wherever there is WiFi 📶. It is so simple to set the lesson to the desired pace on a Sway. Headings, pictures, text and video can be inserted where needed. Appropriate leading questions can easily be typed on a ‘card’ in the correct place in a lesson. The lesson then proceeds at your desired pace as you click through the presentation. When I have created and presented a lesson on Sway, I copy the link to the relevant section onto our school 🏫 learning management system. This means that the students can always find the link easily and then they can check out the Sway lesson when they need to study.

A student enjoying a bit of humour in one of Bruce’s classes

Here is an example of a Sway from a recent RE lesson that we did. The lesson was on Palm Sunday.


I also used Sway for a presentation that I did at the IBSC Conference on learning management systems. Here is the link to this https://sway.com/9noBeW9g7Ofd0Nip

As an English teacher, I am very concerned about the amount of personal reading my students are doing and I wanted to communicate my concerns, my ideas and strategies with the parents, so I did this in the form of a Sway-so much better and more attractive than a boring old email. Here is the link to that Sway communication https://sway.com/q9eg9LHeMLQZLAC2

I put together a Sway about our recent cricket tour to Cape Town. It included many photographs and the intention was for it to serve as a memory of a very special experience for the boys and to let the parents know what had gone down on tour. This was very well received, much appreciated and wowed over by the parents. Here is the link https://sway.com/7ObXqNWjhfmbm0YV

I have once, used Sway for project-based learning. It is ideal for this type of work as you can have multiple editors working on a presentation. This means that students, although in a group, can work remotely as they piece together a presentation. There is no longer a need for them to make elaborate arrangements to find a suitable time and transport to meet at someone’s house to work on the project. There is also no more messy cutting out and sticking in. There is no more printing and collating. When completed, the students just send the link to the teacher, or in our case, upload the link to our learning management system.

I will soon be using Sway again for some project based learning. I will put all of the resources (instructions, notes and links) onto a OneNote document that I will share and then the students can create their Sway presentations. We will see how that goes!

Find out about Microsoft Sway on the Microsoft Educator Community

You’ll find the Sway website at https://sway.com/ You can create and share interactive reports, presentations, personal stories, and more. If you are keen to learn about Sway – check out this free Introduction to Sway course on the Microsoft Educator Community.

Get involved in the Microsoft MIEE program in 2016/2017
If you are a teacher who likes to be innovative in the classroom, think about entering Microsoft’s Innovative Teacher MIEExpert program in 2016/2017 when applications reopen later in the year. You can learn more about the program at this link: http://bit.ly/1H4gKcB on the Microsoft Educator Community. 

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