Microsoft Sway for student products
The integration of technology requires a connection to pedagogy. In this issue, we take a look at the fundamentals of Microsoft Sway. We take on a basic project where students integrate a small research project. This fundamentals lesson is designed to be an introduction for both teachers and students. I follow the tried and true method of I do, We do, then You do.
During the lesson, I insert a few points where I discuss what we are doing during the development of this project. These discussions are important because they let students know that we are actively thinking of what we want during the production of a project. Students remember these discussions and often reference them during their own project development.
Sway is a free online product from Microsoft . All you need is an Outlook email account. Sway is a storytelling app that presents itself as an alternative to PowerPoint. The purpose of Sway is to present concepts quickly, easily, and clearly. It is cloud based. This makes it easy to collaborate on Sway projects. It is also easy to share projects with the world.
Sway is built to tell stories. It uses cards to gather concepts in the form of images, video, and text. Cards are grouped to combine concepts similar to paragraphs in a narrative.
Sway uses themes to quickly build eye pleasing presentations and stories. Themes take the guess work out of designing backgrounds and selecting fonts. This is a definite plus. My students often spend too much time selecting colors and fonts. I would rather they spend time developing content.
There are plenty of choices for themes. There are options to change the colors and fonts. Emphasis and accents options for text provide a way to focus the users attention on content.
We import a variety of media to create a nice visual presentation. Images and video can be imported from online resources. Searches for online content are filtered for media in the Creative Commons. This assures that content does not violate copyright. It is just as easy to add our own content from a variety of sources. These sources include OneDrive, Google Drive, Flickr, and our device.
We are able to pull in existing PowerPoint presentations and Word documents. It does a fairly good job of importing these document formats. For best results the documents should be formatted with proper headings.
We don’t need any special application to create or view Sway presentations. A browser is all we need. Sway presentations work on any device. This includes mobile phones.