Check Out Office Mix

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At #ISTE2014 this year a fellow teacher was walking to a session about something called Office Mix. I wanted to be supportive so I accompanied him on what turned out to be a gem of a find! We ended up in the Microsoft overflow room and our entire three person audience get a great personalized presentation on Office Mix.

And…What is Office Mix?

Good Question. In the way of background I am using rapid elearning software such as Captivate and Articulate as part of my job. These softwares sell for thousands of dollars and if the average teacher in my districts like my products it is unlikely they can afford to purchase and/or afford the time to learn these programs.

So when I noted that the typical Powerpoint plugin that these expensive products have previously utilized was now reclaimed by Microsoft as another tab after download I started my comparisons. Remember, not all the features I will tick off embody best practices, but gosh they are nice to know you have handy without finishing your instructional designer certificate and talking your boss into spotting you a couple thousand dollars while you learn some software over this semester.

This all starts with a basic Powerpoint file, which unless you are a first year teacher you should be awash in. Once you attach (“remix”) the Powerpoint you still have your Powerpoint slide, but save your mix to their cloud. Look who is suddenly creating content for Microsoft, nice side gig!

Insert quizzes, multiple choice, but immediate feedback. You can insert hints before the student selects an answer, you can give feedback for right/wrong answer or you can give specific feedback amongst the differing incorrect answers based on the error you believe the student is making. It has most of the question types rapid elearning software offers, with the exception of hot-spot (totally acceptable at the price point). If students log in with their credentials there are even analytics like time spent, attempts, etc.

Have you been as interested in flipping your classroom as the rest of the educational world? Well, you have recording capabilities, you can adjust size and placement of the video after the fact, using the easy record button. You can utilize Powerpoint animations per usual and can even capture annotation on top of your slides – which is pretty nice. Because Microsoft is (currently?) letting you store these remixed files in their cloud for free you don’t have to worried about the size. Which is a good thing, because all those audio/video files are making this a pretty big file. You can record by file or run the recording over multiple files, nice, right?

Since you have made a huge file, and stored it with Microsoft is this another place your students have to go? Not necessarily. Office Mix offers embed code and that is a big deal because you can still utilize their analytics and not bog down your system(s) with a big download and then uploading this to your LMS/website.

It is new, there will certainly be little issues which come up. However, this is the most affordable rapid elearning development software made so readily available to educators. And listen, we know how to do Powerpoint, so there is that.

So, What do I need?

Office 365.

Our district is able to offer each student five copies of Office 365 – yours might be able to do the same when you look at the requirements for offering this to your students. This means that my 6 YO can load this on up to five devices, you know, like the ones in my home.

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Updated to add – found LearnDash article.