How to use Office 365 to collaborate inside the classroom and everywhere else

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The release of Office 2016 brought many features focused on teamwork in the classroom and anywhere else you happen to be. Microsoft hopes to bring even more functionality and collaborative tools to Office 365 this year. OneNote, Sway, OneDrive, and Skype can all be used by teachers in the classroom to provide a comprehensive teaching experience.

OneNote is a great tool for teachers because it’s free and can be used on any device. With Office 365, OneNote Class Notebook makes it easy to create course materials, write notes, assign homework, grade homework, or share students’ work with other teachers or students’ parents. OneNote Class Notebook makes collaboration in the classroom easy. Here is a more in-depth video on how to use OneNote Class Notebook.

Sway is another free Windows 10 application that is best used for presentations. Whether it be in the classroom or in the office, Sway makes it quick and easy to create interactive reports, presentations, and interviews, and to share work with others for comments and suggestions. With Sway everyone in a group can see where everyone else is editing a project. Sway is also available online, on the iPhone, and iPad, making it a good solution for cross-platform teams. In short, Sway is a great tool that can be used by teachers or by students to bring presentations to life.

Here’s a video of a Sway collaborative project in action:

Office Online is another resource that students, teachers, and school administrators can take advantage to work on classroom projects, administrative projects, and is also helpful with school and classroom budgets. Word, Excel, and PowerPoint are all available for free online. For group projects, students working on the same document, image, or spreadsheet can create, share, and see what changes are being made in real-time. Teachers can track what students are contributing to the project and be able to see how students interact on projects.


As we all know, OneDrive is a great cloud-based option to save all of your documents in one place and access across any device you choose. OneDrive allows you to save documents and share them with individuals or groups with a simple link. Any document you edit on Office Online; Word, PowerPoint, Excel, or OneNote can be saved to OneDrive. On a team project, everyone can upload documents to OneDrive and be notified via email of any changes being made to the documents, files, or spreadsheets for the project and which team member made the changes.

Skype is evolving in the classroom in more ways than one. Skype was originally used to connect people for video calls, but in the classroom, it’s being reincarnated. Skype in the classroom is a new global teaching community, where teachers and students from across the globe can collaborate and share ideas. Students can hear guest speakers from other countries and even go on virtual field trips.

Skype classroom penguin

Teachers and students can see first-hand just how different cultures can be over Skype without ever leaving their classroom. Skype can also allow students to communicate even if they don’t speak the same language with Skype Translator. Skype also has a resource for teachers looking for ideas on what to teach their students with live Skype lessons. You can find hundreds or Skype lessons to share with your students or create your own.

With Office 365 and Office Online, a great number of tools and resources are available for teachers and students to learn, collaborate, and engage with others across the country and the world. Microsoft is constantly adding new features to OneNote, Sway, OneDrive, and Skype to make it easier to communicate and collaborate.

If you are a teacher and looking for more ways to use Office 365 and Office Online in your classroom, check out Microsoft’s Educator Community. As an added bonus, Office 365 is free for schools; click here for more information.