Put down your pencils and open your books to hosted SharePoint

Published by on August 20th, 2010

The learning landscape has undeniably changed in the past ten years. These days, students all over the world are constantly in touch with technology outside of school, so it’s proving wise to integrate technology into daily school lessons to maintain students’ interest and attention levels. With the recent development of more technological and interactive learning methods like Microsoft SharePoint 2010, traditional teaching elements are starting to show their age.

Watch out workbooks and projectors; you have some competition.

With a strong social media element added into the equation, it’s becoming clearer that innovative technologies like hosted SharePoint are the way of the future for everything from school administration to student curriculum. Microsoft SharePoint can potentially benefit all facets of a school system, including students, teachers and parents – an obvious plus to anyone considering future implementation.

Benefits of SharePoint 2010 for students

First, let’s dig into how students are using SharePoint. Tomorrow’s future leaders are making use of this collaborative powerhouse by accessing their class materials online and blogging about what they learned on class field trips. They’re submitting online questions to teachers, reading library resources from home and sharing ideas about group projects from their bedrooms.

Why are students so receptive? There are numerous reasons, stemming from the fact that SharePoint is an intriguing combination of work and play. For example, the new SharePoint 2010 community profile pages resemble the wildly popular Facebook™ interface, which provides students with a familiar interface and method of interaction.

Benefits of SharePoint 2010 for school teachers

Students aren’t the only ones utilizing SharePoint in and outside of classrooms. School teachers are using it to update teaching resources, view their calendars from their home office, maintain their grade records and review their class lists.

They’ve also found new ways to use their favorite tools with SharePoint. PowerPoint presentations, one of the most common lesson tools, are now being stored along with video clips and websites in one place using SharePoint 2010’s new Digital Asset Management features for easy lesson preparation from anywhere.

Furthermore, foreign language teachers are incorporating RSS newsfeeds from foreign newspaper sites and history teachers are posting relevant documentary clips and copies of historical doctrine for their students to access and absorb from anywhere in the world. These are just a few of the many examples of how SharePoint 2010 services are making the lives of teachers a little easier. After all, isn’t that something they more than deserve?

SharePoint 2010 can even help parents educate their kids at home

Students and teachers at St. Cyprian’s School in Cape Town Africa are even bringing parents into the virtual SharePoint classroom. Parents can log on to their student’s home page, where their child’s progress is tracked, attendance reports are displayed and schedules of academic progress are waiting to be seen. St. Cyprian’s even encourages students to upload all of their projects to their SharePoint site so their parents can see the type of work their pride-and-joy is turning in.

Using SharePoint to improve school administrations

SharePoint can even help eliminate some afterschool meetings most teachers dread attending on weekday afternoons. Instead of staying at school after classes are over, meetings can be held on SharePoint discussion boards while each teacher and administrator relaxes in the comfort of their own home. While SharePoint discussion boards may not be able to replace all meetings, they can surely reduce the number of meetings and the time spent at each one. Teachers can also share their meeting notes with their colleagues, set up get-togethers and securely share contact information.

One of the best examples of using SharePoint in education would be the work of the Twynham School, a school on the south coast of the United Kingdom. Since 2007, this school has had a fantastic reputation of using Microsoft SharePoint in an educational context. In the last two years, they have spoken at over 800 schools and generated an updated SharePoint in Education e-book on everything they’ve completed using SharePoint 2007. This school also has great blog that describes their extremely successful educational endeavors with SharePoint 2010.

Entering the enterprise 2.0 classroom

Schools all over the world are jumping on board with the latest and greatest version of SharePoint due to its interactive and collaborative nature, as well as its endless end-user benefits. In a case study by the Latvian Ministry of Education and Microsoft, results clearly show that SharePoint is helping all parties (students, teachers and parents) organize, communicate and, most importantly, learn.

We encourage any parents or teachers out there who have used SharePoint in a school setting to share their experiences with us! We’d love to hear how you are using SharePoint in the classroom.

About Ellie Dupuis

Ellie Dupuis has written 25 posts in this blog.

As the VP of Marketing and Business Development at Fpweb.net, you can find Ellie traveling the globe in the name of Managed SharePoint and, of course, making pit stops to sample the best foods this planet has to offer. Ellie's marketing efforts have helped Fpweb.net make a name for itself within the SharePoint Community, developing some great friendships along the way through conferences and partnerships. There is nothing Ellie enjoys more than productive brainstorming sessions with her outstanding creative team and keeping her finger on the pulse of all things marketing. Connect with Ellie on Google+.

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