Develop Public Speaking Skills in the Classroom with Office 365

Carrie Alicata

Recently, I put in some extra elbow grease to help my teenage son finish a major school project. While reviewing his rubric, I came upon three sections that focused on the quality of his oral report. My son is generally a shy, quiet kid. While he has tons of personality at home, public speaking is not his forte. Thankfully, I remembered a couple of great tools that Microsoft offers to help him hone his presentation skills.

The first is the Presenter Coach, a PowerPoint feature in Microsoft Office 365. In Rehearsal Mode, both educators and students can fine tune their presentations. This tool provides on-screen tips and tricks on all aspects of public speaking skills, including pace, language, and originality. It can help a speaker reduce filler words, and be inclusive and concise. 

The second is Flipgrid—a social media upgrade to the composition-book journals of the 90’s. Flipgrid allows teachers to post discussion topics, and then students can respond and add content from other resources, such as Skype in the Classroom, MSN Kids, and Microsoft Hacking STEM. 

All Flipgrid videos are transcribed using Microsoft Azure and Microsoft Immersive Reader, and delivered with closed captioning. The Shorts Camera allows students to edit videos, add their own unique voice to their responses and presentation videos, and embed the videos in Teams or OneNote Classroom Notebook. Teachers can even add families, via Guest Mode, to let them experience student progress firsthand.

Combining the familiarity of social media with the security of a closed, social environment, students can share what they are learning with their peers, educators, and families, while improving their presentation skills. Enjoy this free program for educators and students, which can be used in conjunction with Windows 10 and Office 365 environments. Contact an Account Manager to discuss how Office 365 can enhance your classroom today!

Carrie Alicata is a Partner Development Specialist with expertise in Microsoft licensing for state and local government, and education. In her free time, Carrie enjoys concerts, football, and traveling.

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