Yesterday we took a look at Sway and how it helps keep students focused on their content, rather than spending most of their time on the appearance of their presentation, and how they can create from scratch right within Sway. Today, on Day 52 of 365 ideas for Office 365, we will look at another way to begin a Sway- templates.
Introducing Sway Templates
For students that have trouble getting started, or those who struggle with organization, templates are a great scaffold to give them just enough support to get their thoughts and ideas into a useful communication platform like Sway. Sway has a number of templates to give students just that support.
Sway’s home screen conveniently places some templates right at the top of the page, with a link to more templates to the right directly underneath of them.
There are 15 different templates to choose from.
Each template creates sort of an outline, with some sample images interspersed with text that is actually helpful tips and instructions. Students simply replace the images and text with their own content. So the template opens, not in the editing screen, but in “Play” mode, so students get an idea what it will look like. Here’s the instructions that come built-in.
When they are ready to begin substituting their own ideas and research, they just click on the Start editing button.
Editing a Sway from a template
This moves them into the editing . This is where they can either type in their own content, or copy it in. (Idea: Do all prewriting, collecting images and writing in OneNote. When ready to create the Sway, just copy and paste it in from OneNote. That’s actually how I do all these posts.)
One of my favorite aspects of this is how, when you click on the Details arrow next to an image, you can see the great examples of alternate text. Alternate text is the words that a screen reader will say aloud when a blind or visually impaired person hovers their mouse over an image. Students get great examples of what kind of alternate text they should be entering for their images. Sway actually autogenerates some alternate text for any image you add, through Artificial Intelligence. But often the AI needs some tweaking.
For many students, this extra structure gets them pointed in the right direction and it’s all they need to successfully create engaging presentations in Sway. For students who need even more assistance than what is provided by the templates, come back tomorrow!
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If you like this style of directions and screenshots, walking you through ideas for using Microsoft tools in your classroom, check out my book,
All the Microsoft Tools You Need to Transform Your Classroom: 50 Ideas for using Microsoft Office 365 for Education available on amazon in both Kindle and paperback.