By Gemma Nightingale-Holt

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What’s New January 2021

Friday, 22nd January, 2021

Happy New Year!

I know for some of you 2021 may not have started how you had envisioned but hopefully, our website and the new resources that we are continuously adding are helping you with your delivery of online teaching. I thought it might be useful to showcase some new resources, these are:

How to access Microsoft Teams on PlayStation (PS4) / Xbox Console

For those lucky individuals who may have been gifted a PlayStation or Xbox Console over the festive period they can use it to access their online classes. The YouTube video by the external organisation teach blend shows you a step by step process on how to access Microsoft Teams on a PlayStation (PS4). You can find the link here:

YouTube video

How to use breakout rooms

It’s what we have all been waiting for and Microsoft have updated this with the new version of breakout rooms. I must say for me it was a big sigh of relief for the new easy process on setting up breakout rooms. To see a step by step guide you can find the link here: 

Vimeo video

Where I go through the process from a calendar invite to calling the students back from their breakout task. You will also get a glimpse of my colleague Anthony who turned his camera on at the end as he thought I had finished recording. Big thanks to him and Melissa for helping me to demonstrate how to use breakout rooms to you all. 

How to change file to word from PDF

This is something I learnt over the festive period while scrolling social media. You can easily change PDF files into word documents. Some of you maybe downloading example exam papers from awarding bodies which are generally PDF documents this video shows you how to change them into a word document to make it more accessible for your students. You can find the link here:

Vimeo video

I will in the future do another video showing you how to add the information into a Microsoft Forms document so do keep a look for that. 

Top tips for successful online learning 

This single Powerpoint slide showcases nine tips explaining how students can make the most of online learning. Highlighting the importance of communicating and engaging with others as well as managing health and wellbeing. You can find the link here:

Secrets of success

The sixteen page PDF document highlights in detail how students can make the most of their online learning and independent study. My favourite sections highlight the importance of participation within lessons, as well as top tips on using your mobile phone for online learning. You can find the link to the document here:


Finally, I couldn’t complete today’s blog post without mentioning some new assessment-related videos showing examples of lessons featuring The Manchester College students.

Assessment for learning using the chat box

In this video a music teacher demonstrates how they assess students throughout the lesson using the chat box. To me this highlights the different formats you can use to engage your students. 

Vimeo video

Differentiated plenary

In this video a music teacher uses the format of an exit ticket to assess their students’ progress at the end of an online lesson. It also showcases some other priorities or challenges students may have when engaging in online lessons. You can find the link here:

Vimeo video

It may also be useful to consider when and how you use the microphone/camera and chat box.  The microphone can be useful when you are asking learners to develop their ideas, thinking and initial response whereas with the chat box we are asking learners to think about their answer, put it into words and then commit for review by yourself and others in the class.


I hope you found my ‘What’s new?’ blog useful?  If you would like to know more or have some ideas to share then please do not hesitate in emailing me on:

See you soon!