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Create stories for your students with Microsoft Office Mix


Posted on Sunday, May 18th 2014

Microsoft launched Office Mix, a new tool to improve PowerPoint usage for teachers. It helps you to create interactive lessons, share it with your students and evaluate their level.



Create stories for your students with Microsoft Office Mix
Used by many teachers in the world, PowerPoint is a common tool to tell common stories. Interactions trough buttons and commands are not really easy to add, and everything needs to be planned in advance. During the presentation you can only follow the story you “coded”. When you want to share a presentation you have three choices: native PowerPoint file where your students can modify everything, closed presentations and your students can only run the story in PowerPoint viewer, and PDF files where you loose animations, actions and interactions… Not the best storytelling tool…

As a standard, easy to use, easy to share, easy to read by everybody… PowerPoint stays the leader of Presentation Tools Market.
Other presentation tools like Keynote, Prezi, Bunkr have difficulties to convince PowerPoint users to switch. And these competitors don’t provide essential improvements to PowerPoint, not enough to switch.
But, Microsoft needs to improve its tool to keep this de facto monopoly. That’s what they did with Office Mix. And they need to implement new functions to drive their users to the new version, Office 2013, and its online on subscription functions through OneDrive and Microsoft Cloud. Teachers don’t like to upgrade their tools if they don’t really need it. And they don’t have budget to upgrade if it doesn’t bring a real value to their work. Office Mix is Microsoft’s answer.

Office Mix is a PowerPoint add-in to Office 2013. Some teachers are moving their lessons to screencast tools like Camtasia; Office Mix act a little as a screencast tool.
You will transform your existing PowerPoint presentation into an interactive online lesson; Microsoft calls it a “Mix”.
- You will record audio and/or video of yourself explaining your lesson
- You will write on your slides like on a white board
- You will add quizzes and exercises to your lesson
- You will add web pages to your PowerPoint presentation

Very important argument, you can do all that on existing PowerPoint, upgrading “old” lessons to new interactive ones, without loosing your work. Or you can create new lessons from blank page.

Second part of Office Mix is based on Microsoft Cloud. You will be able to share and analyze mixes you created. It stays private until you decide to share it. You can share a link or share it privately with nominative students.
Your students will be able to play your mix, pause, rewind, even play it 2x faster if they are very smart ☺
In terms of analytics, you will see which student viewed the lesson, their results to the quizzes. It will be for teachers a good way to improve their lessons, based on the analysis of student’s understanding.

To see how Office Mix can help you to create interactive and narrative presentations, you can go to the tutorial page where Microsoft uploaded real examples of mixes to highlight main functions.
To download Microsoft Office Mix, go to: https://mix.office.com/Account?ReturnUrl=%2FHome%2FSetup

To view mixes, students don’t need to have Microsoft Office installed on their PC. “i[We support the latest version of all major browsers (Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, and Safari) on desktops, laptops, and Windows tablets. The full interactive experience will also be available on Apple and Google Android tablets soon. For now, we support mixes as videos on these devices. For Windows Phone, Apple iPhone and Android-based smartphones, mixes can be viewed as videos]I”, explains the vendor of its support website. Actually, Office Mix is in “customer preview” stage. It means that it’s not stable yet. Be careful when you use it. Don’t take risks with important presentations. It’s more yet for evaluation.

Unfortunately you can only download Office Mix on PC ☹
Even if Tim Cook congratulates Microsoft for its new applications on iPad – by the way I'm using word on my iPad and Mac for this blog post – Microsoft continues to develop new functions mainly on Microsoft Office PC platform. You will not be able yet to use Office Mix on your Mac. It’s sad for Microsoft; I know a huge number of teachers using Macs and who would be interested in Office Mix. Maybe a next version would be available on online version Office 365?

Philippe NIEUWBOURG
I am an independent industry analyst, and author, with 20 years experience specializing in business... Know more about this author

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