Steven Payne

Writing about education and technology. From Perth, Western Australia.

Create amazing presentations with Sway

1. What is Sway?

Sway is a simple to use tool for creating beautiful and engaging web-based presentations.
Sways can include text, images, videos, and lots more!

Teachers can use Sway to create and share interactive lessons, assignments, study guides, trip reports, and best practices. Students can use Sway bring assignments, projects, reports, and study materials to life in a new way.

Sways are responsive to your screen size, so are beautiful (and readable) whether you are viewing on a computer, TV, phone, or tablet.

You can also simply embed Sways into websites, blogs and OneNote books.

2. How do I get started with Sway?

Sway is available as an app for Office 365 Education users – or you can sign up for free at (There are also apps available for Windows 10 and iOS.)

You can start with a blank Sway or convert an existing Word, PowerPoint or PDF document into a Sway.

This video shows you how to create a Sway and explores some common options:

Once you have created a Sway, you simply share the web address with your friends, teachers, parents, or the whole world. In a school, you are able to restrict it so that only people with a school email address can view your Sways.

3. Where can I see some examples?

a) I made this Sway for my sister to show her how to make Anzac biscuits:

b) A Sway I made to demonstrate simple interactivity ideas:

c) There are lots of great Sways from students and teachers collected here:

d) Some more great examples of Sways in Education

4. Where can I find out more?

Once you have mastered the basics, check out this awesome Sway for 10 Top Tips and Tricks to make your Sways look great:

Office 365 Education Essentials Handout

I have created a summary document, showing the different apps available to Office 365 Education users. Click the image for a larger version or you can download the Office 365 Education Essentials as a PDF – you can then edit it to your requirements in Word.


10 Quick Ideas for Student Use of Office Mix

Office Mix is a free add-in for PowerPoint that contains everything you need to easily create and share interactive online videos. You can include voice, video, digital ink, polling and interactive apps.


Office Mix is great for educators and students! (Mix currently requires PowerPoint 2013 or 2016 on Windows.)

I have spoken to lots of teachers who are using Office Mix to create presentations, videos and activities for their students. It is also a simple way to get started with the flipped classroom. I often use Office Mix to support professional learning workshops.

There is a great site for teachers full of tips, examples and scenarios: Office Mix for Teachers.

However it is a great tool for students as well. Here are ten quick ideas for student use of  Office Mix.

10 Quick Ideas for Student Use of Office Mix

  1. Use a blank slide for mindmapping in group project work; record your conversations for evidence.
  2. Create a Mix TV ad to promote the book you are currently reading; use quizzes to get feedback from your peers.
  3. Create Mixes teaching local culture, history etc. for students in different countries (particularly where time zones make Skype a bit impractical).
  4. Record compositions or class singing and share with parents; include lyrics and animations so parents can join in karaoke style.
  5. Scan or photograph student work and record peer feedback.
  6. Create a Mix of a learning project or story; include videos, photos and scans or work, add a voiceover to tell your journey.
  7. Recreate a historic speech – use creative commons images and sound clips to enhance.
  8. Display the work and results of a science project from hypothesis to conclusion; include quizzes to collect peers and parents thoughts on the results.
  9. Create a virtual tour of the school for your school website – include quizzes to test new students and visitors .
  10. Collate the best slides from all your Mixes to create an end-of-term Mix and share with the rest of the school and parents.

Happy Mixing!

This video shows an example of Office Mix being used to demonstrate student understanding:

Introduction to Ozobot Robots – Coding and Resources


Ozobot is the tiny robot with lots of applications in the classroom. It is a flexible little robot that can be programmed either by drawing colours (you can control Ozobot with just textas and paper) or with block coding on an iPad or computer.

In Australia, I recommend contacting Edtechs for further information (this is where I got my Ozobots).

ozobot2Ozobot on phone

Colour codes

Ozobots can read lines drawn on paper and follow them. When the Ozobot detects colours, it can do different things such as change its colour, move in a different direction, spin, jump, etc. All you need to control the Ozobot is white paper and four coloured pens (e.g. textas): black, red, green, blue.

Note: use whiteboard markers with caution, residue can clog the drive train.

To get used to the various colour coding options, a good place to start is with the Ozobot brainteasers and challenges. From this page you can also download printable charts explaining the colour codes.

These activities can be introduced to Year 1 or Year 2 students as activities, but can also be used with older students to get familiar with the robots and how they are controlled.

print-games-brain-teasers  print-games-code-chart


We should be using appropriate language from the Digital Technologies Curriculum: Ozobot will offer opportunities for talking about steps, sequences, algorithms, iterations. etc.

Students can get creative, using the colour codes to program the Ozobot to illustrate a story. Here is an example of Little Red Riding Hood – Ozobot plays Red and is programmed to have different responses at key points in the story.


OzoBlockly gives you the power to fully control Ozobot’s movement and behaviour. You can program Ozobot from a computer or iPad and learn general programming concepts at the same time. Simply drag-and-drop blocks into the order you want and load the program onto your Ozobot.


This video gives a basic overview of the Ozoblockly software:

Ozobot Resources

  1. Edtechs – where to buy Ozobots in Australia
  2. A good way to start is by exploring the Ozobot Lesson Library.
  3. Check out the Ozobot videos on YouTube.
  4. Search for Ozobot on Pinterest!
  5. There are some great Ozobot ideas at Biscitmx – the Envelope City Activity is a good introductory lesson activity.
  6. Coding with Ozobot Robots – some structured activities based on the Ozobot resources.

Have you found or created any great resources for Ozobot? Please let me know!

Western Australian Curriculum Links

Here are some of the content descriptions that we can cover using Ozobot, from different year levels.

Year 1

  • Develop and communicate design ideas through describing, drawing, modelling and/or a sequence of written or spoken steps

Year 2

  • Develop, communicate and discuss design ideas through describing, drawing, modelling and/or a sequence of steps

Year 3

  • Different types of data can be represented in different ways (ACTDIK008)

Year 4

  • Different types of data, and the same data, can be represented in different ways (ACTDIK008)

Year 5

Year 6


Introduction to the CSER MOOCs for WA

A quick video to show you how to access the CSER MOOCs and find your way around:

For further information, check out the CSER Digital Technologies website.

We run a range of Digital Technologies Programs for Australian teachers, including our free, online CSER MOOC courses, free professional learning events, and our National Lending Library.

Young ICT Explorers WA

I attended the WA Judging Final for the Young ICT Explorers competition today.

The standard of entrants was very high and I had some great conversations with students, teachers and parents. The students spoke about the real-world problems they were trying to solve, they described the design process and were not scared of failure or going in a new direction. Such great thinking, inventing and creating going on in WA!


You can read about the winning projects here.

I was particularly impressed by Simon Says by Ben (year 9) from Shenton College:

Have you ever wanted to be able to control your MacBook purely through your speech? With SimonSays, Year 9 Information Technology student Ben Gilchrist is making it possible for a wide range of users to work more productively than ever before. Ben’s software application will make it significantly easier for individuals lacking fine motor control to navigate and control their Mac OS.

Simon Says even worked with my English accent!