The Power of Microsoft Office Lens

We recently moved as a school from Google to Microsoft. Whilst I am often sceptical of technology (why read something on a screen, with all the thousand distractions around it, when you can just as easily read it in a book?) I have found the Office Lens App useful.

In essence, Office Lens turns your phone into a scanner. You can synch the app to your One Drive allowing you to quickly capture images as PDFs. It also has a useful tool which allows you to tidy up the edges of an image, so even if your photograph is poor, you can trim and crop accordingly.

I have found Lens useful in three ways:

  1. Saving model work to use as exemplars for other pupils

If I am reading an excellent piece of pupil work I will often use Lens to scan it to my One Drive. When I come to give feedback to the whole class, I will then use this work (or a number of pieces of good work) to discuss and model excellence. I can also use it for future reference or share with other colleagues in the department.

With younger years, the modelling process can be particularly useful when it comes to setting expectations for the proper presentation of work.

2. Disseminating excellence via OneNote

Providing a pupil agrees, Lens makes it easy to share exemplar work via OneNote. OneNote takes a bit of time to setup at the beginning of an academic year, but once that is done, you can instantly upload work to OneNote and thus share with all the relevant pupils.

Something similar can be achieved using old-fashioned email, but it is easier to find things again in OneNote and saves pupils trawling through their inboxes come revision time.

3. Modelling the process 

The third main way I use Lens is to model my thought process. If, for instance, we are tackling an essay question together, I will prepare my plan (stage by stage) before the lesson. At each stage I will take a photo to show how my thought process has developed.

This can, of course, be completed on a whiteboard. That is equally powerful. However, doing it on paper and scanning it in means you can easily share with pupils (and even parents) for them to access at home, particularly useful if there are regular absentees.


A note: It is true that all of the above can be achieved by simply photographing things on your phone. However, the ease with which you can upload material to either your OneDrive or OneNote makes getting to grips with Lens worthwhile. 

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