Lync Up With Those Who’re No Longer With Us

We’ll keep the Microsoft train rolling a while longer by introducing a business cross-over to the academic world.  The lynccommunication package called Lync that Microsoft has graciously bundled with MS Office 365 and SharePoint.  Until this week I knew very little about Lync.  I had heard that it was an effective product for holding muti-location business meetings but I had not paused to consider the possibilities for its use in a school setting.  It struck me today as I took role in my Computer Maintenance class.  One of my best and brightest was absent and missed an exam.  I knew she was ill and at home and I knew that if she had the opportunity she would have still taken the exam and done the class work.  If only there were a way to communicate effectively with someone who was not in our classroom.  I had used Skype before but it does not lend itself to academic interaction.  Then it hit me…I had only two days ago, installed the OneNote Class Notebook Creator on our SharePoint server so the interactive part would be available to her anywhere with Internet.  What else did Microsoft offer?  Well, since we have Office 365 as our email solution and a license for SharePoint, then we already possessed Lync.  It cost nothing to set up and the app is browser based so any device with a browser will do.  Given the combination of Lync and OneNote Class Notebook, there is no reason for any reasonably motivated student to miss a lesson.  They can hear and see the classroom via the web cam.  They can interact with the class in the collaboration area, and they can complete the assignments in their own secure sections.

Lync contains a audio/video chat feature, an interactive whiteboard (though not as nice a OneNote) a text chat, the ability to use conference calls over phone lines, the ability to project PowerPoint presentations over the Internet, and it’s all browser based.  It works with anything that I have been able to throw at it; Chrome Books, Android phones, iPads, PCs.  The only thing I didn’t have to test with was a Mac laptop or desktop.  There is no reason for any student who wishes to be present in a class, to miss the lesson.  Chances are your district already has the licenses and software in place (unless you are strictly Google or Apple)  It is well worth your time to look into.

‘night All.

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