UTB Newsletter - Issue 5 - 2020

  • Intro from Mike, Founder, Visionary & Commander-in-Chief
  • UTB Noticeboard
  • Something to make you think
  • Updates - 4 new Google Meet features
  • Tool of the week - Screenshots with Seesaw
  • Featured: Online Course - Getting Started with Teams
  • Microsoft, Google and Apple tips
  • Lesson Idea - Feedback on iPads
  • Website of the week - Toy Theater
  • Teacher / Student Challenge - Are you up for it?
  • Latest blog posts
  • Join the UTB Team
  • Win a free online course

Check out what's new!

We hope you have had a great week! For some of you, it has meant settling back into a new routine of a new term, for others hopefully you are now a bit more settled.

In addition to the newsletter below, I wanted to highlight a couple of different types of resources available to you.

A new Podcast

Over the last few weeks I have caught up with Blake Seufert, who is a school IT manager in one of Australia's largest schools, to record the OutClassed Podcast. If you have been following the UTB journey for a few years, you will remember that Blake and I used to host a number of live calls for teachers all around the world.

The idea of the podcast is to bridge the gap between the IT department and the teaching department and explore excellence in teaching, technology and leadership. The first 3 episodes are ready for you to download on your favourite podcast player, or go to the newsletter below to click the direct link.

A fun graphic for you to quickly access our most requested resources

Find and click on the stars to discover what is on offer. There are a lot of quick tips, helpful videos, resource docs and more!

We have changed up the format and frequency of our newsletter to make it even more useful to you.

The newsletter will now be weekly with just a few of our favourite tips and tricks. This will make it easier for you to consume, save you time and give you options to discuss with other teachers and / or your students.

Once a month we will send a more in-depth industry update type newsletter with deeper articles to make you think, updates from the tools you love + some ideas and resources for you to use. This newsletter is packed full of amazing updates to help you teach from home or school!

- Mike


The UTB team is all about delivering training in a fun way, and so in keeping with that context, we've created a notice board of ideas for you. If we all worked together in one office this is quite possibly what it might look like!

You'll notice there are nine stars on our board - each one being a link to a helpful resource for you. Simply click on a star and make use of the ideas we have to share. Have some fun exploring our board - any feedback is always welcome.

To get the full interactive experience, click here.

Something to make you think...

Are video calls making you feel worn out?

After switching to 100% remote training, some of our team have noticed that the toll it takes on our physical and mental energy is greater than when we train face-to-face. This seems a bit surprising - after all, we're just sitting in our chairs looking at our webcam! However, this article provides insight into why that might be. If you're now teaching remotely and feeling more worn out than usual, it's definitely worth a read.


4 new Google Meet features

Have you been using Google Meet to hold video calls with your class? If so, you'll love these new updates! My two favourite new features are the 16-person tiled view and the 'present a tab' screen sharing option. This new way to screen share will also send audio through the Meet call - meaning that you can easily show videos or play music to your class.

To learn more, click the button below.

Tool or tip of the week

Do you want to use screenshots with Seesaw?

If you are wanting to add a screenshot into Seesaw there is a super quick way to do this - use the Chrome extension called Reflect in Seesaw.

Navigate to the page you want to snip from, launch the extension, then choose between capturing the whole page or just part of the page. As soon as you capture what you select, it will automatically open your Seesaw account and drop the screenshot in. Magic!

Featured: Online Course

Getting Started with Teams

You may have heard about Microsoft Teams and wondered what it is all about, or may already be using it but want to know more. Our online course 'Getting Started with Microsoft Teams' may well be the solution. The course runs through all the foundational things you need to start utilising the efficiencies built into Teams.

Microsoft Tip

Pin chats and channels in Teams

Perhaps you are using Microsoft Teams a whole lot more while working remotely. One great way to stay on top of important channels and chats is to pin them. Pinning will show them at the top of the side panel and make it easy for you to monitor them.

All you need to do is hover over the channel or chat you want to pin, then click the three dots that appear and select 'Pin'. Easy!

You can't pin teams, but you can organsie them by dragging them into the order you want.

Google Tip

Group tabs in Chrome

Are you a tab 'hoarder'? Have a look - how many do you have open right now? I ask with no judgement - you may be super efficient at having many open at once while you work on multiple projects and that's great. Did you know you can group those tabs inside Chrome?

It's really easy, just select all the tabs you want to be in the same group by holding down shift and clicking on them. Then right/secondary click and select 'Add to new group'. You can create multiple groups and the colours that are applied to each group help you to tell them apart. Once you've created a group you can even name it and change its colour.

Note: This is still an experimental feature, so to use it you first need to enable an experimental flag. Follow the instructions here to learn how.


Apple Tip

Making connection with your students using Quicktime.

Placing a video of the teacher inside an instructional screen recording allows students to see their teacher, creating an online environmental that is both familiar and inviting to the student.

Here's how:

Lesson idea

Providing Feedback with iPad

Creating personalised comment banks can be can be used to give formative feedback to students. Here's how to create them in Keynote and then add them to students projects and assignments.

Website of the week

An awesome maths site for remote learning with lower primary students

Teachers are nothing but generous and at the moment there is so much sharing of resources that, at times, it's hard to know what to use and what to filter out.

If you are looking for just one super helpful site that allows for multiple uses across the curriculum, then check out Toy Theater.

There are so many activities that students can do indepenedently, along with tools they can use to show what what they know. There's a teachers tool section also - fantastic for creating those all important screen recordings for your students.

Toy Theater will also work on iPads. 😀 If you haven't seen it before - check it out and share how you might use it.

Are You Ready To Level Up Your Creativity Alongside Your Students?

PB Tech is partnering with Using Technology Better and Microsoft to bring you an awesome online FREE PD opportunity - and the great thing about this event is that it’s for BOTH teachers AND students!

The event will take place over five weeks. After the introductory session you’ll have the opportunity to experience two new tools each week.

This event is not just about learning new skills - you’re going to be challenged to put these skills into action. Using the United Nations 17 Sustainable Goals, you and your students will create an outcome, relevant to your own schools context, to showcase your talents in the final week.

Blog posts you may have missed

Check out the practical, helpful tips in our blogs below.

Something you want us to blog about? Make a request here or check out our website to see all our posts.


Head across to your platform of choice and start downloading!

Get Notified Of Future Episodes: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Google Podcast | Stitcher | TuneIn + Alex | Podcast Addict | Podchaser | Deezer | Listen Notes

OutClassed Podcast: Episode 3 - In this week's OutClassed Podcast, Mike and Blake dig into how schools can strategically prepare for an unknown future. The look at balancing policy, security and innovation in schools and how we can support teachers and technical staff through the process. To see all the OutClassed episodes go to utb.fyi/outclassed.

OutClassed Podcast: Episode 2 - In this week's OutClassed Podcast, Mike and Blake explore how to thrive in remote learning environments, and how this will positively effect schools when they reopen.

Outclassed Podcast: Episode 1 - In this week's OutClassed Podcast, Mike and Blake explore what is happening with #remotelearning and #remoteteaching . We discuss what we have learnt from the first 2 months of working with schools in Asia, how to pace yourself for excellence in teaching, and the opportunity to come through this better than you were beforehand.

Join the UTB Team as a trainer!

We have a few training opportunities to join the UTB training team in Australia and New Zealand.

We're keen to hear from people who may be interested in full time, part time or casual work with us.

If you are a passionate educator, digitally savvy and keen to explore training options fill in this form to express your interest. We'll get back to you with more details!



We love getting your feedback about ideas you've used from this newsletter or from one of our training sessions!

In fact, we get such a kick out of it that every fortnight we want to give someone who shares the love a free online course of your choice - valued at up to $300!

All you need to do is a share a photo or video of an activity that was inspired by something we shared with you (could be from face to face, online training or the newsletter), with a quick caption telling us what's happening in it!

Here are a couple of ways you can share...

  • Share it on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and tag us in with @Usingtechbetter, #utbSHARE and #utbPD
  • Not on Facebook, Twitter or Insta? No worries - email it to us at support@usingtechnologybetter.com and we'll share it out on our social media


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Created with images by visuals - "untitled image" • Javier Sierra - "International Women’s Day Too fast too smart" • Autumn Studio - "Where you’ll find us all summer long…" • Olia Nayda - "The photo was taken while we were walking by main street of Goryachi Kluch town." • Jason Leung - "Colorful confetti falling down with a teal background"