Today we are announcing the customer preview of Office Mix – a simple way to turn your PowerPoint slides into interactive online lessons and presentations.
We’ve heard from teachers that it can be difficult and expensive to make online lessons. Creating online lessons takes multiple pieces of expensive software, some of which are expensive or require serious technical skills, like complex video editing and timelines. All just to get a lesson online.
Our goal is to make it easy to create an online lesson or presentation with something you already know how to use – PowerPoint. We call these online, interactive presentations “mixes” and the tool created to build them is Office Mix.
Office Mix adds functionality to PowerPoint 2013 that allows you to record audio or video of yourself presenting, write on your slides as you speak to them, insert quizzes, polls, online videos, and more. In fact, you can even do full screen capture and record anything on your PC. Once your presentation is ready, just click “Upload,” and we will work our magic to transform your presentation into a mix. You choose when and with whom to share it.
So what does Office Mix actually do?
We spent months talking with teachers about how they use technology and new pedagogical approaches like blended learning. One thing was clear – teachers want technology that can help them reach students in new ways, but they don’t want to lose focus on the classroom, and they don’t have a lot of free time to learn a brand new technology. And, they told us, they already use and love PowerPoint.
Office Mix was designed to enable teachers (or anyone who presents) to take a PowerPoint document, and mix it into an interactive, playable document that can be viewed on almost any device, anywhere with an internet connection.
Office Mix gives PowerPoint new functionality. We add a new tab with several features, including the ability to record yourself giving your presentation. In record mode, you can capture audio and video of yourself narrating your slides, including what you write or draw on the screen. In essence, you’re able to capture the entire experience of giving your lecture, complete with visual and audio aids, with the added bonus of interactive content like quizzes or activities.
Office Mix also lets you record anything on your PC screen with the screen recording feature. For example, say you want to record a video of a graphing calculator app. Just click “screen recording,” and record the work you want to show in the app. Your recording will be inserted onto your slide, and that your students will see your screen recording as part of the lesson.
PowerPoint makes it easy to edit and fine tune your mix. If you make a mistake in your recording you can just re-record that one slide. You can resize or move your video recording around on your slides to position your video in just the right spot. Because your mix is recorded on a slide by slide basis, you can even change the order of your presentation after you’ve recorded it. All the video, handwriting, and content will seamlessly follow with the slide to the new location in the presentation. No more jumping between several apps to record and edit.
Recording is a lot like making a video with video capture software. But, what sets Office Mix apart is its interactivity and sharing.
From within PowerPoint you can insert quizzes, web pages, and add interactive apps. Among the apps that are already included in Office Mix are exercises and lessons from the enormously popular Khan Academy and CK-12 Foundation. What this means is that you can insert interactive practice problems or videos from Khan Academy or CK-12 Foundation directly into your lesson. Students will see and experience these apps as part of your lesson, and you will see how the class is doing overall as well as insight into coaching that will be most useful for each individual student.
Office Mix makes it easy to insert standard quiz formats: true / false, multiple choice, multiple response, free response, and polls and gives you a high degree of control over how students interact with them. You can control how many attempts the students get, provide hints, add a timer, randomly change the order of the multiple choice questions, and even provide feedback on the particular answers the students select. Students see instantly if they chose the correct answer, and see your feedback which helps them improve.
When you click “Upload,” your presentation is automatically loaded to the Office Mix website and transformed into a playable, interactive mix, where it remains private unless you choose to share it. Sharing is simple. Just click “share” and post the link on your learning management system, or send it in email to whomever you want to view it. Mixes can be viewed on almost any device with a modern browser.
We’ve also been working hard on near-instant analytics which make it easy for you to see if students have watched the lesson and how they did on any quizzes you include. These analytics are secure and for your eyes only. You will know almost instantly if someone has watched your mix, and how they scored on any quizzes you included. You’ll know where to invest your energy and which students need some extra help.
We even give you information on how much time students are spending in total on each slide of your lesson, so it’s easy to see where students are the most challenged, as well as which students are giving the lesson short shrift.
Getting and Using Office Mix
We’ve been amazed at how our early pilot testers are using Office Mix. Some have used it to record entire lectures for absent students. Others record so that students can re-watch important lessons to study or review. Some have used Office Mix in blended learning, a new trend where the lecture takes place in non-traditional places, for instance at home, and class time may be used for more individualized instruction.
Office Mix has use beyond the classroom too. You can record important presentations and send it to people who weren’t able to be there in person. You can even record a meeting and have people watch the presentation outside the meeting, and then repurpose the meeting time for discussion.
This is just the beginning, and we are excited to see what other creative uses you will dream up and what more you may want in the product.
Try the Office Mix customer preview today at mix.office.com.
Office Mix requires Office 2013 SP1. We’ll check to see if you have the right version during installation, and let you know if you need to take action and how to get a trial if you need it.
Our mission is to make creating an online lesson as simple as creating a PowerPoint. Give Office Mix a try today, and let us know what you think!