Teacher Review for Sway

Dynamic digital storytelling tool that can work in any content area!

Rachelle W.
Digital Learning Specialist
Fort Settlement Middle School
Sugar Land, United States
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My Subjects English Language Arts
My Rating
Learning Scores
My Students Liked It Yes
My Students Learned Yes
I Would Recommend It Yes
Setup Time More than 15 minutes
Great for Creation
Further application
Knowledge gain
Small group
Student-driven work
Teacher-led lessons
Great with Advanced learners
Low literacy
How I Use It
As a digital learning specialist, I have created a few lesson ideas for using Sway. With ELA teachers, I created a lesson that supported more technical/procedural writing where students created 7 Steps to "X". For example, they would provide seven steps for how to fry an egg. First students had to type their steps in sections using Microsoft Word. Then they were able to import the word document into Sway. This made it very easy for students to focus on the content, first, and not all the media which can be a distraction when there is no content to work with. When students import the Word file, Sway automatically sectioned the storyline/workspace with their typed content. Since the content was now imported, all students had to do was make it pretty by adding visual support. Students were able to add Creative Commons images, YouTube videos, and upload their own content from their computer as well. When they didn't like the look of the Sway they could simply, "Remix" it and it would give them another theme/design to work with. Because Sway is accessible to our students through their Office 365 accounts, they could work on their Sway projects outside of class. Sway is a great tool to use no matter the content area. Recently my son had a presentation he was asked to create as part of a Colonial Equations projects in his Algebra class. They were challenged to share their equation and knowledge of an important day in U.S. History using a presentation tool, so he created a Sway. Next month, our Science teachers will complete a lesson on 10 Things You Should Know About...(An Element on the Periodic Table) using Sway. I can’t wait to see what our science teachers think of it.
My Take
For novice users Sway may not be as user-friendly. So, when I am working with teachers and students I share a Sway Quick Reference guide for support. Once they start using it, they get the hang of it and will want to make their presentation/digital story unique and creative. For Office 365 users, the Sway app is easily accessible online making “creating and storytelling” available from anywhere at anytime. Sways can be shared to work on collaboratively which is ideal for group projects and presentations. Teachers can create Sways to present their lessons and then share them with students to access later by sharing the link. They can add images, videos, PowerPoint presentations, Word documents, and more. The only limitation with Sway, at this point, is that it does not run on auto-play so you must advance the slides or elements manually. It will work with a presentation remote, though.