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Sway

Sway is a web-based Microsoft Office tool that allows users to convey information as a newsletter, presentation, or document. Users can customize their Sway with headings, text, video, and images. Sways can be created from scratch, from a template, or from an existing file such as an outline created in Word. Content is then organized into sections called cards which can be easily dragged and dropped to reorder the information. Sway allows presenters, teachers, and students to visually organize the information they want to share and each Sway has its own link so that Sways can be shared easily on the web and through email or social media.

Keywords: Connectivism, Constructionism, Social Constructivism

Tool Snapshot

Price Free with Office 365
Learning Social Constructivism, Connectivism, Constructionism
Ease of Use ★★★★✩
Privacy ★★★✩✩
Accessibility ★★★★★
Access ★★★★✩
Class Size Unlimited
Login Yes
COPPA/
FERPA
Yes/Yes
ISTE*S Empowered Learner, Knowledge Constructor, Creative Communicator

Ease of use

Microsoft provides a good tutorial on its website; YouTube users have posted their own guides to using Sway, and the help feature is useful. Microsoft offers a written tutorial on how to create a project in Sway. However, it takes some playing around to get used to the tool. Since it’s a web-based app, the menus are different than standard Office menus. Learning to use the features to make your Sway go beyond a substitution for PowerPoint takes time.

Privacy

Microsoft’s privacy statement is robust and complete, but still fairly easy to read. Users can control how much data they provide, however, some data is required to make a tool like Sway work (email address, password). Data is shared with 3rd parties, but some settings can be adjusted. Microsoft is Privacy Shield compliant.

Price

There is no cost to use Sway as long as you have a Microsoft account. Free accounts are available to schools for both students and teachers and Sway is included in the free package. Sway is also ad-free. However, a Microsoft login in is required and Microsoft’s privacy policy indicates user data is shared with 3rd parties including advertisers.

Accessibility

Microsoft has an accessibility statement. In Sway, there are tips/best practices provided to make your Sway as accessible as possible. There is also an accessibility checker to review your work. Sway works with screen readers/narrators and can be used with just a keyboard (no mouse required).

Access

Sway can be used on all desktops and tablets and can be used without downloading any software or plugins. A high-speed connection isn’t required. Sways can be viewed on mobile phones, but editing on iPhones isn’t possible and the Sway app for iOS is being discontinued.

Sway Overview Video

Sway & the SAMR Model

Dr. Ruben Puentedura’s SAMR model offers a lens for examining how technology is adopted in a classroom. As you strive to incorporate online tools into your classroom, we encourage you to use this model as an analytic tool.

Here is an example of how Sway might fit within the SAMR model:

Far too often, technology is used as a direct substitute for other low-tech tools (e.g., pencil and paper). While substitution has some benefits (e.g., students develop their technology skills and knowledge), we encourage you to think about how you might use Sway to modify or redefine learning.

Learning Activities

Math

The first card in a Sway called Triangles: Triple Trouble
The first card of a Sway about triangles

Science

English/Language Arts

Other

Resources

How to Use Sway

Research

Khazanchi, R. & Khazanchi, P. (2018). “Use of Microsoft SWAY in making Engaging Digital Stories for Students with Disabilities in K-12 classrooms”. In E. Langran & J. Borup (Eds.), Proceedings of Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference (pp. 2436-2441). Washington, D.C., United States: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE). Retrieved November 5, 2018 from https://www.learntechlib.org/primary/p/183618/

Reeves, J., Karp, J., Mendez, G., Veloso, E., McDermott, M., Borror, J., & Capo, B. (2018).  “Developing and implementing an online course framework.” Distance Learning, 15(1), 41-50. Retrieved November 5, 2018 from  https://edtechbooks.org/-cgR

Usman, R. K. (2020). The Use of Microsoft Sway 365 in Teaching Reading Descriptive Text: A Response to Pandemic SituationJournal of English Language Teaching and Cultural Studies3(2), 82-88.

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