Using Sway to Create Dynamic Resource Curation

Every month in the school calendar is thematic. So school librarians collate resources to share with students and teachers to build knowledge and understanding. Are the resources used? Hard to measure without anecdotal comments or website page traffic. But one idea to capture users’ attention is to use a dynamic and interactive tool. Think of display windows. If you walk on a busy street and the store window display is static and dull, you won’t stop. But if the design moves, with bright colors and intriguing characters, you likely will.

Microsoft’s Sway is one tool to make students and teachers stop and look.


Many digital tools for newsletters or websites present resources as a list of links. Maybe an image or two appears, but the visual effect is flat. Sway similarly offers content to PowerPoint or SlideShare, but designers can add a lot more to one slide, unlike those presentation tools. Sway works by adding cards to build a presentation (similar to slides). You can add a text card (heading or straight text), media (images, video, audio, embed, or file upload), or a group. The group option allows users to take multiple resources and arrange them in a grid, a comparison, a stack, or a slideshow. Imagine highlighting e-books from your collection with the stack or slideshow option embedded in a single card! Or doing an image comparison or a grid of different types of resources. 



Sway allows for various means to view content. Users can peruse sources in a horizontal way like a book, vertically like web content, or with an accessible perspective. The accessible view strips away the multimedia effects for a comfortable, linear viewing experience.


The group card under the grid view offers educators opportunities to post various sources with an essential question. See the sample below:

You can add embedded content to create additional interactive opportunities: Google or Microsoft Forms to post quizzes or surveys; other content with Wakelet or Smores; newsfeeds; polls, comic strips, and so much more!


Sway combines the interactive tools of websites with the presentation styling of a slide show or newsletter. So experiment with creating a Slack to showcase resources in a fun, exciting way to capture students’ attention and critical thinking.


Author: Leanne Ellis

I am a School Library Coordinator for the New York City Department of Education’s Department of Library Services. I plan and deliver workshops, provide on-site instructional and program support to school librarians, coordinate programs, administer grants, and am program coordinator for MyLibraryNYC, a program administered with our three public library systems.

Categories: Blog Topics, Student Engagement/ Teaching Models, Technology

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