Microsoft Teams is a digital hub that brings conversations, content, and apps together in one place. From video chat and document sharing to collaborative editing and more – this is ideal for teachers and students. Microsoft Teams for Education is a platform where teachers can create collaborative classrooms, connect in professional learning communities, and communicate with school staff – all from a single experience in Office 365 Education. It is a powerful platform that allows you to communicate, collaborate, and more with students and staff.
We cannot miscalculate the importance of the education industry. It is this industry that is providing the talent contributing to the development of other industries and therefore the economy. Due to the Covid-19 outbreak, new methods of delivering knowledge have started to gain more popularity recently forcing many educational institutions to switch to online learning and administrating.
In this article we will demonstrate how Microsoft Teams helps educational institutions not only make this transition faster and more efficient, but also make the education process and internal communication more productive and enjoyable.
Challenges of Education Industry
Switching to Online learning
The transition to virtual learning can be quite challenging not only for students and teachers, but for the educational institutions themselves. There’s a lot that needs to be done here, and choosing the right digital solution is just the initial step in this process. Then comes organizing online classroom and supporting teachers who need to ensure engagement of all the students, keeping track of everyone’s progress and evaluate. This virtual experience can be quite challenging since you don’t see your students in person.
Nevertheless, digitalization of education is not just about organizing online classes. Educational institutions choose digital collaboration tools for internal communication and administration. The challenge here is to train the staff and to help them make the switch to the new way of working.
How does Microsoft Teams for education work?
In many organizations, including educational institutions, the staff uses a variety of different platforms to communicate with their colleagues, partners, customers, and, in this case, fellow teachers and students. Navigating through email, Skype, WhatsApp, Facebook messenger and perhaps a few other apps at the same time to share information can be overwhelming and distracting. Microsoft Teams, in turn, allows you to communicate and collaborate with the staff and students in the same environment, thereby saving your time and increasing productivity.
Microsoft Teams for education is a separate version of the software with specific features made for educational purposes. It is also free. Well, there is a basic version that costs nothing and accommodates 500,000 members, with up to 2 GB of storage for each. This makes it a viable option for school leaders who want a budget-friendly way to take learning online.
Posts and private messages
Teachers can send messages to the whole class, certain groups of students and individually through private chat. Students will be able to discuss group assignments and work on projects in group conversations as well.
Same goes for all other faculty members.
Each educational institution can build teams with Microsoft Teams that correspond to their specific needs. Within those teams you can create channels for discussions on specific topics and projects. Classroom team can include such channels as Parent meetings, Extracurricular activities, Assignments, Academic Performance, Exams, etc.
Faculty team, which will include all the members of the faculty staff, may have such channels as Extra activities, Curriculum, Educational resources etc.
Conducting video meetings
Video meetings can be used not only for having lessons, but also for organizing internal meetings for teachers or faculty members. Moreover, teachers can invite parents as external users to conduct a parent meeting online. Online parent meeting can be more effective as parents will be able to join the conversation even if they are busy at work or at home.
There are several interesting tools that you can use to make meetings more productive:
- Share screen – lets you share data or show a presentation.
- Whiteboard – allows you to take notes during internal meetings, as well as during online classes. This feature makes your classes more inclusive and interactive. It can also be used for playing engaging games with students such as Pictionary.
- Record a meeting – lets you record classes and meetings and share it with those who missed them. It will also make sure the students will have access to the class in case they forgot to take notes.
Furthermore, you can create meeting transcripts and share it with everyone.
Upload, share and work on files
Microsoft Teams also allows you to upload, share and work on files in the same environment. Your faculty members can create and upload teaching materials, curriculum, students’ records as well as other documentation in relevant channels in your teams.
Create and grade assignments
You can create assignments for students without leaving your Microsoft Teams environment in Assignments Tab.
You can set up the timeline, write instructions, attach teaching material, choose the students who will receive the assignments, and finally grade them.
Save time with OneNote for students and staff
The least rewarding responsibility of a teacher is dealing with huge amounts of paperwork. OneNote Class Notebook add-in makes it much easier for both students and teachers and allows them to save time and organize their work in a better way. It allows to collect homework, quizzes, exams and hand-outs. Students can get their assignments in the content library and receive real-time individual feedback from the teacher.
With Attendance App available for Microsoft Teams for Education, teachers can easily mark presence and absence and make attendance reports. Teachers can update attendance data for up to 30 days, save reports and create individual reports for each student.
How to implement Teams for Education
If you are considering implementing Microsoft Teams and moving to a virtual classroom setup within your educational establishment, our Microsoft Teams Consultants can advise you how to roll it out, what training you will require and provide consultancy around best practice and governance.