Microsoft Launches New Teams Features to Support Students and Teachers

Microsoft announces ‘Teams for Education’ features to engage and prepare students and teachers for new remote and hybrid learning formats in the upcoming school year. These features include an expanded audience view of Up to 49 participants, Class insights, Custom backgrounds, Virtual breakout rooms to name a few. Check out these in detail below.

Microsoft Teams
Image Source – Microsoft

Accommodate 49 participants at once on a single screen – Teams will be expanding its grid view to 7×7, accommodating up to 49 participants to boost student engagement. Previews will be available later this month and available more widely later in the year.

Virtual breakout rooms – Educators will be able to create virtual breakout sessions for students to meet and collaborate in small groups closer to the end of the year.

Enhancing student participation – In ‘Teams for Education’, students can digitally Raise their hands during class meetings. Educators can also see Attendance Reports and, later in the year, view Class Insights, an intelligent data analytics breakdown on student engagement in class, rate of assignments turned in, activity metrics, and grades, with a new trend view.

Meeting Lobby – New meeting options in Teams prevent students from starting meetings unattended, allows educators to determine who can present in a meeting, and give educators the ability to ensure only assigned students can join a meeting.

Customized images and personalize learning spaces – In addition to using background blur and pre-selected background images, students and teachers can customize their own images and as a result, personalize their own learning space.

Partner integrations: – Teams for Education now also includes integrations with Kahoot, Prezi, GO1, Nearpod, Piazza, Gaggle, Moodle, Canvas, and others. Microsoft has also said that it will add more partner integrations in the coming days to make it easy for schools and universities to use Teams.

Microsoft has also built-in learning tools like Immersive Reader that enable parents to support students across all reading levels or those who have difficulty reading or writing due to dyslexia or dysgraphia. Furthermore, New experiences like Microsoft Translator for Education will help educators to engage with students and their family members in their native languages as well as provide reading and literacy support via text and audio. 

Microsoft Teams2
Image Source – Microsoft

Surveying nearly 500 members of the Microsoft Education community, comprising teachers and institutional leaders from around the world, Microsoft found that there has been a strong uptake in the use of remote learning tools. 61% expect to begin the next school year in a hybrid learning environment—a mix of remote and in-person learning—and 87% said they expect to use technology more in physical classrooms, the brands said in a media release. According to Microsoft, over150 million students, faculty, institutional leaders, and teachers have been actively using Microsoft Education products, with Microsoft Teams as their central hub, to engage students in remote learning.

Commenting on the announcement, Manish Prakash, Country General Manager-Public Sector, Health and Education, Microsoft India said, “Many teachers and faculty have been incorporating new tools into their lessons, often for the first time and students are experiencing new methods of learning, which will have an important, lasting impact on their future. With this transition, it has become clear that with the required physical distance between teachers and students, it’s more important than ever to help educators find ways to connect with students and keep them engaged, motivated, and safe in a digital world. It is inspiring to see how technology is helping educators and students maintain learning continuity,”

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