Microsoft has announced that it has added several new features to its ‘Teams’ designed to support educators and students in creating a holistic learning environment for the next chapter of education.
Among others, the new features will provide for personalised learning for each and every student, organise the online classroom experience and make assignments more engaging, organised and fun. They also allow teachers to better understand student engagement and emotional wellbeing while also encouraging class participation during synchronous learning for better hybrid and remote classes.
Top updates include Reading Progress, a new free tool for Microsoft Teams for Education that gives students a less stressful way to improve their reading skills, while helping educators save time, guide class progress and identify areas for one-on-one attention. Whether learning how to read, improving reading fluency or learning a new language, Reading Progress supports students of all ages; Supervised Chat in Teams for Education, supports students’ safety in both digital and physical spaces; Additional collaboration tools for Teams for Education, these new free tools will make it easier for educators to streamline group work, issue assignments from a variety of third-party apps and help students easily see when assignments are due; and New updates for Minecraft: Education Edition, including Minecraft for Camps and Clubs, which allows learners to use Minecraft: Education Edition outside the classroom.
According to Barbara Holzapfel, Microsoft’s Vice President for Education, the new tools and updates are designed to support the five key areas that help teachers create a holistic learning environment and move education forward: student centricity, skills focus, social learning, safety and security, and scalability.
“For the past year, teachers have leveraged technology in innovative ways to keep students engaged. Technology went from being a temporary lifeline to facilitate connection in remote and hybrid learning, to a fully integrated part of many virtual and in-person classrooms,” says Holzapfel.
According to a recent survey commissioned by Microsoft, since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, teachers have innovated by integrating technology and learning to engage students. From this study, 82 percent of educators agree that this past year accelerated the pace at which technology has driven innovation in teaching and learning. In addition, 71 percent of educators say technology has helped them improve their instruction and expanded their teaching capacity.
“As schools reimagine learning, there are several technologies that are critical to support learning, including collaborative online environments, analytics and feedback tools, and inclusive, immersive experiences that support deep understanding of complex concepts. The new apps and features will further support teachers and students on this journey,” concludes Holzapfel.