virtual learning

New Microsoft Team Features to Support Distance Learning

The new academic school year has kicked off in several parts of the country with the help of Microsoft Teams for Education. Schools are starting with in-person, remote, or hybrid learning or quickly adjusting from one to another.  Microsoft Teams for Education has been there with new changes and improvements to help schools adapt to leaning. Here are a few of the latest updates to help educators this coming year:

  • Data Insights – To ensure that school and system leaders have a full view of the online learning activities of all their students, Microsoft announced new functionality in Education Insights. The new app in Microsoft Teams for Education enables leaders to track the engagement and progress of students over time closely. Education leaders and teachers can stay in touch with how every student is responding and take action to ensure the learning outcome for individual students and school districts.
  • Spotlight – Educators can lock their videos for the whole class. This will help control the main video feed that a student sees during the meeting. The feature can only be enabled or disabled by the organizer or presenter.
  • Student Safety – With Hard Audio Mute, educators can keep collaboration to the right moments and mute students when it’s time to focus in class. This feature will be in place to prevent attendees from unmuting themselves. IT admins will have the option to control when students can join meetings by policy.  This will help keep classrooms and student to student interaction secure. Student Lobby gives educators time to set up their class and prevents students from joining a meeting until the educator is ready for them.
  • Assignments in Teams – Educators and Students will be able to view upcoming and turned in assignments by class or view them across all classes, by visiting the Assignments in your app bar.

As Microsoft continues to bring technology to educators, students, and parents in a rapidly changing learn from home environment. As remote and hybrid learning environments continue to grow, I am sure we will see more features added to Teams.  Microsoft’s privacy and security approach follows guidelines from the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) to ensure that Teams is a secure platform for learning.

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