The COVID 19 pandemic has caused schools across the United States to either suspend classes or hold them remotely and it is entirely possible that many schools, be they K-12 or Higher Ed, will deliver remote classes for the Fall as well. The Microsoft Teams Education Template provides educators with a feature rich platform that fits both the remote instructional model for current needs as well as a collaboration platform that supports classwork tasks when face to face instruction is once again possible. The Fresno Unified School District has adopted Microsoft Teams to encourage collaboration between students and help both teachers and students to find their voice in the classroom.
“I love Teams, because [students] can build on each other and learn from each other,” says Heather DiFuria, a teacher at Jefferson Elementary School in the Fresno Unified School District. “And so they’ll explore a little bit more. It’s just connecting to students at the place where they are.”
The Microsoft Teams Education Template gives the user the ability to create four kinds of Teams:
- Professional Learning Community
- Staff team
The resulting Teams come prepopulated with features designed to enhance the classroom experience. For example, the Class Team includes a Microsoft OneNote for use by the class, with sections created for each student in the class.
The Teams landing page gives students and teachers a tile-based view of their Teams, making it easy to see classes they are assigned to. Each Team tile has a descriptive title and an image to give it some color and fun. As students are added to their classroom Team, they instantly have access to all the content the educator shares into the class.
Within the Teams channels, students communicate with their instructors and with each other, collaborating on class assignments, and sharing ideas and content. Shared content is automatically saved into the classroom SharePoint site. Conversations between instructors and students is searchable so students can find comments on certain topics or notes on assignments. Individual conversations can be saved by the user to make it easy to quickly retrieve a key comment. Students and instructors can be @mentioned to notify them of important new content or remind them of a pending assignment or quiz. Visual indicators like bolded font on a Channel indicates there is new content for the student to see.
A OneNote notebook is automatically provisioned for each classroom Team. Each student assigned to the class is automatically provisioned by the Team with their own Section in the Notebook where their Quizzes, Handouts, Class Notes, and other material can be stored. OneNote is rich platform for note taking, sharing of homework and content with the instructor, and a way for the instructor to have one on one instruction with each student. While the instructor has access to each student’s OneNote Notebook section, each student can only see their own.
The OneNote notebook is a feature-rich, flexible environment that supports voice memos, pasting of URL’s, and handwritten notes. Students can even “print” content to their OneNote notebooks to better organize that content for their studies.
With the Microsoft Teams Education Template, this is all “out of the box”. For more information, see this Microsoft content here. Talk to us at Enabling Technologies about how to make this a reality in your tenant.