With all the challenges and turmoil brought in by the present COVID crisis, it has also created huge opportunities and has pushed innovators and brands to challenge their frontiers and stand up to the crisis. The pandemic has accelerated the shift towards digital transformation by pushing businesses to up their ante and adopt the available tools and leverage the potential of digital technology at hand to meet the rising needs for remote connectivity, collaboration and production.
Today’s challenging times have pushed for a monumental growth of digital transformation in education as schools and colleges needed to quickly adopt and transition to online learning and that too at a very short notice. This meant adoption of such collaborative platforms that would allow them to seamlessly shift to the new paradigm with less or no upfront training of the stakeholders involved.
Over 150 million students, faculty, institutional leaders, and teachers have been actively using Microsoft Education products - with Teams for Education as that hub - to engage students in remote learning.
Microsoft Teams is a digital hub that offers a single point solution where collaboration, learning, discussions and content creation takes place.Teachers can create digital classrooms, connect with their peers and student communities, monitor student performance and create centers of excellence within one single platform. In this blog, we will discuss how Microsoft Teams is ushering in an era of seamless digital classrooms for an empowered new age learning.
Communication and Collaboration - Empowering Learning
Microsoft Teams platform allows teachers and students to seamlessly communicate with each other in a more personal, fluid and group learning. Announcements can be made to individual students or to the whole class or school at once, either manually or through automated messages. Teams' Channel feature allows for creation of channels for classroom learning with an option to create sub-categories within each team for storing files, projects or any focused topics. Integration of Microsoft Teams with Microsoft OneNote Notebooks allows for seamless sharing for notes and files with the students and to give feedbacks to individual students. These Notebooks can be shared with multiple faculty members for collecting and curating resources, collaborating and developing new materials.
Teams allow for seamlessly conducting video meetings and classroom sessions. It also offers the ability to participate in video discussions through Flipgrid which is integrated within the Teams platform. Microsoft Teams is empowering students by making learning more responsive and fluid as it gives them the ability to set up a quick video call with a teacher who might be present somewhere in the campus and eager to answer and collaborate, right away from their device, and this would mean better and empowered learning.
Assignments Made Fluid and Easy to Manage
Microsoft Teams on boarded the Chalkup platform to offer the new assignment features to teachers to easily manage their assignments without the need to leave the Teams environment. Teachers can attach relevant files from MS Office tools (like Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and OneNote) that are built right within the Teams platform. New assignments can thus be created right through the platform and can be then assigned right away to the students. Teams allow to create, save and use rubrics to assess work and give feedback to students with the ability to customize and add written feedback as well as adjust scores.
App Integrations: All-In-One
Teams for education takes learning and digital classroom a notch higher by allowing for multiple integrations and acting as a central hub for performing tasks otherwise handled by different apps and software. Teams allow for integrating the most popular educational apps within its platform including Flipgrid, Quizlet, Kahoot, and Nearpod. Also, Teams makes it easier for users to designate a tab to a given channel for an app that is being frequently used by students. Microsoft has also integrated newer apps like Prezi, Gaggle, GO1, Piazza, Canvas, and Moodle to add to the dynamics of app used for learning.
This means students and educational institutions do not have to look for purchasing multiple software or switching through different windows for their education needs. It frees everyone from the hassle of mixing up multiple accounts, numerous logins and obviously the pain of toggling between apps. So, Microsoft Teams as your central hub frees you not just from hassle of complexities but also gives you more time and energy to concentrate on something that is more important i.e., learning and collaborating with ease!
Analytics Capability - with Insights App
Microsoft Teams offer teachers the ability to track class attendance, scores, class engagement and performance of individual student within the application through the Insights app. This feature offers educators an insight into how many virtual classroom sessions an individual student has attended or missed, number of active/inactive students per day, the documents being accessed, or assignments being taken up. An educator with spotlight cards can access trending student behaviors which they can later work upon. Teachers can easily monitor progress of students and make faster and informed decisions for immediate learning support to students by having an overview over meeting participation, engagement and assignment activities.
Different Choices on How to See Each Other And Engage in Online Classes
Every class, meeting or discussion is not same and have their varying needs. The need for multiple device and platform availability for any online education tool is crucial. Also, such a tool must also offer the feature to have different views on either desktop or mobile. Microsoft with its latest update and continuous evolution offers multiple device and multiple view feature. Within Teams you can turn on Large Gallery View where in a 7x7 grid allows for the visibility of 49 participants together on one window frame. Together Mode in Teams video sessions allows for a more real-life experience by placing all participants in a classroom or real-life setting. Together mode promises to bring students together in a virtual world.
Recent study suggests that by 2021 the application of Artificial Intelligence in education and learning will increase by 47.5%
QBot - Personalizing Student Experience with AI
QBot is an AI powered solution that is integrated within the Microsoft Teams platform, originally developed for UNSW, Australia and part of it now remains open sourced. It facilitates an online learning community built on the premise that no student’s voice is lost in the noise by collecting every question in the database and allowing the community and teachers answer to questions tagged @taggingQBot. Accepted answers are later used to train robots for answering future questions on their own. It also eliminates the need to answer similar query multiple times and builds its own database through lecture recordings, notes, past comments and questions to help students learn better and answer them in real time.
In the present scenario, Microsoft Teams platform has been readily adopted across the globe by educational institutions as a powerful tool for education, collaboration, voice and video conferencing and an all-in-one tool for making digital classrooms a true reality. Microsoft Teams has now become the one of the favorite tools for schools and universities across the world as a partner in their online education plans.
Espire Infolabs is a Global Partner for Microsoft Teams implementation. We have been continuously transforming the digital journey of our clients with an impressive customer experience delivery, aligning to their business objectives & ensuring positive business benefits. Drop us your feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org and stay tuned to this space for recent trends and insights around everything digital!
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