With the rise of digital and hybrid classrooms, Microsoft has recently introduced new tools and updates designed to support educators in creating a holistic learning environment.
“We are grateful for the resilience and commitment educators have displayed in evolving their teaching styles over the past year, and we aim to keep supporting them to deliver quality education for their students during these challenging times,” said Larry Nelson, regional general manager of education at Microsoft Asia.
Promoting student-centered learning
To help reverse the declining rates of reading ability (30 percent lower than last year, according to a report released in March), Microsoft offers Reading Progress that lets educators create reading fluency assignments for either the entire class or for individual students to complete independently. It allows students to work at their own pace and make progress without pressure.
Teachers can also review assignments with built-in auto-detect features for English language that analyze results and jump to any part of the recording to review detected words and passages.
Encouraging student engagement
Microsoft has enhanced Teams and other tools to help educators unlock digital experiences that keep students actively engaged. Among the free offerings that will be available ahead of the next school year is Group Assignments (educators can organize their students into assignment groups, and issue assignments from third-party apps directly in Teams).
New calendar integrations allow students to see when their classes are and when assignments are due in the Teams and Outlook calendars. The integration of Minecraft Education Edition with Teams and Flipgrid allows educators to embed a Flipgrid topic, Forms quiz, or assessment tool using new Resource links within a Minecraft world or lesson. Students, on the other hand, can open a Flipgrid Topic, record and share their creation, and invite others to join a world they created.
Supporting student well-being
To enable educators to understand the complexities students face and their emotional state, they can use Reflect. A free app in Microsoft Teams Reflect provides a way for educators to create regular check-ins with individual students or classes to share how they are feeling. Embedded tools in OneNote and Teams, such as praise badges and sticker packs, help students and educators feel more connected.
Enabling safe and secure classrooms
To ensure students’ safety in digital and physical spaces, Microsoft is launching Supervised Chat in Teams. Available later this month, this feature allows designated educators to initiate chats with students while preventing students from starting new chats unless an educator is present.