Microsoft Teams' New Features Teachers Should Know About

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As you make your transition to remote instruction, Microsoft Teams for Education becomes an integral element in your teaching digital toolkit. With the multiple features it provides, Microsoft Teams can tremendously transform your online teaching and help you enhance your students learning. In today's post, we are sharing with you this list of  some of the main Microsoft Teams updates you should definitely be aware of. These  include:

1-  Run engaging classes through online meetings
To make your online classes more engaging Microsoft Teams added the following features:

  A- Different viewing modes (expected in August): There are Large Gallery Mode view (7x7 video grid) that lets you see everyone at once; Together Mode which is especially useful for classroom discussions; and Dynamic view to "easily track the content or person currently speaking in class".

  B- Updated attendance report option (expected in September): This allows teachers to download attendance reports after the end of class meetings. The report includes :"Time and Leave Time, Email Addresses, along with the Duration so educators can more easily track student attendance as well as engagement. This feature is not on by default now and must be enabled first by IT Admins".

  C- Real-time visual collaboration in online classes: "Whiteboard in Teams now has new features including faster load times, sticky notes, text, and drag-and-drop capabilities. These features enable students who don’t have access to a touch or pen device to participate in whiteboarding sessions during Teams meetings. Plus, educators will also have the option to present the digital whiteboard without students having access to drawing on the board during class."

  D- Allow more students to join large lectures: "Starting this month, Teams meetings are now available for up to 300 attendees (up from 250). By the close of 2020, Teams meetings will grow to support up to 1,000 students."

  E- Break into collaboration with virtual breakout rooms: "Educators hoping to split students into smaller groups and discussions for collaborative learning can begin using virtual breakout rooms early in the final quarter of 2020. Educators will be able to pick the number of breakout rooms they’d like, either randomly or manually assign students, move students from one room to the other, send announcements to each breakout group, and bring students back all at once to the main class when they’re ready. Breakout rooms will be available in non-channel meetings like scheduled meetings or meet-now."

2- Easily deploy and manage Teams for your school or institution
One of the main features included in this update is the following:

   A- Simplify grading with SDS and OneRoster compliant SIS (Early August): "Say goodbye to the old copy-and-paste routine for grades. With the new Grade Sync to OneRoster API, Teams automatically sends grades entered by educators in Assignments to their OneRoster compliant SIS."

3- Do more with Assignments in Teams
This update includes the following features:

  A- View assignments across all classes and get to them quickly (again) (August):"Soon, both educators and students will once again be able to view upcoming and turned in assignments by class or view them across all classes. Just visit Assignments in your app bar on the left hand side of Teams to view assignments across all classes."

  B- Quickly preview a linked resource (August): "In addition, when an educator adds a link as an assignment resource, students will be able to see a thumbnail preview before clicking to the site or resource."

  C- More flexibility and settings for educators (August): "Tackle unconscious bias and even the playing field in class with Anonymous Grading. When enabled in the assignment detail view, students’ names are anonymized and avatars are temporarily removed, presenting a random list of students. This allows educators to review work with identities hidden, no shuffling of paper involved."

For the full list of updates and to learn more about integrating them in your online classes, visit this page.