June 9

Build A Collaborative Classroom With Microsoft Teams

With countries enforced into lockdowns, educational institutes were also forced to shut down for about 363 Million learners worldwide. The pandemic resulted in an overnight shift to remote learning. But apart from a few schools and universities, most lacked the infrastructure or had it but didn't know how to make proper use of it.

Initially, decision makers were uncertain about how remote learning would work for their faculty and students, especially since there was limited support from in-house IT team. Among the challenges that the pandemic brought was successfully running online classrooms with zero training of students, and staff members.

In this article, we will categorically discuss how Microsoft Teams for Education is the best platform to build a Collaborative Classroom and enhance remote learning.

Learn more about:
  1. What is Microsoft Teams for Education?
  2. What is better, Zoom or Microsoft Teams?
  3. Teaching & Learning with Virtual teams
  4. How to attend a Microsoft teams for Education meeting?
  5. Create a class on Teams
  6. Starting an Online Lesson On Teams
  7. How to grade assignments on Microsoft Teams
  8. How to Use Microsoft Teams for Education for Free
  9. 6 Things You Can Do In An Online Classroom
  10. How To Set up Microsoft Teams for Education


What is Microsoft Teams for Education?

Teams for Education is a digital hub that brings conversations, meetings, files, and apps together in one place. Because Teams is built on Office 365, schools benefit from integration with their familiar Office apps and services. It delivers enterprise-grade security and compliance that is extensible and customizable to fit the needs of every school. What is Microsoft Teams for Education?

With Teams for Education, your school or institution can: 

  • Create collaborative classrooms
  • Connect in professional learning communities
  • Communicate with school staff and Administration
  • Coordinate research across institutions
  • Easily facilitate student life efforts like clubs or extracurricular activities 

All this from a single experience in Office 365 for Education.

Today’s education is about ensuring that every student has equal opportunity to learn in an environment providing an experience similar to that of the physical classroom.


What is better, Zoom or Microsoft Teams?

As a Teams for Education trainer, I am part of the pre-sales and sales team that is involved in providing live demos of Microsoft Teams for Education to potential customers. Amazingly, during Q & A, I often get one question a lot, “What is better, Zoom or Microsoft Teams?”. Truth be told, it’s like comparing apples to oranges. So, since it’s a hot topic amongst educators who are reluctant to switch from Zoom to Microsoft Teams, we will touch upon some key differences.

MICROSOFT TEAMS FOR EDUCATION

ZOOM

Microsoft Teams Meetings are transformed with the introduction of a lifecycle, making the experience more persistent.

Zoom is a standalone meeting solution requiring third party apps for anything other than meetings.

By harnessing the power of deep learning and AI in Teams, the user is more insightful, proactive and adaptive. 

Zoom intelligent features expose customers to additional IT costs and complexity.

Microsoft Teams offers a centralised workspace with full integration of the Office 365 Apps.

Zoom lacks built-in capabilities with Microsoft 365 Apps like note taking and enterprise level guest access.

Teams brings mature phone system capabilities that are enterprise ready.

Zoom phone system capabilities are unproven as it has very few enterprise references.

Microsoft 365 Enterprise level security.

Security Issues like "Zoom bombing"


Teaching and Learning with Virtual Teams

The new era of collaboration has started and Educators have quickly adopted to Teams easily connecting with colleagues by setting up meetings with over a hundred team members at once! Teams for Education engages students with virtual face-to-face connections and it’s free for students and teachers with a valid school email address. 

Students and teachers can seamlessly work together on a single platform by creating content, and sharing resources. Additionally, Teams is the best one-stop digital hub to address collaborative needs and integrate trusted applications in order to:

  • Communicate on the go and keep everyone in the loop
  • Give your team easy access to information 
  • Customise your digital hub to include class material, and content as required
  • Enjoy enterprise-level security and compliance features expected from any Microsoft product
  • Provide an online classroom experience very similar to that of a physical classroom. 
  • Share files and websites, create a OneNote Class Notebook, and distribute and grade assignments.
  • Share instructional material using Professional Learning Communities.

Class Teams can be used to create collaborative class spaces, provide a virtual meeting platform, facilitate learning with assignments and feedback, and lead live calls with students.

How to attend a Microsoft Teams for Education meeting?

Microsoft Teams for Education Meetings support up to 250 attendees with the option to share audio, video, screen, content, whiteboards and notes.

With Teams Meetings:
  • Schedule Meetings from within Teams
  • Record and Save team meetings for attendees to view later
  • As organizer, end meeting for all participants

Here’s a tutorial to walk you through the process of joining a Teams meeting from your calendar, via dial-in number and conference ID, or sign in as a guest on the web.

Create a class on Microsoft Teams

So Microsoft Teams for Education offers specific team types for educational use. The Class team type is designed for classrooms with specific features, including:

  • Assignments
  • A OneNote classroom notebook
  • A class materials folder for securing read-only content for students
  • The ability to mute disruptive students
  • Creating collaborative class spaces
  • A virtual meeting platform
  • Live calls with students

Here’s a step-by-step guide to how you can create a class team in Microsoft Teams.

Starting an Online Lesson On Teams

With schools and universities being able to manage their virtual classrooms with Teams, Teachers can expand their reach by hosting class and office hours in a Teams meeting and accommodating students no matter their location. Moreover, you can also bring chat, real-time collaboration, and apps together in a safe, always-on learning environment. 

Here's how. 

How to grade assignments on Microsoft Teams

With the level of ease that Microsoft Teams provides, you can Create assignments, grade, or turn in your work. All from Teams.

Start with this guide to grading assignments on Teams and enhance remote learning at your institution today.


How to Use Microsoft Teams for Education for Free

Remote learning can become a requirement at any given time. Because of the current situation, we learned that not having a digital education platform can result in many consequences. You can build collaborative classrooms, connect in professional learning communities, and connect with colleagues with Microsoft Teams for Education for Free for your entire school!


6 Things You Can Do In An Online Classroom

Countless schools & universities across the globe are beating the lockdown with Microsoft teams for education. By constantly updating the app, Microsoft has managed to empower students with technology skills that not only help in online learning but will also help them in future.

Here are some of the key features that Microsoft Teams for Education enables in an Online Classroom:

              Connection & Collaboration                

The Teams built-in meetings features allow efficient classroom meetings, collaboration with

  1. Virtual whiteboards
  2. Sharing of documents
  3. Assignment submission
  4. Exchanging notes
  5. Team video calls

All Inclusive

In order to facilitate learners of all abilities, understanding which tools and technologies improve convenience and foster an inclusive classroom becomes important.

Accordingly, Teams takes care of that by providing:

  • Immersive Reader
  • Message Translator
  • Live captions for Class Meetings

Substantial Engagement With Rubrics

The Built-in Rubric grading system helps increase assignment transparency for students and allows you to give more substantial feedback on learners’ assignments.

Because this type of extensive feedback mechanism not only helps students learn and improve, it's also a transparent way for teachers to grade. This practice has been an extremely popular feature with teachers and students.

Administration & Learning Communities

Staff Teams allow educators and administration to easily communicate and collaborate during remote learning. With this, you will see many three-ring binders tossed in the trash in no time.

OneNote - Class Notebooks

Just like those three-ring binders, you won’t be seeing much of paperback notebooks anymore either, because OneNote. OneNote is built into Teams and allows you to perform a variety of tasks like: 

  • Sort content across notebooks, sections, and pages
  • Highlight can’t-miss notes with Important and To-Do tags
  • Draw your thoughts and annotate your notes, using a stylus or your finger
  • Record audio notes, insert online videos, and add files
  • Use the OneNote Web Clipper to save content with a single click
  • Share notebooks with classmates and teachers

Integration With Your School LMS

Teams can easily be integrated with Canvas and Moodle. Because of this, it becomes easy for the administration to call for meetings from within their learning management systems.

It would be fitting to say that in this time digital transformation, Microsoft Teams is a lifesaver.


How To Set up Microsoft Teams for Education

Because Teams for Education is built on Office 365, schools benefit from integration with their familiar Office apps and services. It delivers enterprise-grade security and compliance that is extensible and customisable to fit the needs of every school. 

Microsoft Teams for Education comes with all the powerful collaboration tools that are available to other Teams users. But, we find that the concept of intelligent communication is unknown to IT departments even today. Unfortunately, this only makes rolling out a technology like Teams for thousands of users a challenge. 

Your Journey to Microsoft Teams For Education with Communication Square

With a huge number of students learning remotely, it is important to support clients in this dramatically changed environment. At Communication Square, we are fully prepared to provide round the clock support to our clients.

As Microsoft certified Gold Partners, we work dedicatedly and solely on Microsoft Technology. We provide deployment of Teams by completing the following steps: 

  • Account Creation for Teachers & Student
  • Creation of Communication Channels
  • Teacher Training
  • Student/Parent Guides
  • Testing, Roll Out, & Support

Technology is the present and the future. Our goal is to equip your students with tools that are important for their future. Still have questions unanswered? Book a Consultation with us and we would be delighted to give you a detailed run-through of implementing Teams at your institute!

About the Author

I'm a professional digital marketer & content specialist. You may know me from my greatest hits such as, "No, I can't just make it go viral." or "No, you can't have everybody as your audience." and "Yes, you're absolutely going to need a copywriter!"

Rijah Naseem

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