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Microsoft Teams gets specialized for classrooms with new collaboration features

Teachers can grade assignments, invite guest lecturers for presentations from within Office 365 for Education.

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Microsoft Teams, the Slack rival by Microsoft, has received a major overhaul. At the Education special event, MicrosoftEDU, the company revealed that it is expanding Teams to the educational space. Microsoft Teams is integrated in Office 365 for education and will be available for free to all Windows 10 S users.

The new feature in Teams is targeted mainly towards teachers. It can help teachers connect with students while maintaining different groups and different discussions for varied subjects, classrooms. However, Microsoft is also aiming at bringing in the youngsters by pairing multiple emojis and gifs in the new app. The new features are expected to be available later in the year.

Coming to the features of the app, the app will let teachers create rosters at the beginning of the academic year. Similar to Slack, there are multiple threads, each with teachers and students. These groups and threads can be customized with the teacher singling out students individually for further guidance. Additionally, since the app comes integrated with Office 365, all tools are available within the app.

Video chat is another feature of the Microsoft Teams Education app. The app supports one-on-one as well as group chat. The videos can be held among only students or with teacher participation. Additionally, teachers can invite guest lecturers over video and also conduct polls within the app. Microsoft is pegging video-chats among students as the foundation for their office life where they would have to collaborate virtually with individuals from different areas and accomplish tasks through video calls.

The app will also let students submit their assignments or projects online and teachers can grade them from within the app. The app also contains Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) for teachers to collaborate between themselves and for school administrators to communicate with staff members. ALSO READ: Microsoft Windows 10 S wants you to stick to its default browser

The app is clearly designed at being a complete communication system not just for a classroom but for an entire educational institution. Office 365 for Education will come integrated with third party partners busuu, Canvas, Flipgrid and Kahoot!. According to Microsoft, Teams gets even better with partners, and today, we re announcing four new integrations from education tech leaders busuu, Canvas, Flipgrid and Kahoot!. From directly within Teams, teachers can now help students learn a language with the busuu quizbot; access all their information and tools in Canvas; add video discussions with Flipgrid; and easily create and share Kahoot! learning games. All four integrations will be available this summer, and we re committed to bringing more partners on board before the beginning of the next school year.

Schools subscribed to Office 365 can download the new software through Set Up School PCs app or Microsoft Intune for Education. Presently, the app is available only in preview mode and is expected to roll out over the summer.

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  • Published Date: May 3, 2017 10:46 AM IST