Microsoft Teams Education Platform

Recent Updates Target Education Sector

The Microsoft Teams adoption rate continues to soar in all industries, and for good reason. One of the primary industries Microsoft seems to be focused on is Education. As a result, this helps make Microsoft Teams THE Education Platform of choice. Having experienced two of my kids use Microsoft Teams for virtual classroom meetings during the remainder of their school year under quarantine, it was clear that Teams was a great fit. With the uncertainty of what the next school year brings, educators need to prepare for the possibility of continued remote learning. Microsoft is rolling out a wealth of features that should make that planning a bit easier for educators, students, and parents alike. Below, I will step through some of those features and various scenarios where these could be extremely useful. As a result, you will see why Microsoft Teams is the platform of choice for education.

Here are some highlights

  • Breakout Rooms
  • Large Gallery View – 7×7 (49 participants in view)
  • Multi-Window for Meetings & Calling
  • Increased Meeting Attendance Limit to 300
  • Class Insights

Breakout Rooms

Coming this fall: Breakout Rooms!

Microsoft has made some serious strides lately. They’ve just about closed the feature gap between Teams and the other video/web conferencing tools on the market. Above all, the one feature we continually hear requested from our clients is Breakout Rooms. Even though you can accomplish this today, the approach is convoluted and leaves an unnecessary virtual paper trail.

Imagine hosting an event with the need to breakout into smaller working groups. Each group is managed and attended by the host, resulting in deliverables by each group shared in the main event. A common use case for most industries, this is extremely useful in the classroom. Certainly, this will help make Microsoft Teams the education platform of choice.

Knowing if and when your students are engaged is an important aspect of the classroom. Available to preview soon and rolling out in August, Teams will enable a 7×7 grid view to see up to 49 participants. As a result, this will enable teachers and aids to keep a handle on their virtual classroom with a more personal experience.

7×7 video view showing 49 screens, courtesy of Microsoft Tech Community Blog

Multi-Window for Meetings & Calling

Pop out chat was a nice addition to Teams back in May. Rolling out soon is the ability to pop out meetings and calling windows. This will be an extremely welcomed feature, as I regularly tend to get lost in my Teams windows while on calls and in meetings. A great use case for this in education could be anything from in-classroom note taking to group Kahoot! sessions.

Multi-window capability coming to Microsoft Teams meetings and calling, courtesy of Microsoft Tech Community Blog

Increased Meeting Attendance Limit to 300

Available today, meetings can now have up to 300 participants, allowing many larger institutions to deliver virtual content to broad audiences. Think seminars and assemblies.

Class Insights

With Class Insights, teachers can track academic progress and engagement during class activities for all of their students. By collecting student activities in Teams, Class Insights provides a dynamic analytics dashboard with actionable insights for each individual student.

Now for Some Fun!

If you’re team is anything like ours, I’m sure you’ve come across some creative ways to have fun with Microsoft Teams. Out of the box, it comes with a lot of fun backgrounds, but what if you want to add a personal or branded touch?

Here are a few ideas we like to have fun with:

  • During virtual happy hours, we like to virtually place ourselves in our favorite local bars and restaurants
  • On customer calls, we have various office space backdrops with company branding
  • For internal meetings, we like to use backgrounds that share our hobbies and interests, or to share stories of some recent funny customer happenings (like that time a squirrel got into a customer’s home office during a call!)

Click here to download Fun Microsoft Teams Backgrounds, courtesy of the Microsoft 365 Blog!

For more great resources for educators, check out this Microsoft Tech Community blog post.

How do you have fun with Microsoft Teams? Comment below to share!

If you’d like to learn more about how we’re helping organizations across the globe effectively use Microsoft Teams, visit our Microsoft Teams Consulting page or contact us today.