Today's post comes from Principal Product Manager, Jim Federico
In the Education Product Team, we spend a lot of time in classrooms. We talk to teachers, students, parents, education leaders, curricula specialists, IT professionals, policy writers – pretty much everyone who has anything to do with teaching and learning. In these conversations, we've become aware of challenges teachers face in differentiating student instruction. Finding quality, standards-aligned teaching materials drains teachers time.
And so, a team of us at Microsoft created a new Office 365 feature that we call Education Resources. We believe it willbe a game-changer for how teachers search for and access classroom content that meets the varying academic interests and needs of their students.
Standards-Aligned Curriculum Solution
From within OneNote Class Notebooks, Education Resources gives teachers access to approximately 300,000 standards-aligned open educational resources (OER). All resources are aligned to US National and State standards, including the District of Columbia. So, if you are a teacher in Tennessee, we have you covered with the recently released Tennessee Academic Standards. If you are a teacher in Washington, you will find resources aligned to all the standards relevant in Washington. We have also incorporated standards for many countries including Australia, Canada, India, England and others. Because education standards change frequently, we update our standards and alignments to resources several times a month.
To try this out, get latest version (1.8.4) of the Class Notebook addin and go to the Insert menu and choose Education Resources.
Education Resources integrated in the Class Notebook Addin
Standards-Aligned Assessment Solution
In addition to the curricular solutions, Education Resources also presents integrated assessments via Microsoft Forms. From Forms, teachers can access approximately 1,000 free formative assessments written by professional item writers. These assessments are aligned to the same set of standards listed above.
Education Resources integrated Microsoft Forms
In the past months, 12 school districts have been piloting the tool while we welcomed their candid feedback. For example, when we showed our Western Australia users all 109 sets of education standards, they recommended we show only the standards relevant to their region. We delivered on this request and the experience is now much more streamlined.
“Great teachers spend significant time searching, identifying and aligning learning resources to curriculum standards, with a goal of providing the very best personalized experiences for their students,” said Aidan McCarthy, Head of Digital Transformation at Catholic Education Western Australia. “Microsoft in partnership with open content resource providers allows teachers to save time by integrating Education Resources into familiar O365 tools like OneNote and Forms, saving valuable teaching time and costs for teachers, students, and schools.”
Teacher feedback convinced us to build this feature and teacher feedback directly shaped what we’re releasing today. While we’re excited to preview Education Resources, we’re even more excited to connect teachers to high-quality resources, saving them time to connect with students and enhance learning.
Education Resources will be rolling out to Office 365 for Education tenants in preview in October. To get started, ask your O365 administrator to enable access within the Office 365 Admin Center. Once enabled, teachers can access the curriculum and assessments that integrate with OneNote Class Notebooks and Microsoft Formsrespectively.