What’s New in Microsoft EDU | 22 updates for March 2024
Published Mar 07 2024 06:00 AM 12.6K Views
Microsoft

Welcome to our regular “What’s New in Microsoft EDU” update and thank you so much for being part of our growing community! Following on the heels of our Reimagine Education event on March 6th, we want to share some great new updates that we’re excited to share with you, so here’s what’s new this month. Enjoy!

 

March Topics:
1. Reading Coach updates

2. AI and EDU updates

3. Teams for Education updates

4. Learning Accelerators updates

5. Teams Assignments LTI Preview (coming soon!)

6. Microsoft Forms updates

 

 

1. AI-powered Reading Coach preview now available for schools

Today, we are announcing that Reading Coach is now available for use in classrooms everywhere.


Reading Coach is a FREE reading fluency application that provides personalized, engaging practice with safeguarded, one-of-a-kind AI generated stories that keep even the most reluctant readers coming back.

 

To get started in your classrooms, IT admins need to sign-up for the preview at https://aka.ms/readingcoachschoolsignup. After signing up, they will receive instructions on how to enable access for students.  Educators and students can use the app as individual learners while they wait for IT to enable the app. Choose "Start reading" and sign-in with a personal Microsoft account to use the app.

 

Educators can also join the educator community to share feedback and connect with other educators at https://aka.ms/readingcoach-educatorcommunity.

 

Get started at https://coach.microsoft.com.


Later this year, Reading Coach will also be available in leading Learning Management Systems.

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2. AI and EDU updates

Copilot for Microsoft 365 eligibility will be extended to HED students ages 18+
Copilot for Microsoft 365 eligibility will be extended to HED students ages 18+ on April 1st, 2024 for Microsoft or Office 365 A3/A5 users including the Student Use Benefit.


Microsoft Copilot with commercial data protection private preview program for younger learners is starting this spring. Copilot is already available to all faculty and higher education students 18+ for A1/A3/A5 licenses.

 

Using generative AI to create rubrics in Assignments
Rubrics are a useful tool to communicate the expectations for the assignments to the students, and to provide an easy and effective way for the educator to grade and give specific feedback to the students. However, creating detailed rubrics can take a lot of time. With generative AI integrated into Assignments, you just need to enter what you want the rubric to assess, and Assignments will suggest criteria for you and complete the rubric for you.

Using generative AI to create rubrics in Assignments.png

When: Starting to roll out late March

 

Using generative AI to create instructions in Assignments
We have been working on ways to save time for educators by improving our products with AI. We are doing this first for Classwork, Assignments and Reading Progress. These features are all designed to fit the needs of the educators, save time for educators, and always let the educator decide on the final content.

 

For Assignments Instructions, we are examining the information and giving multiple suggestions for how to enrich the content, such as adding more details, adding learning objectives, emphasizing key concept and even making your assignments more interesting. The educator always has the choice and can generate different options, and after the content is created, can always make further edits and updates to the content.

Using generative AI to create instructions.png

When: Starting to roll out late March

 

Reading Progress – AI passage generation
As announced recently, we are excited to share new capabilities for AI passage generation Educators can now generate a passage directly in Reading Progress, allowing them to leverage insights to personalize it based on the needs of their class and individual students. Passage generation offers the option to select a topic, age, length, and language. Further, educators can easily adjust the complexity of the passage once it has been generated.


You have the control as the educator, and you can add more levels or criteria and let AI fill out a first draft for you.

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When: Starting to roll out late March

 

Reading Progress – AI Comprehension Question generation
Comprehension is a critical pillar for reading fluency but often requires a considerable amount of time from educators to create questions. To better support educators, we have built a new feature to generate comprehension questions based on a specific reading passage. Educators can choose the number of questions and then review them, make any necessary edits, and publish them to students. We’re excited about the potential for these features to save time and further customize learning for each student or class. Passage generation and comprehension questions leverage the power and security of Azure OpenAI, plus platform innovations to support responsible usage in education.

 

When: Starting to roll out late March

 

Admin Controls for generative AI features
The IT Administrators can control the educators’ access to these generative AI features. A new control will be available in the Institute settings tab under Education Section of the Teams admin center.

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When: Rollout beings in later March

 


3. Teams for Education updates

Reuse OneNote and Channels Resources in Classwork

Following our support for Classwork Reuse in January, coming this month you will be able to reuse OneNote and Channel resources from your Modules too! This means all resource types in Classwork (Files, Assignments, OneNote, Links, and Channels) can be reused.

Reuse in Classwork enables you to reuse your content between terms or even duplicate your content across multiple Class Teams!

 

To learn more about Classwork reuse, go to https://aka.ms/ClassworkReuseSupport.

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When: March 2024

 

Copy Link to Classwork Modules

When communicating with students or other educators, you may want to reference your Classwork materials. Coming soon, you will be able to copy a link to a Classwork module to share. You can share this link anywhere inside or outside of Teams!

 

Note: The link will only work for members of the Class Team where the module is located.

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When: Available Now!

 

 

4. Learning Accelerator updates

Search Progress updates
International institutional domain customization
Search Progress and Coach just got much more relevant to folks outside the US! Instead of keeping the default American “.gov” and “.edu” institutional domains, educators can now customize the Domain menu by curating a list of trusted institutional domains that are relevant in their region.


When: Available now!

 

Citation support
What do you do when you’re done with your research? You bring it into the rest of your project, of course! Citing sources accurately is essential for academic integrity, and Search Progress now lets you build APA7 citation tools into any research assignment in Teams.

Whether you're citing a scholarly article or a web page, built-in citation tools simplify the process, ensuring proper attribution and adherence to academic standards. All you need to do is toggle it on, and students will do the rest!

Citation support.jpg

When: Available now!

 

Customizing the Coach in Search Progress
Every Search Progress assignment is different, and now the embedded Search Coach can reflect that! Educators can “Customize Search Coach” in Assignment Settings – whether it’s including a background, enabling a Custom or Fact Check Filter, or highlighting specific institutional domains, things just got even more adaptable!


When: Available now!

 

Tablet and student mobile support

Students can now complete Search Progress assignments from anywhere, with support for tablets and mobile phones!


Speaker Progress private preview
Speaker Progress joins our suite of Learning Accelerator tools to help students develop a key future ready skill – presenting and public speaking! Students consistently rank public speaking as a top cause of anxiety and educators tell us that creating opportunities for presenting in class is time consuming.

 

With Speaker Progress, educators can easily create assignments for students to practice presenting and get real-time tailored coaching on their pace, pitch, filler words, pronunciation, repetitive language, use of sensitive phrases, eye contact, and body language. The educator can customize which tips are shown to students and students can get immediate feedback and see rehearsal report with their top strengths and opportunities for improvement.

 

Educators can review student speeches and see insights on how their students are progressing over time in key speech skills. Building presentation and public speaking skills has never been more important – in the age of AI being able to effectively communicate is one of the soft skills that will set students up for lifelong success. Sign up for our preview at https://aka.ms/SpeakerProgressPreview.

Speaker Progress private preview.png

Speaker Progress.png

When: Private Preview in early April!

 

Reflect: Enhance learner support with Emotion Clusters

We are always looking for ways to help educators mobilize Reflect data to tailor instruction and support to learners' needs and interests. Today, we're excited to introduce a new model that offers additional ways to achieve this.

 

Over the years, scholars have categorized emotions by various dimensions, including pleasantness, energy level, and their impact on our brains and social lives. Grounded by findings from these scholars, we collaborated with academic researchers to build the Emotion Clusters model for Reflect. Inspired by natural elements, this model groups emotions into 11 clusters based on their qualities and associated regulation strategies: Fire, Whirlwind, Wave, Sunshine, Rain, Rock, Fog, Desert, Cloud, Lake, and Earth.

 

Observing learners' responses over time grouped into clusters simplifies understanding, classification, and response to emotional trends, making it easier to support individual learner needs and group dynamics.

 

To learn more about the different clusters, their features, and explore the top cluster among your learners, navigate to Trends view in your Reflect app. You can access this in every class on Microsoft Teams, in your LMS courses, and directly in the Reflect web application.

Enhance learner support with Emotion Clusters.png

When: Available now

 

Reflect: Export check-in responses to Excel
You asked, and now it's here. You can easily export check-in data to Excel for seamless analysis and tracking. To get started, simply navigate to your check-ins list, hover over the check-in you want to export, select "..." and then Export to Excel.

Export check-in responses to Excel.png

When: Available now

 

Reflect: Introducing new Brain Break activities

The brain breaks gallery in Reflect is designed to help learners regain focus and energy, making it easier for them to concentrate on their studies. We're excited to announce that we expanded this gallery with a new podcast series - "In a Heartbeat." Each episode helps better understand a specific emotion or situation and teaches research-backed life skills and strategies on how to navigate it. The series is specifically designed for the school setting.

 

We have also added a new game - "Guess the Emotion," which helps learners expand their emotional vocabulary in a playful way. In pairs, players ask yes/no questions to guess their opponent's Feelings Monster before they guess their own. The mindful coloring book is one of your favorite activities. Now, you can zoom and pan using your fingers on a touchscreen or your mouse scroll wheel.

 

And finally, discovering your favorite brain breaks just got easier - you can simply star them for quick access in your favorites list.

Introducing new Brain Break activities.png

When: Available now

 

 

5. Teams Assignments LTI Preview (coming soon!)

Teams Assignments with Learning Accelerators integrated with your LMS
Connect Class Teams and add Teams Assignments right into your LMS assignments list where students can launch and complete them, and sync grades automatically back to the LMS.

 

Teams assignments LTI brings Reading Progress, Microsoft Forms, Whiteboard, OneNote Pages, and all of the new generative AI features of Teams Assignments to your LTI 1.3 compliant LMS!

 

Sign up now if you are interested in joining the Preview, coming soon: https://aka.ms/LMSPreview 

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When: Preview Coming Soon

 


6. Microsoft Forms Updates

Embed Forms and callouts into Stream videos
Now, you have the capability to insert a form or quiz directly into a Stream video. As the video plays to a specific moment, the form or quiz will appear to the students. Once they've completed the form or quiz, they can continue watching the video. This feature provides teachers with a new way to enhance engagement and assess comprehension in real-time.

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When: Available now

 

Forms Practice Mode
Forms now supports practice mode, enhancing students’ learning process by offering a new way to review, test, and reinforce their knowledge. In practice mode, students can learn at their own pace. Besides, they can get instant feedback after answering each question, try multiple times for the correct answer and recap questions after they finish the practice.

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When: Available now


Forms Present Live improvements
Forms live presentation function has been updated for a more immersive experience, offering a fresh design style, a new treemap format for checking responses, and the ability to display detailed open-text responses. Users can now toggle the display of the QR code and enter full-screen mode for focused viewing.

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When: Available now

 

Partner News: Alma SIS Classroom Data Sync for Microsoft Teams

Alma Delivers Seamless Classroom Data Sync for Microsoft Teams
Alma SIS now offers seamless integration with Microsoft Teams Assignments, streamlining data entry for teachers. With Alma's School Data Sync (SDS) integration, administrators can easily provision user accounts and roster teachers and students in Microsoft Teams. Now, every Alma teacher can effortlessly sync assignments, grades, and feedback entered in Microsoft Teams Assignments directly to their Alma gradebook. This eliminates the need for redundant data entry and ensures that students and parents have access to accurate and up-to-date information through the Alma student and parent portal, as well as on report cards and transcripts.


By leveraging the powerful education APIs available in Microsoft Graph, Alma syncs essential details such as assignment titles, instructions, due dates, grading categories, and point values on demand. Once assignments are graded and returned, teachers can sync the earned points and any feedback they've provided. Moreover, teachers have the flexibility to choose which grading categories' assignments they want to sync, ensuring that only the most relevant information is added to their gradebook.


This integration empowers both teachers and administrators to focus on individual student achievement with confidence, knowing that gradebooks and report cards will always be up to date for all students and classes. With Alma and Microsoft Teams Assignments working seamlessly together, educators can dedicate more time to supporting their students' success.


For more information visit the Alma News Blog

 

When: Available now

 

 

And finally, just to recap all the news we have for you this month, here’s a quick review of all the features that are generally available or are rolling out now:
1. AI-powered Reading Coach available for all classrooms and schools
2. AI and EDU

• Copilot for Microsoft 365 eligibility will be extended to HED students ages 18+
• Generate rubrics rolling out later this month
• Generate assignment instructions rolling out later this month
• Reading Passage generation rolling out later this month
• Comprehension question generation rolling out later this month

3. Teams for Education updates

• Reuse OneNote Class Notebook content and Teams Chanels in Classwork
• Copy Links to Classwork Modules
• Teams Assignments LTI Preview is coming soon! Sign up if you are interested in joining the preview today.

4. Learning Accelerator updates

• Search Progress/Coach - Tablet and student mobile support
• Search Progress/Coach - International institutional domain customization
• Search Progress/Coach – Citation support
• Search Progress/Coach - Customizing the Coach in Search Progress
• Math Progress private preview starts in late March
• Speaker Progress private preview starts in April
• Reflect - Enhance learner support with Emotion Clusters
• Reflect - Export check-in responses to Excel
• Reflect – New brain break activities

 

5. Microsoft Forms updates

• Embed Forms and callouts into Microsoft Stream
• Practice mode
• Present Live Improvements

6. Partner News: Alma SIS Classroom Data Sync for Microsoft Teams

 

Have any feedback to share with us? As always, we'd love to hear it!

We are always looking to improve the education experience in Teams, and our favorite way to do that is with your support and awesome ideas! If there is something you would like to see in Teams for Education, please let us know!

 

 

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‎Mar 07 2024 04:44 PM
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