Welcome to our monthly update for Teams for Education and thank you so much for being part of our growing community! We’ve been working on some great new updates that we’re excited to share with you, so here’s what’s new this month. Enjoy!
Create and organize all your class resources in one place with Classwork!
We’re excited to announce that Classwork in Microsoft Teams for Education has officially arrived! Classwork is a one-stop-shop that will revolutionize the way educators create, organize, and group their class materials – including Assignments, Links, Class Notebook pages, files, and Teams channels. With Classwork, managing your curricula has never been smoother or more effortless. Students now hold the power to find what they need, precisely when they need it – without having to hunt through multiple tools any longer.
In Classwork, educators can create modules of study, to organize their course by topic or weeks. Educators can add content to their modules and easily arrange resources in the order they choose with seamless drag and drop. Modules are created in a draft state, putting the educator in control of when to share content with students. Educators can also pin the current module so that students can easily find the current topic and all related resources. In the future, Microsoft will also add the ability for educators to easily reuse Classwork content across Teams.
Classwork blog: Classwork in Teams for Education – Now Available
Classwork YouTube video by Mike Tholfsen: https://youtu.be/CyXpEDRemqQ
When: Available now!
Information literacy is becoming an increasingly essential skillset for people living in the digital age, and governments and organizations around the world are taking notice. In early January 2023, the state of New Jersey signed legislation “establishing the requirement of K-12 instruction on information literacy” as part of their state-wide Student Learning Standards. Finland had a head start – their nation-wide media literacy education program was rolled out back in 2016.
Microsoft has taken its own steps to support information literacy initiatives both locally and internationally. We’re excited to announce Search Coach and its Assignments counterpart, Search Progress, as a further contribution to these efforts.
As a tab app, Search Coach is an excellent tool for both in-class instruction and self-guided student practice. For projects, evaluation, and progress tracking over time, we’re thrilled to announce Search Progress, a powerful learning app that allows educators to build Search Coach into Teams Assignments. With Search Progress, educators can assign a research project to their students, who then use an augmented version of Search Coach to search for, collect, and annotate a desired number of sources.
Like “showing your work” in a math question, the justifications in a Search Progress assignment allow educators to gain visibility into a student’s thinking at each step of the process, including an in-depth reflection at the end. To further support evaluation, the final deliverable includes top-level metrics about the assignment, a search-by-search breakdown of the student’s search habits, and the queries that led to each source being saved.
When: Available August 21st (globally)
Reading Progress - Comprehension Questions
Our reading fluency app Reading Progress, launched in Microsoft Teams in fall of 2021. Reading Progress supports educators in increasing the frequency of reading fluency evaluations, helping them to differentiate more powerfully to support students on their fluency journey. The #1 request from educators and schools has been a desire to add reading comprehension questions for the student to complete after they read. Using Microsoft Forms technology, educators will now be able to assess not only students’ fluency, but also their understanding - right in Reading Progress. The auto-grading capabilities of Microsoft Forms Quizzes will also be included to streamline grading of multiple-choice questions.
A benefit of using Microsoft Forms technology is that the inclusive Immersive Reader is integrated directly into the student view of the questions.
When: Rollout happening now, should complete by August 15th
Reading Progress – Reading with Expression (prosody)
Reading fluency is composed of three pillars – speed, accuracy, and expression. The initial version of Reading Progress uses auto-detect to help track reading speed and accuracy, but historically an educator needs to listen to each student independently to gauge their expression.
With our Expression update, Reading Progress will automatically identify students’ performance on aspects of prosody including monotone reading, long pauses, not pausing for a period or comma, voice inflection for question marks or exclamation points, and even the stress of multi-syllable words. Student expression results will be available in the teacher review experience, alongside accuracy and correct words per minute.
When: Fully rolled out globally today – currently supports English, Spanish, French, and German.
Updated location for Reading Progress and Search Progress Learning Accelerators
As we continue to grow the number of learning accelerators that can be used in Teams, we are adding a new launch experience for them. This allows users to see what is already there (Reading Progress and Search Progress) and learn about new accelerators coming in the near future such as Math Progress and Speaker Progress.
When: Available with Search Progress
Support for multiple grading schemes in Assignments
We are releasing a new feature for Assignments and Grades that allows educators to use different grading schemes for grading inside Teams. Today in Assignments we support the ability to use points ( and rubrics) for your grades, but a lot schools don't use points or use different grading like Letter Based e.g. A, B, C or Fix points like 1, 1/2, 2, 2- etc, or grades like Exceed Standard, Meet Standard, Below Standards etc. We have now added the ability for you to add mappings to different schemes. These are defined in the Grade Settings.
Once configured you can use either points or the new scheme in your grading and reporting. The system is flexible to support most of your needs, even using emojis for your grading!
When: Rolling out in August
Quick Actions added to the Assignment list
Do you want to duplicate an assignment in a snap? Or share it with your students via a link? You can now do that and more with our new quick actions in the Assignment list. Just click on an assignment and choose from these options: Edit, Copy Link, Duplicate, Mark as Inactive, or Delete. With Duplicate, you can copy the assignment to another class. With Copy Link, you can get a direct link to the assignment and share it over Chat, Email, or any other platform you use to communicate with your students.
When: Available now
Updated Multi-Publish support for Assignments
Do you want to publish the assignments to multiple classes, but have hold off because you need different due dates and channels to publish to for each class? We have just added the ability for you to set individual due dates and channel per class that you publish to. So you can quickly do one more changes and publish to all of your class in one action. Saving time for you, means more time back to teaching.
When: Rolling out in August
Setting the Time for your Quiz in Assignments
We know that Timed Quiz is a popular feature for educators. Allowing you to limit the time the students have for the Quiz. We have now added the ability to configure and change the time directly inside assignments. This allows you to make any quiz a timed quiz without going into Forms to change settings.
Streamlined check-in creation
Based on your feedback, we've made improvements just in time for Back to School. Now, you can create more customized questions, starting with "how are you feeling." For example, you can ask your students about their progress in the class, their feelings before the final exam, or their feelings after speaking up in class. We've also included a gallery with useful question ideas to help you in getting started.
Additionally, we've introduced a new settings pane that offers more management options. You can choose whether to record the respondent's name or keep it anonymous, ensuring a safe and open space for your students to share their feelings.
When: Available now
Unleashing the power of Together View
We know how much you love the Together View in Reflect to gain valuable insights into where your students are excelling and identify areas that require attention. That's why we've made it the default view when you navigate to check-in results.
You can navigate to this view, hide names, project it to your classroom to host a conversation that supports them, and helps build empathy with a friendly data view of reported Feelings Monsters.
When needed, you can easily access the responses distribution view, open or close a check-in for responses, delete a check-in that is no longer relevant, or ask the same question again with a single click. All these options are accessible to you in the actions area, which is shown when you hover over each check-in in your check-ins list (or swiping left on mobile).
When: Available now
Teachers and students using Teams on mobile devices and tablets can now enjoy the improved grid layout which provides easy navigation for classes. Now all top-used EDU apps are a single click inside the class. Inside this view, classes are displayed as tiles which contain key details – class name, the teacher and number of notifications corresponding to each class. The class icons can be updated from class settings.
This new layout is available in mobile for Android and iOS. Tablets provide a great viewing experience via their extra screen space for smooth navigation between classes.
When: Rolling out in September
The Teams Parent App now enables teachers to send bulk announcements to all the parents for a class. Teachers can compose an announcement by navigating to Class -> Parent App -> Announcement tab. Once the announcement is written and ready to be sent, clicking on “Send” will broadcast it as a message to all the parents for the students in the class.
When: Rolling out in August
The Whiteboard canvas has undergone a visual refresh, surfacing key content creation tools such as notes, reactions, comments, text & shapes more prominently, empowering educators & students with higher ease of discovery & accessibility for expediting content creation. Moreover, the toolbar has been repositioned to the bottom of the screen, improving usability & affording more space to view & use the whiteboard, especially on smaller screen devices (such as tablets).
This change will hopefully stimulate flexible visual collaboration through Whiteboard in classrooms, allowing effortless expression of thoughts & ideas for both teachers & students alike!
We are excited to announce that we will soon be releasing a new calendar experience as part of Viva Connections for Education.
As a part of this release, “Teams Calendar” will be available for embedding as a Webpart in Viva Connections for Education and will provide a more focused view of the user’s schedule. Along with this, it will make collab actions like joining a meeting, chat, and RSVP quickly accessible for students. This webpart will change per the context of the meeting. For example: Students and Educators can RSVP to a meeting right from SharePoint or Teams, and collab actions like Join will be focused upon just before the meeting begins.
The Calendar loaded in the webpart will change according to the scenario, the personal calendar will be loaded in the individual/personal context, and the group calendar will be loaded for the class context. Below is a snapshot of the experience:
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. Introducing Classwork
2. Learning Accelerators – Search Progress general availability
3. Learning Accelerators - Reading Progress Updates
4. Updates in Assignments and Grades
5. New Updates in Reflect
6. Grid Layout for Teams on Mobile
7. Announcements inside the Teams’ Parent App
8. New Toolbar User Interface in Whiteboard
9. SharePoint Calendar Webpart added in Viva Connections for Education
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, or any overall comments and feedback, please let us know!
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