Microsoft Teams for teachers in 2021

Adoption of Microsoft Teams by commercial businesses has made headlines over the world, but the news about its take up by the education industry has been a little less explicit. This month, Teams reportedly hit the milestone of 100 million students – an increase of 30 million since September 2020.

While Teams was already gaining popularity in the education space, the pandemic has accelerated adoption. As teachers look to keep students engaged and on-track despite sudden shifts between classroom and virtual learning, they’re turning to software solutions for help.

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At times, however, it’s easy to forget that Microsoft Teams is a new tool for many, and teachers in particular are likely wondering how they can get the most out of one of this powerful collaboration platform.

Here are four tips within Teams to help keep students motivated and reduce stress for teachers:

1.     Make use of Microsoft Whiteboard

The unfortunate reality of the pandemic is that it has become harder to cater to students who learn visually. According to a 2020 YouGov survey, 40% of parents believe their child’s focus on studying is a challenge, and 36% say they’re struggling with motivation.

Using Microsoft Whiteboard in lessons breaks up the monotony some students face when listening to lectures or talks for long periods. You can easily create a blank space for students to brainstorm, collaborate, and express themselves visually. Teams’ interactivity isn’t limited to Whiteboard, either. Teachers can share PowerPoint presentations to get live text questions from students and answer them on the fly.

2.     Keep everyone included with accessibility features

As the UK transitions to remote learning, students who have difficulties, for example with vision and hearing, can feel left behind. With Microsoft Teams, however, teachers can ensure inclusivity in ways that are even more intuitive than in the classroom.

Teams can provide live captions in meetings for those hard of hearing. It also builds in the Immersive Reader to aid those with dyslexia and features in-built message translation for students for whom English isn’t their first language.

These tools can also help support students who are struggling with concentration. Captions can help engage students who have a noisy home environment, while Immersive Reader can help address focus issues for student struggling to focus.

3.     Cut out marking monotony with Teams Assignments and Grade Sync

86% of teachers say their workload has increased since the pandemic began. Having to repeatedly shift from in-classroom to remote learning has created curriculum changes that require more planning.

Teams Assignments and Grade Sync can help teachers claw back some of those lost hours. GradeSync automatically uploads marks to linked Student Information Systems to cut out time-consuming manual entry.

Even better, teachers can mark assignments on Teams and use the in-built rubric tool to form a grading criteria and share it with students. When students hand their assignment in, teachers can mark live in Teams using simple drop-down menus.

4.     Keep students on track with OneNote Class Notebooks

Whether learning remotely or in the classroom, OneNote Class Notebooks can help keep students on track and parents informed. The tool has been built directly into Teams to provide each student with a personal workspace. They can use it to quickly access notes their teachers posts, view handouts, and find lessons or collaborative spaces.

Teachers can embed apps and lesson content straight on a OneNote page to keep students engaged. Everything from a mind map to a TED Talk or Quiz can be accessed inside their Class Notebook.

The past year has been a challenging one for teachers and students alike, but it’s our hope that these tips will help teachers to get more out of Microsoft Teams. If you’d like advice on implementing Teams across your institution, get in touch with us today.

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