Microsoft has highlighted some of the new features of Office 365 Education, including Microsoft Classroom, School Data Sync, Microsoft Forms, OneNote ink and Learning Tools.
“Every minute an educator spends on administrative tasks is a minute they aren’t able to spend time with their students,” explains Tony Prophet, Microsoft’s corporate vice president of Education Marketing in a new blog post. “Microsoft Classroom is designed to be a single experience in Office 365 Education for managing all class and assignment workflows for teachers and students.
With Microsoft Classroom, teachers can use the Office documents and class materials they already have – or create new ones using familiar Office applications. “With this one-stop destination, educators get back precious instructional time so they can focus on what they’re truly passionate about – transforming the lives of students,” Prophet explains.
“School IT administrators have similar challenges. Keeping up with their connected campuses often takes time away from more strategic work. School Data Sync helps IT administrators connect existing school systems to Office 365 – enabling single sign on for teachers and students while automating Microsoft Classroom set up.
“Developing assessments like quizzes and surveys takes time, and often involves a trip to the copy machine. With Microsoft Forms, now generally available worldwide in Office 365 Education, teachers and students can create custom surveys, quizzes, questionnaires, registrations and more. As educators move to more personalized teaching, Microsoft Forms is a powerful way for teachers to customise their lessons, leveraging individualised instruction and responses, question branching, and image support.”
Most technology in the classroom relies on keyboard inputs, but research has shown that digital ink can increase the quality of instruction, save teachers time and improve scores among students solving science or math problems. OneNote has supported digital ink (or handwriting with stylus, finger or mouse) for over 10 years on Windows PC. It’s also available on Mac, iOS, and Android devices. “Today, we are announcing that OneNote ink now includes new features exclusive to Windows 10, like ink effects and ink math assistant, that not only support student creativity by letting students shade, sketch, draft, save and share ideas with their favourite rainbow colours (a student’s request), it recognides math equations,” Prophet says.
Prophet believes that this sets the stage for a revolution in maths instruction, allowing students to show their thought process, and teachers to identify gaps in understanding. Learning Tools support readers and writers of all levels
Educators strive to support learners at all levels, and classrooms are often comprised of students with a wide range of capabilities. Learning Tools for OneNote, now available in many new languages, helps everyone improve their reading and writing skills, including gifted learners, students with learning differences or a combination of any of the broad range of unique student abilities.
“We have seen overwhelmingly positive reactions from students, teachers and others from around the world,” Prophet says. “Many have shared stories of their students’ successes, such as dramatically increased reading speeds.”
Office 365 Education is free for students and teachers.
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