Microsoft Announces New Teams Features for Education

Posted on June 15, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in Microsoft 365, Office 365 with 11 Comments

Microsoft today revealed that it is adding numerous new education features to Teams in anticipation of the coming school year.

“It’s more important than ever to help educators find ways to connect with students and keep them engaged, motivated, and safe in a digital world,” Microsoft general manager of Education Barbara Holzapfel writes. “New remote learning formats require new thinking to create compelling, engaging, and inclusive content. To ensure strong student engagement across different activities and maintain secure digital classrooms, educators are turning to a central hub of digital tools for remote learning. In fact, more than 150 million students, faculty, institutional leaders, and teachers have been actively using Microsoft Education products—with Teams for Education as that hub—to engage students in remote learning.”

With that in mind, Microsoft is announcing the following new features for Teams:

49 participants on-screen during a video call. Microsoft is expanding the Teams grid view to 7×7, which means you’ll be able to see up to 49 participants at once on a single screen.

Virtual Breakout Rooms. Educators will be able to create virtual Breakout Rooms in Teams so that students can meet and collaborate in small groups.

Participation features. Teams for education is picking up the Raise Your Hand feature so students can ask and answer questions during classes, and in addition to Attendance Reports and Class Insights, educators will gain access to a new trends view coming in time for fall.

Security and control over the classroom. Educators will get new meeting options in Teams that “prevent students from starting meetings unattended, let educators determine who can present in a meeting, and give educators the ability to create a Meeting Lobby to ensure only assigned students can join a meeting—adding to Microsoft’s approach to privacy and security, which supports more than 90 regulatory and industry standards, including the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) for the security of students and children.”

New custom background options. Students and educators will be able to customize their background images to personalize their own learning space.

Microsoft says that these features will be available by the end of the summer.

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