Recently, I attended a seminar for parents at our high school on how to use their Student Information software, eager to absorb as much information as possible to help my incoming freshman be as successful as he can be at high school in the midst of a global pandemic.
The truth of the matter is this year will be marked by new challenges for everyone in the academic community. My Facebook feed and news apps are full of information about how different schools are approaching the coming school year, reactions to those announcements have already begun, and parents are debating the merits of how schools should handle educating their children in the fall.
The emphasis in the previous year was on providing creative solutions on how to mimic the traditional classroom environment while for the coming year, schools are looking to expand beyond just mimicry and really develop robust virtual learning experiences that benefit students and teachers.
Enhancing Distance Learning for Students and Teachers
Many local schools have developed three models that might be used throughout the year, depending on how the coronavirus numbers trend. Right now, my son’s high school is planning to start with a hybrid model, but they have both a full in-school model and a fully remote model ready to go in case things change. Utilizing the right set of technologies that ensure student success is an important piece in both hybrid and fully remote models.
To help accomplish this goal, a lot of schools have started using Microsoft Teams for Education as their remote learning tool. Teams provides a lot of resources to help teachers keep students interested and engaged with 7×7 team chats that include the option for breakout sessions, so students can collaborate on small group projects or raise their hands to ask questions. To make things easier for teachers, the application even supplies attendance reports and class insights.
There is a lot of talk about Teams and the continued development of OneNote Class Notebook, which is embedded within Teams as a vehicle for teachers to distribute assignments and materials to students. OneNote Class Notebook can also become a digital portfolio for students, and teachers can even create recorded and live sessions for their classes. They can also use it to schedule dedicated homework help hours.
Microsoft in Education has presented a variety of resources for educators to leverage as we head toward what is sure to be a unique school year. Teachers and administrators can make use of Microsoft Education Webinars and gain insights from schools around the world who were able to really take ownership of their remote learning experiences and thrive in that environment. They’ll also have access to many other exciting training options, such as Developing Future Ready Skills, accessibility, STEM in a hybrid-environment. As we head into the fall, there must also be a lot of emphasis on campus IT security and how to keep our kids and their information safe online.
Microsoft has a team of Microsoft Innovative Educators available to help train and advise educators and administrators who want an experienced perspective on how to tailor learning experiences to fit their schools and districts and set the year up for success. Microsoft Innovative Educators can suggest best practices and practical tips, offer one-to-one training, and help schools integrate new technology and develop remote learning solutions.
Related: Meet Our Microsoft Trainers
How Connection Can Help
As a member of the Microsoft Global Training Partner program, Connection offers Microsoft professional development courses led by our own certified Microsoft Innovative Educators trainers. Our trainers can teach you how to integrate Teams with other Microsoft tools, such as Microsoft OneNote, Microsoft Forms, and Microsoft Sway for a more collaborative classroom experience. They also provide courses on Remote Learning, Inclusive Classroom, and Accessibility tools. To find out more, check out our Microsoft Professional Development offerings.