Over the past few months, we’ve seen a host of new features from Microsoft enhancing online learning for students around the world.

In an update detailing the features added in September, Microsoft explained how it was trying to improve Teams’ performance as a large proportion of the workforce continue to work from home.

Microsoft says it’s working to ensure businesses and schools “have a high-performance experience that scales across their devices and levels of internet connectivity.”

Hybrid Learning through Microsoft Teams

Nearly three-quarters of primary and secondary school teachers surveyed online in the UK predict that pupils will still need to use digital tools to learn from home despite schools re-opening last month.

An online survey from Microsoft and YouGov found that 88% of teachers surveyed believe the pandemic has accelerated “hybrid learning” – where youngsters learn at home and in the classroom – and 74% believe online and digital learning platforms are critical to primary and secondary education moving forward.

“Platforms such as Microsoft Teams play a core part in our strategy because they can make our teachers’ lives easier and enrich learning for our students. Time-saving opportunities via automated tasks can reduce administration for teachers and enable them to focus on the core of what they do – teaching. As a global schools group, we now find peer-to-peer collaboration and sharing of best practice much easier, which helps us to keep innovating the education we provide.”

Andy Perryer, Digital Learning Adviser at Cognita Schools

Microsoft Teams new features

Changes to meeting rooms now mean that users can transport their team to a variety of settings, create custom layouts, split up meetings into breakout rooms and recap on their calls to name a few.

Users can also see reminders of upcoming and current meetings, and do things quickly, like join a meeting, or play a voicemail.

Finally, Microsoft also announced the arrival of a dedicated Teams button on various new phone devices, where users press the Teams button to immediately access the home screen. This permits users to access a complete view of their voicemails, notifications, schedules, and contacts quickly and easily.

At Ignite in September Microsoft announced many more features you can see here.

The Future

With online learning already becoming the new normal, we should expect a hybrid learning future. Microsoft Teams enables users to collaborate and communicate whenever and wherever with ease. It gives places of education the option to transfer to online learning if they need to.

“Before the Coronavirus pandemic, almost all teaching was on-campus. We are now using Teams to bring classes together, or even entire year groups of 150 students. They are also using Teams to discuss subjects with teachers and their assistants. Students in all year groups can also use Imperial’s virtual common room at any time of day to chat or hold video calls with each other, as well as get help and support. The students like Teams.”

Adrian Mannall, Microsoft Relationship Manager at Imperial

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