Tech giant Microsoft is making big strides with its Microsoft Teams application which has made remote learning a bit easier for students and teachers alike and now, it has finally rolled out a new cool update that will make work for educators much easier.
During this year’s BettFest conference, Microsoft had announced that it would be rolling out a new update to Teams that will make it easier for educators to manage their remote classes using the company’s collaboration software.
The update brings to life the new Class Insights tab in Teams, which will enable educators to gain more insights into how their students are performing in their classes. When one adds the Class Insights tab to their class team, they can see average grades, on-time assignments, average return time and conversation activity for their class over time.
This new feature will make remote learning much easier, given the fact that educators can now have access to more insights regarding their student’s performance and learning capabilities.
Apart from that, educators using Teams will also have a single view to observe both individual students and class performance easily. Using data from the Class Insights tab, teachers will be able to make more informed decisions about their curriculum, pacing and student engagement says Anthony Spadafora from Tech Radar.
Microsoft also recently added breakout rooms to Teams to allow teachers to easily divide students into separate groups to facilitate discussions, encourage participation and foster collaboration.
Aside from the Class Insights tab, educators will also be given the ability to protect their learners and ensure their well-being while working in Teams. This is all thanks to Gaggle Safety Management which uses machine learning to analyze and block potentially harmful content, determine the severity and escalate urgent cases to school authorities and law enforcement.
According to Tech Radar, Gaggle currently protects 4.5m US students and last year the service was used to deescalate over 80,000 cases of self-harm and school violence. While Gaggle products are currently available in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneDrive and Outlook, Safety Management will be coming to Teams in early access next month.
Microsoft Teams update to make remote learning better and much easier
Microsoft has also created learning material for teachers in order to help them use Teams effectively while teaching remotely through their new Learning Path for educators called Master Microsoft Teams for Remote Learning. The online course consists of five one-hour training courses each with their own resources, teacher training packs and a quiz.
Given the extensive features, and with more on the way, this is something that Uganda’s education sector could take advantage of to ensure that students continue learning since many schools are still closed due to the current Covid-19 pandemic.
The Ministry of Education can launch a campaign and a decisive strategy that will see all schools and educators take on Teams as their next remote learning platform for students across Uganda. However, this may be met with a lot of challenges given the technological divide within the country, the lack of access to the internet in certain regions, and not forgetting that not every student or family can afford to buy a computer or other gadgets needed to implement the idea.
There is also still the issue of the cost of internet in Uganda which is still regarded as expensive for most and also that, the industry still faces a number of hurdles in terms of infrastructure and policies which have made it difficult for web technologies to advance faster as needed like in other regions.
Although Teams made its debut as a communications platform for the enterprise, Microsoft has made a number of additions to the platform so that it can also be used by teachers in their distance learning programs.
It would be wonderful to see Uganda follow suit, and take on such amazing platforms as a choice for educating learners across the nation.
Author: Allan Bangirana
Allan Bangirana has a taste for all kinds of topics and usually writes about tech, entertainment, sports and community projects that make a difference in society.