On May 2, 2017, Microsoft made several exciting announcements that were just plain incredible. Now that the dust is settling, interesting assertions about Microsoft Classroom are being made based on evidence not widely published or shared. What a perfect opportunity to shine some sunlight and see what we can see!
What’s the Change?
Amidst other incredible changes announced, Microsoft Classrooms (still in Preview mode for many districts) will now be merged into Microsoft Teams. Let’s read what Microsoft has to say on this:
The new classroom experiences in Teams will help teachers manage their daily workflow more easily than ever before. Using Teams, they can quickly and efficiently create classes with automatically populated student rosters from their school information system; share files and teaching materials; make announcements; divide the class into project groups and monitor progress; create, distribute and grade quizzes; deliver personalized learning with OneNote Class Notebooks; and distribute, collect and grade assignments.
And because Teams is a digital hub, students can work together anytime, anywhere, and on any device; teachers can connect with their peers and continue their own development in Professional Learning Communities (PLCs); and school administrators can communicate and collaborate with their entire staff…Teams gets even better with partners, and today, we’re announcing four new integrations from education tech leaders busuu, Canvas, Flipgrid and Kahoot!
Now that’s pretty exciting! But wait, let’s take a moment to think it through. This has implications for school districts that are currently using Microsoft Classroom or had planned on implementing it next year. Let’s review those implications:
- On July 31, 2017, support for Microsoft Classroom Preview will be discontinued.
- Microsoft Classroom Preview will continue with current functionality until July 31, 2017.
- Teachers will not be able to create notebooks or assignments after July 31, 2017.
- Current classes and associated content will continue to be available as Office 365 Groups.
That’s pretty incredible. Teachers who have created information-rich OneNote Class Notebooks will need to take action. Let’s review some ideas for that.
What Action Should Be Taken?
Classroom teachers should probably create a regular OneNote Notebook, then use OneNote 2016 to copy their instructional content from the Class Notebook(s) into the regular OneNote Notebook. This is solid practice because it gives you a OneNote you can copy content into Class Notebook. The same goes for any campus/district administrators using Class Notebook as their school policy handbook repository. On the back end, School Data Sync remains, so we can hope that few changes are needed.
What Should We Hope For?
With this change, we can hope for better integration between Office 365 and Teams, as well as new features. As I have mentioned before, I hope that MS Classroom/Teams will provide some features that TCEA members have long requested, such as an assignments list with grades in traditional gradebook view and improved integration with OneNote Class Notebook. It would also be great to see better OneDrive integration, Microsoft Forms quiz functionality, and grades integration. Educators have long wanted quiz grading results from Forms dropped into MS Teams/Classroom gradebook. Finally, let’s hope that this roll-out happens quickly and K-12 education users are not stuck in preview mode for another year.
Learn more about Microsoft Teams for Education online.