10 new features for going Back to School with Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Education gets to do something pretty incredible every day: work with educators across the world to create engaging classroom experiences. At the heart of our products is the brilliance that teachers and students always bring to the table.

So, for Back to School 2018, we’re returning some of that infectious learning energy with some very exciting updates in Microsoft Teams for Education. Thanks in huge part to the tireless work and feedback of teachers and students across the world, #MicrosoftEDU is thrilled to announce 10 fresh new features in Teams for the upcoming school year (and beyond 😉).

And don’t forget, teachers and students can get started with Teams for free as part of Office 365 Education.

 

1. Rubric grading now available

 

Introducing an all-new way to increase transparency in assessment:

Giving educators the tools to provide great feedback means everything to us. So, when it comes to rubric grading, we listened to how important it was to you – and made it happen. Rubric grading is now available to every educator! Built directly into Teams for Education, rubric grading helps increase assignment transparency for students and allows you to give more meaningful feedback.

These feedback mechanisms not only help students learn and improve their work, but they’re also a consistent and transparent way for teachers to grade. Now, inside of Teams, you can customize your grading criteria with your own rubric to enable skills-based grading of your assignments. 

 

2. Mobile Assignments experience

 

We know mobile is huge for our students and teachers, so we’ve made a meaningful update to our iOS and Android apps designed to save students and teachers time. You can now access all your assignments directly when you launch the app and see a simplified list of upcoming tasks across all your classes. Students can work on their assignments directly on their phones and turn in.

Teachers can also create new assignments right from our apps, so it doesn’t matter if you’re on the bus or working from home. You can always keep your students up-to-date and on-schedule.

 

3. Archiving teams

 

If you’ve been using Teams for a while, you probably have some older teams piling up from the previous school year that you’d like to get out of the way. Instead of deleting the team altogether, you can now archive the team (essentially placing it in a frozen read-only state). This way, you can go back and reference what you covered last year any time you want. Learn how.

 

4. Reuse assignments – again (and again and again)

 

We love hearing from teachers that create assignments for their classes every day. And we know teachers using Teams have been creating millions of assignments. In doing this, they are fully building out their learning activities with instructions, attachments, and customization to share with their students.

Well, wouldn’t it be great if you could reuse these assignments over and over (and over and over) again? It would, which is why we’re so excited to introduce the ability to reuse assignments from current or archived Class Teams.

 

5. All-new Flipgrid app

 

Microsoft Teams has caught a serious case of #FlipgridFever (and the only prescription is more Flipgrid).

Just a couple days ago our friends took the stage at #FlipgridLIVE and announced the latest and greatest new features to create the perfect space for your students to share their brilliance. Check out the colorful, powerful, and emoji-ful 😎 Grids + Topics! Plus: see how you can unleash creativity with the new Flipgrid Recorder + Player.

We are truly #BetterTogether with the Flipgrid community. All these new features are built directly into your class, staff or PLC teams – you just need to add the Flipgrid app. Since Flipgrid joined Microsoft Education, we’ve made Flipgrid completely free for every educator and student in the world! Try it out today.

 

6. New Class and Staff Notebook Tab App

 

To help save teachers more time when using OneNote Class and Staff Notebooks inside Microsoft Teams, we’re releasing a few key updates. Teachers will enjoy the new and improved Class and Staff Notebook settings directly inside Microsoft Teams – just select “Manage Notebooks” in the tab menu. Plus, we’ve improved the Class Notebook toolbar and added a new Staff Notebook toolbar, specifically for staff teams. In addition, page distribution is now fully supported in the Teams desktop app!

 

7. Cloud recording

 

From faculty meetings to online office hours, built-in video meetings in Teams make collaboration easy, powered by Microsoft Stream. Ever wanted to record that meeting or online lecture? Now you can provide one-click meeting recordings with automatic transcription and timecoding, which also displays captions and lets team members search within the conversation, and play back all or part of the meeting.

 

8. Dark Mode

 

It’s easy on the eyes, and dark to the core. Dark mode is a dramatic new look that helps you focus on your schoolwork. Choose what’s best for you: the familiar light appearance, the new dark mode, or even high-contrast mode.

 

9. Immersive Reader in Teams messages (coming soon)

 

Teachers have been blown away by the power Immersive Reader has in helping to build confidence for emerging readers and for those who struggle to read grade-level texts. We’re thrilled to be bringing the Immersive Reader experience to Teams! Once Immersive Reader is added in the next few weeks, you will be able to use it with any message in Teams.

 

10. Forms in Assignments

 

Assignments in Teams is about to get a new best friend: Microsoft Forms. Later this month, we’re launching the Assignments + Forms integration, giving you the power to seamlessly distribute assessments through your Assignments app – then use Forms reporting for auto-grading, feedback, and scores.

 

Extra credit: Email digest for guardians/parents (coming soon)

 

Soon, guardians will be able to stay up-to-date with their student’s progress. The new guardian email digest provides a quick look of the previous week’s assignment progress (detailing the missing or completed work), plus the upcoming week’s assignments.

Woohoo! The love for Teams continues. We have even more announcements coming this fall, so be sure to follow @MicrosoftTeams, @MicrosoftEDU, or reach out with questions to me directly @justinchando! 🚀

Get started with Teams today, free for students and teachers.