Announcing six features to enhance inclusion and collaboration in Microsoft Whiteboard for education

Student engagement is key to helping students develop and learn, while also maintaining that ever important classroom management. When used effectively, technology can enable great collaborative learning opportunities. However, we (the team behind Microsoft Whiteboard), are aware that using technology can sometimes pose challenges in classroom management. Today, we’re excited to announce six new features in Microsoft Whiteboard for Education designed to promote effective, focused collaboration for all students – and also add a little bit more fun.

 

Microsoft Whiteboard is an app that lets you and your students draw, add notes and charts, write, type, and work together on a freeform digital canvas. Collaborate wherever, whenever, and save different boards for all your different lessons and projects.

 

Reactions give students and teachers the ability to quickly “thumbs-up” stickies, images, and text on the Whiteboard from their Windows 10 or iOS device. They provide a low-stakes way for students to express opinions and participate, and they’re also great for taking quick votes and promoting peer feedback.

 

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Send to Teams encourages students and teachers to continue the conversation beyond the class period by allowing individual users to share boards they’ve created to a channel within Microsoft Teams. Sharing a board keeps it viewable and open to collaboration, providing students with a touchpoint for reviewing, catching up on missed discussions, and continuing to iterate and expand on the lesson.

 

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Emerging literacy, learning a second language, and learning differences like dyslexia or ADHD can sometimes present challenges in following what’s being written on a classroom whiteboard – physical or digital. That’s why we’re bringing Immersive Reader into Microsoft Whiteboard. Immersive Reader provides a set of tools like focus mode, parts of speech identification, and a Picture Dictionary to help students better decode text on the whiteboard – and ultimately improve their reading comprehension in general. 

 

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Sometimes it can be tough to know where to focus on an infinite canvas – and that’s especially true for students with low vision. Follow-along (preview) helps direct students’ view by automatically following and zooming in on one user’s contributions to the board. For example, a student with low vision could use follow-along to keep the Whiteboard zoomed to wherever their teacher is working on the board, and thus stay focused on the most relevant content.

 

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At other times, the barrier to students focusing is, well – other students! As great as interactive lessons on a shared whiteboard can be for student engagement, sometimes students will choose to engage in inappropriate ways, and that can take the lesson off-course. Read-only mode helps reduce this problem by allowing teachers to “mute” particular individuals, reducing distraction without embarrassing the student or interrupting the flow of a lesson.

 

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Finally, to celebrate the partnership between NASA and the Education Workshop team, we’ve added two space-themed EDU sticker packs. Add fun and far-out friendship with Classroom Pets in Space or visualize the universe in class with our new Orbiting Planets sticker pack collections. Best of all, these new packs and all the Whiteboard stickers will soon be available on both iOS and Windows 10!

 

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Download Whiteboard for Education on Windows 10 and iPad today. Reactions and space-themed stickers are now available.[*] Send to Teams, Immersive Reader, Follow-along, and Read-only mode will be rolling out soon to Windows 10 and iOS. To learn more, provide feedback, or be inspired by others using Whiteboard, join our Whiteboard for Education Facebook group.

 

 

 

*Reactions is available for both Windows 10 and iOS. Space sticker packs are available for Windows 10 and coming soon to iOS.

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