Tag Archives: education

New report shows how teachers use Microsoft Forms to drive improvement in learning outcomes |

Microsoft Education has undertaken a new study with researchers at Digital Promise to investigate how teachers around the world are using Microsoft Forms to drive learning. Providing feedback to students on their learning progress is one of the most powerful pedagogical approaches and education research has repeatedly shown that formative feedback has a tremendous impact on learning outcomes.

In this study, we found that teachers use Microsoft Forms not only for formative assessment, but for many other pedagogical activities. Teachers value the ease of use and clear reporting of Microsoft Forms.

“I actually say to teachers, ‘I think Forms is the most underrated piece of software in the suite because of the time that it saves you in terms of data-driven outcomes and the data collection that goes on with schools now.’”  

– Instructional Technology Coach

We are delighted to share this new report, which highlights the variety of creative ways teachers are using Forms.

Teachers are using Microsoft Forms in pedagogically substantive ways to improve student outcomes:

  • Formative Assessment
  • Differentiating Instruction
  • Peer Collaboration (students creating their own Forms in groups)
  • Social and Emotional Learning (see this teacher’s video on how she leverages Forms for SEL)
  • Increasing Student Engagement

Teachers also used Microsoft Forms for professional learning and to increase their efficiency with administrative and routine teaching tasks, such as:

  • Communicating with Parents
  • Professional Development through Reflective Practice
  • Increasing Teaching Efficiency by incorporating lunch choices, applications, and locker assignments into Forms

We also explored some of the best practices school and education-system leaders are using to grow adoption and use of Microsoft Forms. Some implementation strategies to get teachers to use Forms:

  • The most essential strategy is simply making teachers aware that Microsoft Forms is available and how it can be used. Follow the Quick Start guide to try out Microsoft Forms.
  • Training on how to use Forms is the second step and most coaches believed this training should be undertaken on its own (not as part of training on other apps). Check out Microsoft’s own training course, Microsoft Forms: Creating Authentic Assessments.

Coaches used the following strategies:

  • Using a Form with teachers directly to show its simplicity of use and to get them familiar with the tool
  • Understanding their teacher audiences and designing training for those audiences (e.g. ‘savvy explorer’ or ‘cautious adopter’)
  • Describing the time-saving element of Microsoft Forms use, especially enabling teachers to give students instant feedback; and how Microsoft Forms enables data-driven approaches to pedagogy with the immediate capture of data to Microsoft Excel.

Forms is an ideal tool for helping teachers incorporate more data-driven approaches to understanding what is working in their teaching practices, because it makes the collection (and much of the analysis) of student-learning data automatic. Results from a mood survey, a math quiz, or an exit ticket Form, are instantly available to both students and teachers. Such data helps teachers to build stronger learning relationships with their students, because they know where each student is at in their learning progress.

“There was that magical moment when getting the data happened. Oh my gosh, we’re getting this data in Forms in real time and that was unheard of before. Now within a matter of minutes I know where my students stand on the concepts that we’re going to cover that day.”

– 3rd Grade Teacher

Getting Started with Microsoft Forms

Microsoft Forms is an online quiz and survey application included with Microsoft Office 365. Forms was designed using direct feedback from educators looking for a simple way to formatively assess student learning and monitor learning progress on an ongoing basis.

Forms is part of the Office 365 suite of tools. If your school already has Office 365, you can log in at www.office.com and begin using Forms as one of the many apps included in the suite. Teachers and students can also Download Office 365 for free using a valid school email address. The resources below will help you get started on your journey to using Microsoft Forms.

StorageCraft backup and object storage packaged for schools

StorageCraft is going to school.

The backup vendor has identified education as a prime market for the integration of StorageCraft backup and recovery software with the object storage it acquired from Exablox in 2017.

The vendor is bundling data protection with object storage in an entry-level package, called StorageCraft for Education. Like other vertical markets, schools today find their storage capacity stressed, as more information goes digital.

The package consists of two StorageCraft OneBlox appliances and StorageCraft backup software. One appliance can reside off premises, with replication between the two boxes.

Pricing starts at less than $38,000 for StorageCraft OneBlox 4312 appliances with 96 TB of raw storage capacity. The education bundle is also available on OneBlox 5210 appliances with 38 TB of raw all-flash capacity. The appliances include StorageCraft OneSystem software for managing and monitoring storage across sites.

StorageCraft ShadowProtect software handles the backup and remote replication for data stored on the OneBlox appliances.

The goal is to provide the basic components necessary for creating on-premises primary storage for a large amount of data, along with an off-site backup to protect it. StorageCraft backup also provides scalability. And the storage offers large capacity, while keeping costs down, as schools often lack the IT budgets of enterprises.

“Most of the learning within the educational system is rapidly transitioning from more of a textbook-based approach to a rich-media-based learning approach,” said Shridar Subramanian, vice president of marketing and product management at StorageCraft, based in Draper, Utah. “At higher education, rich media is being generated for research projects, as well.”

Subramanian succinctly summed up the problem: “Where do you store all of that?”

Most of the learning within the educational system is rapidly transitioning from more of a textbook-based approach to a rich-media-based learning approach. … Where do you store all of that?
Shridar Subramanianvice president of marketing and product management, StorageCraft

Many turn to the cloud for storing “all of that,” but Subramanian said the costs of retrieving data from cloud-based storage are up to 50% higher than owning StorageCraft appliances over a three-year period. Restoring a backup from the cloud versus an off-site appliance could also take longer.

Lee Berkowitz, IT and network manager at MIT’s Plasma Science and Fusion Center, chose StorageCraft backup and storage after looking at products from Promise Technology, QNAP and RAID Inc.

“StorageCraft used object storage, was easily and rapidly expandable, and required no rebuilds in case of drive failure,” Berkowitz wrote in an email. “The additional fact that the units offered deduplication was a great bonus. We did have an instance when one of our units needed replacement from StorageCraft. In that case, the new unit was activated, with no loss of data or downtime.”

The education bundles are part of StorageCraft’s strategy to integrate its data management and backup software with Exablox’s object storage hardware.

“Our vision is to go after the midsize enterprise segment, as well as the SMB market space, and provide them with an integrated solution that not only manages all their data, but also protects it,” Subramanian said. “Thereby, customers don’t have to worry about stitching together different pieces of infrastructure or applications.”

Shin’s story: Using technology to break down the barriers of disability in Japan – Asia News Center

Shin’s journey hasn’t been an easy one, but thanks to his parents lobbying a local education board – which once suggested Shin go to a special needs school – he has always been studying at regular schools.

Since elementary school, he studied with the help of computer software, such as Microsoft Word and OneNote. He uses a small, special mouse to draw graphs.

“By using Windows’ on-screen keyboard and moving the mouse, I can use my PC for study and communicating with my friends,” he explained.

Since 2013, Microsoft has assisted his learning, including preparation for the tough university entrance exam, by providing IT tools, such as the on-screen keyboard and a cursor control system that uses eye movements.

Shin is now trialing a new eye tracking software that enables him to move the mouse cursor with his eyes

“I have faced lots of challenges like everyone else, but we often need help too,” Shin said. “I’m currently trialing the new eye tracking software that enables me to move the mouse cursor with my eyes. This is one more example of how technology will help people like me work more efficiently.”

“My dream is that one day these kinds of functions will not be listed under accessibility but will be an integral part of how we all work to make a better future,” he added.

In 2016, Shin successfully passed the entrance exam for Tokyo University after spending a year at a preparatory school together with other students who aimed to enter the country’s competitive universities.

Now as a university student, Shin continues to study on his electric stretcher with assistance and support from helpers and the school. Since April this year, he lives on his own with assistance when he needs to move.

The entrance exam for Tokyo University is one of Japan’s most competitive assessments. Before the exams, Shin submitted a request to the exam authority, the National Center for University Entrance Examinations, notifying them that his physical condition required more attention.

During the exam, Shin sat in a separate room with more time to take the paper, and was assigned an assistant to write down his answers. Shin was also allowed to use a computer, especially when an answer required a graph.

Shin’s favorite quote by Friedrich Nietzsche, the philosopher he admires, is “Man is something that shall be overcome.” The feisty student is often led by these words when reflecting his own physical disability.

Shin, now 21, studies Western Philosophy at Tokyo University

“I believe that we need a new inclusive philosophical framework because technology is now empowering people to become independent beyond any physical barriers,” he says.

Learning from those with disabilities to improve their opportunities

One of those working with people with disabilities, such as Shin, is Microsoft Japan employee Tomoko Ohshima.

Gathering their comments, requests and feedback, she passes those to the tech giant’s developers to create tools to help people with disabilities.

Ohshima was encouraged to take on this project by Microsoft Japan some ten years ago, inspired by her interactions with a colleague, a programmer who is blind. “Technology is so helpful for people!” she says.

Meanwhile, Japan’s entrance exam system is also improving to accommodate students with various disabilities. A consensus has been established to allow students with disabilities to use tools approved by the authorities, such as computers, and to extend the test time depending on each student’s condition. Ohshima’s commitment of the last ten years coincides with this improvement, and has allowed her to witness the transition.

Challenges still remain for students with disabilities. For example, having a computer read out exam questions is rarely permitted in Japan. Instead, a reader is assigned to read the questions aloud for the examinee. This does not always work well for the students –– some students might want to read important parts more slowly, and others might want to have questions read out repeatedly to better understand them.

One of the reasons computer reading has not been approved is because examiners need to create extra exam papers by digitalizing them. This may be avoidable with optical character recognition (OCR).

“We are willing to provide any useful help and technology to create a society in which anyone can have the opportunity to take the entrance exams and be judged fairly regardless of one’s physical condition,” says Ohshima.

To read more about Microsoft Philanthropies’ work to build future ready generations in Asia, click here.

Announcing new lesson plans and Minecraft: Education Edition update to spark interest in STEM |

This week, the Microsoft Education team is in the Windy City showing off some exciting new technology and curricula to support STEM learning at the annual ISTE conference.

In today’s job market, 50 percent of jobs require technology skills, and in the next 10 years, these types of jobs will outpace non-technology jobs by nearly two to one. It’s more important than ever to help students understand and appreciate STEM fields, to prepare them for the future workplace and to be digital citizens in a rapidly changing world.

Technology can empower educators to deliver inspiring lessons, personalize instruction and build creativity and critical thinking skills, which is why we’re so excited to bring STEM to life with these new tools and programs!

1. Bring the mystery of the oceans to your classroom with new STEM lesson plans

In partnership with BBC Learning, we’re thrilled to announce a new collection of teacher-written, inquiry-based lesson plans to compliment the BBC Earth and OCEANX film, Oceans: Our Blue Planet.

These interdisciplinary experiences engage students in answering four big questions: how ocean currents form, how sharks swim, how deep the ocean is, and how to craft coral reefs.

How do sharks swim?

Learn about the 3D coordinate system by working with physical and digital shark models to   understand yaw, pitch, and roll in order to survey a marine environment.

How deep is the ocean?

Students explore remote terrains by modeling and graphing the ocean floors with an ultrasonic sensor to visualize organisms that live in different ocean layers.

How are ocean currents formed?

Students discover how salinity and temperature impact ocean currents by conducting experiments, building electrical conductivity sensors, and analyzing global data.

How to craft coral reefs

Through the power of Minecraft: Education Edition, take your classroom underwater to discover the different types of reefs and what can be done to save them.

Students start by taking on the roles of biological oceanographers and marine geologists, biologists, and physicists. Then, working through the content, they are challenged to write code, build sensors, analyze data, and create in 3D and mixed reality. These hands-on explorations are ISTE and NGSS standards aligned and include reflection, documentation, and assessment activities that are supported by a rich archive of stills and clips made possible by BBC Learning from BBC Studios. What’s more, they can all be done for less than a few dollars with everyday objects.

Check out these great new STEM lesson plans to build future ready skills in your classroom today and show students how to:

Write code

  • Craft coral reefs and explore shipwrecks in Minecraft: Education Edition using MakeCode scripting
  • Write sensor programs with Data Streamer Connect
  • Flash code for both Arduino and Micro:bit microcontrollers

Build sensors

  • Construct an electroconductivity sensor to measure conductivity of ocean water
  • Assemble an ultrasonic sensor to map the ocean floor
  • Engineer a joystick to navigate a robotic shark through a virtual marine environment

Analyze data

  • Stream real-time data from your sensors into Excel with Data Streamer
  • Work with global oceanic climate, temperature and salinity big data sets
  • Compare the world’s mountain heights to the depths of the ocean floor trenches

Work in 3D

  • Model the five ocean zones in Paint 3D and populate them with marine organisms
  • Animate a shark model in PowerPoint to understand yaw, pitch and roll
  • Use a 3D model of the world to understand how ocean currents circulate around the globe

Review and reflect:

  • Check understanding of mathematical and scientific concepts with interactive visualizations in Excel
  • Use photo and videos to create lab notebooks, student journals, and presentations

Teachers can also take their students on an underwater global odyssey in Oceans: Our Blue Planet, a BBC Earth and OCEANX film that reveals extraordinary discoveries and untold stories of the oceans’ most astonishing creatures. ISTE attendees can join us next week for a free viewing of the BBC Earth and OCEANX film, Oceans: Our Blue Planet, and see how it brings this STEM experience to life.

2. Minecraft: Education Edition adds Update Aquatic


Minecraft: Education Edition continues to grow with 35 million K-12 teachers and students in 115 countries around the world now licensed to use the game to transform the way they teach and learn. Teachers are using Minecraft to teach every subject imaginable and encouraging student collaboration, creativity and digital citizenship. This week, we’re sharing a cool glimpse of new worlds coming to Minecraft: Education Edition.

ISTE attendees this week will get to experience the Update Aquatic for Minecraft: Education Edition, a new set of game features and underwater worlds available for free to all Minecraft: Education Edition users. Students can use coding to build coral reefs, explore shipwrecks and underwater monuments, learn about sustainable fishing, and rescue dolphins. Educators are invited to use the free lessons provided with the update, which will be demoed at ISTE in the Microsoft Education booth by the Minecraft team and members of the Minecraft Global Mentor program.

Learn more about the Update Aquatic on the Minecraft Education blog.

3. Apply now for a Limitless Libraries grant to enrich the learning experience at your public or school library with mixed reality headsets

Microsoft is excited to announce Limitless Libraries, a new Mixed Reality grant program designed to help foster Mixed Reality adoption in education. The fund is open for applications starting today with the first recipients selected at the end of the summer. Sign up today!

Libraries – both in schools and in the community – have long been a place where students immerse themselves in the learning experience and ignite their creativity, envisioning their favorite stories come to life. With the expansion of digital technology like mixed reality headsets, we see a new world of possibility to transform learning efficiency, retention, and student engagement​.

The grant provides libraries with all the resources for getting a Mixed Reality program up and running, including:

      • Two Windows Mixed Reality headsets and two computers to operate them
      • Technical training of staff and administration
      • Assistance with marketing resources and program scheduling
      • Email support to answer any questions going forward
      • Access to other grantees
      • Updates about new content rollouts

Middle schools and High schools (grades 6-12) can apply, as can public libraries. Grant applicants whose programs provide exposure and increased knowledge in STEM, and where a high percentage of participating youth are considered underserved as defined in the local context, will be given priority.

Apply now and contact [email protected] with any questions.

If you’re headed to ISTE, please stop by to say hello and learn more about these new tools and lesson plans and the rest of our exciting ISTE demos, which you can read more about here.

*Open only to libraries in grades 6-12 in the US, and public libraries in the US. Applications close Monday, July 9, 2018. For details, see the official rules.

Microsoft Teams for Education celebrates 1st anniversary and advances vision for the future of collaborative learning |

June marks the one-year anniversary of Microsoft Teams in Office 365 Education. In this first year, educators around the world have been using Teams to further classroom engagement, strengthen professional learning communities, and streamline staff communication.

We’d like to thank everybody who has provided feedback on the Teams experience. Your input has been instrumental as we build Teams to reflect collaboration needs in the classroom and the diversity of the teaching experience.

Now let’s hear some of the stories that made Teams what it is today.

Hear it from our educators

The power of the Teams for Education experience is best told by educators themselves. Their stories illuminate how Teams is helping to transform the learning experience at schools, universities, and learning institutions around the world.

University of New South Wales (UNSW) uses Teams to increase student engagement

Dr. David Kellermann, a lecturer in the School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, teaches a class with hundreds of students, including several who participate via webcast. With the intention of creating an inclusive learning experience that would encourage students to collaborate with each other across the class, he sought a solution to this communication hurdle.

Dr. Kellermann’s class made the move to adopt Microsoft Teams. Beyond simply improving the communication experience for web students, the fluid, interactive nature of Teams also created an inclusive and engaging learning environment. After a year of using Teams, Dr. Kellermann found that 100 percent of his students, “felt part of the learning community.”

Jim Yanuzzelli – teacher from Old Bridge, New Jersey

After starting a pilot program with Teams in his social studies classroom, Mr. Yanuzzelli has witnessed his entire classroom shift from a “teacher-centered focus” to a “student-centered focus” — giving him more time to devote to teaching (with less time spent organizing lessons).

“Teams Assignments is a great starting point to develop a digital classroom with Microsoft. Curation of material in a single place for teaching and learning will also allow for a smooth transition into learning the other features of Office 365 Education.”

With content, conversations, and assignments all in one hub, students sign into Teams, respond to the “do now,” and begin collaborating and connecting with each other right away.

Mr. Yanuzzelli further leverages Teams by using popular education apps like Quizlet directly in Teams to create social studies reviews. He can then place them directly in the class team chat, making it easy for students to access and use.

“Teams is the 21st century classroom tool that is transforming my classroom. It allows for student centered lessons that engage and empower students. It gives students the ability to have choices in their learning and a voice in delivery.

Read more about how Mr. Yanuzzelli transformed his classroom using Teams

Today, due in no small part to feedback like this, we’re excited to announce new experiences in Teams to help you further collaborative learning in the classroom.

Introducing rubric grading in Teams

Many of you have shared that you want the ability to create, store, and apply rubrics to assignments to make it easier for your students to get 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. So now, inside of Teams, we’re enabling rubric criteria and skills-based grading of your assignments.

  • Students will also be able to see how they’ll be assessed upfront, before they start working on the assignment.
  • Teachers can save a lot of time with a grading tool that’s easily applied to multiple assignments at once.

In February, we announced that Chalkup joined Microsoft. The new rubric grading features are a first step in our efforts to bring the best of Chalkup to Teams, and we’re excited to welcome Chalkup teachers and students to Microsoft Education.

Microsoft Forms and Assignments in Teams: better together

Teams now makes it easy for educators to distribute a quiz or survey powered by Microsoft Forms. In Assignments, you will soon be able to add a Form to a new assignment for your students to fill out and return. Additionally, you’ll be able to see and leverage features of Forms reporting functionality, like auto-grading, feedback, and scores, directly in the Assignments grade book. From here, you can also keep track of scores across many Forms-powered quizzes through Assignments in Teams.

Additional new features in Teams:

  • Page locking in OneNote assignments – For teachers creating OneNote assignments, the pages of the student will now automatically “lock” as read only when the due date/time passes. The teacher can still edit and annotate these OneNote assignment pages with feedback.
  • Mute all students: There’s a time for conversation, and there’s a time for focus. You can now pause students from posting in the conversation tab.
  • Join codes: Create a simple code for members to join your Class, PLC, or Staff team. This makes it easy for many people to join your team all at once. Display the code in ‘projector mode’ so that everyone in the classroom can see it and join the team.
  • Reusing a team as a template: Teachers can reuse an existing team as a template when creating a new team, then customize what they want to copy over: channels, team setting, apps, and even users.
  • Archive teams: Safely store your Class, PLC, or Staff team content in read-only mode. Easily reference archived teams while you are setting up your Teams experience for the next school year.

Available now: Mute all students and reusing a team as a template are available worldwide today. 

Coming soon: Rubrics grading, Forms in Assignments, archive teams, join codes, and page locking in OneNote assignments will begin rolling out to worldwide production in the coming weeks.

Get the most out of Teams with free teacher training materials

With a dedicated group of teachers to lead us, we created teacher- and classroom-ready training packages for Teams. Aiming to support the hard work that educators already bring to the classroom, we designed our Teams training to fill in the gaps: providing both comprehensive teacher training and real classroom applications.

Access the Teams training packs here.

Teams at ISTE

Microsoft Education will be at ISTE June 24th-27 in Chicago, and we’re incredibly excited to showcase these new experiences and more! If you’re attending ISTE, come to our sessions on mastering the basics, rubrics grading, and designing teacher PD with Teams. Also, come find us at Hack the Classroom and get hands on experience with Teams.

Did you know that you can use Teams for free? Teachers and students with an education e-mail address can get a free online version of Office 365 Education, which includes Teams!

Get started with Teams today.

Virtual tools help explore computer science and robotics in the classroom |

I am sure everyone enjoyed Computer Science Education Week and its amazing focus on enabling the students of today to create the world of tomorrow. We live in an amazing time of technological progress. Every aspect of our lives is being shaped by digital transformation. However, with transformation comes disruption. There’s growing concern over job growth, economic opportunity, and the world we are building for the next generation. So, the real question is: How can technology create more opportunity not for a few, but for all?

This week we would love to focus on how to bring applied computer science through robotics into the classroom. The skill of programming is fundamental for structured, logical thinking and enables students to bring technology to life and make it their own. Oftentimes this can be a lofty goal when resources are limited, but there is room for a grounded, everyday approach.

Code Builder for Minecraft: Education Edition is an extension that allows educators and students to explore, create, and play in an immersive Minecraft world – all by writing code. Since they can connect their work to learn-to-code packages like ScratchX, Tynker, and Microsoft MakeCode, players start with familiar tools, templates and tutorials. Minecraft: Education Edition is available free to qualified education institutions with any new Windows 10 device. You can check out our Minecraft: Education Edition sign-up page to learn how you can receive a one-year, single-user subscription for Minecraft: Education Edition for each new Windows 10 device purchased for your K-12 school.

OhBot is an educational robotics system that has been designed to stretch pupils’ computational thinking and understanding of computer science, and explore human/robot interaction through a creative robotic head that students program to speak and interact with their environment.

Another key area that we are supporting is in simulation solutions for robotics, to enable lower-cost access and better design practices in the classroom. With these programs, educators can teach robotic coding without a physical robot.

Daniel Rosenstein, a volunteer Robotics coach at the Elementary, Middle school and High school levels, firmly believes that simulation illustrates the connection between computer science and best practices in engineering design. Simulation makes the design process uniquely personal, because students are encouraged to build digital versions of their physical robot, and to try their programs in the simulator before investing in physical tools. The simulation environment, similar to a video game, creates a digital representation of the robot and its tasks, and allows for very quick learning cycles through design, programming, trial and error.

The Virtual Robotics Toolkit (VRT) is a good example. It’s an advanced simulator designed to enhance the LEGO MINDSTORMS experience. An excellent learning tool for classroom and competitive robotics, the VRT is easy to use and is approved by teachers and students.

Looks set to be another year of great new apps in the Microsoft Store and we are excited to shortly be welcoming Synthesis: An Autodesk Technology to the Store.  This app is built for design simulation and will enable students to work together to design, test and experiment with robotics, without having to touch a piece of physical hardware.

We look forward to connecting with you on this and more soon!

Microsoft Teams in Office 365 Education updates rolling out, with more coming soon |

Over the course of debuting Microsoft Teams in Office 365 Education, we’ve been privileged to have educators from across the globe join us in creating technology to foster collaborative classrooms and improve student learning outcomes.

Whether it’s through events like Hack the Classroom, or message boards on the Microsoft Educator Community (MEC), or in conversations over social media with our product team members, we’ve been listening to your feedback and incorporating your ideas and diversity of needs into the Teams experience.

Today, we’re taking time to share the latest updates from that continuous feedback, and we’re eager to share the excitement around how teachers have discovered ways to transform their classrooms and workflows with Teams, the hub for teamwork in Office 365 Education. It’s clear that Teams saves valuable teacher time and fosters a more modern classroom experience, and we see it in conducting virtual PLC meetings with the meet-now feature, and organizing group projects via channels. Take a look at how Teams and OneNote came to the rescue for a teacher on their sick day.

Create an assignment with a OneNote page

Since the start of the 2017 school year, educators have created over 10,000,000 student notebooks using the OneNote Class Notebook app, either stand-alone or as part of Microsoft Teams. The number one piece of feedback we’ve heard is to integrate OneNote even more deeply inside of Teams.

Today, we’re starting to roll out the ability for teachers to create assignments and attach a page from OneNote to distribute and ultimately grade. When creating an assignment, simply select a page from Class Notebook in the file picker, then choose a destination for distributing the assignment page in the student notebooks. We’ve had our private beta customers trying out this capability – here is what Amy Vester, Lead Teacher from Omaha Public Schools has to say:

“Having the Class Notebook in the Assignment feature of Teams is FANTASTIC! This ties Teams together even better for teachers. Having the Class Notebook just a click away is so much more convenient for teachers and their students.”


Efficient grading support for OneNote pages

This also includes the time-saving ability for teachers to easily pull up OneNote page assignments in the quick grading view of the Assignments app in Teams.

Class Notebook Addin integration with Teams

We’re excited to be updating the OneNote Class Notebook Addin to support Teams integration, answering a top request from User Voice. This allows teachers to create Teams assignments, plus grading, all from within the OneNote Desktop app. Here’s a short training video demonstrating exactly how this works.

In the coming days, we will be rolling out version of the Class Notebook Addin to get this capability, and bring the Teams integration to the OneNote Windows 10 app, OneNote Online, and iPad later in November.

Support for permissions in the Collaboration Space

We recently put out a blog post detailing how teachers can now add permissions to the Collaboration Space for OneNote Class Notebooks created in Teams. This capability was enabled last week.

Assignment notifications

With today’s announcement, we have started to roll out new assignment creation notifications for our Microsoft Teams education customers. After the update, once the Teacher creates a new assignment, all students in a class will get notified in the activity bell and a rich assignment card will be visible in the conversation stream, presented with due date and a link to the assignment details.

In addition, here are some other exciting cases that comes along with this change:

  • Collaboration around assignment: Teachers and students can now easily facilitate contextual and relevant collaboration around the specific assignment in a class.
  • Assignments search: Teachers and students can now easily search for assignments with specific key words from the assignment title, helping them save time. Below, you’ll see an example where a student uses “essay” as a keyword that shows up in the search bar for easy navigation.

Student new file submission

Students will now be able to initiate their work using Office apps right in context of the assignment submission flow, helping them save time. This addition will also be helpful for students who might not have access to Office apps at home and would like to get started on their assignments there.

Assignment full screen view

We visited many schools and learned from teachers and students that having a full screen view makes working on assignments more immersive. With this addition, students and teachers will now be able to easily switch into full screen view while working on their assignment, making it more productive and delightful. Below you’ll see is an example of a student expanding to full screen view while working on an assignment.

Coming soon: We will be launching the following features in the next few months, thanks to your feedback

Multiple class distribution

We value any teacher’s productivity and the invaluable time that they would like to spend with their students. This update will allow teachers managing multiple classes to easily distribute assignments at once, as opposed to sending to every single class individually today. Once it is distributed, teachers can always edit or delete the assignment in their respective class teams.



Assignments on iOS and Android

Today, schools using Microsoft Teams for education in the classroom can download mobile applications from the iOS and Android app stores. Students and teachers are using it to collaborate, ask questions in the conversations stream, and access files stored in the class.

In the coming months we will be rolling out assignments to the Teams mobile app, where teachers and students will have easy access on the go. Students will be able to easily scroll through the list of assignments, turn in their work, and get notified on new assignments through their mobile app.  To the right you’ll find an example of a student view in which they can easily scroll through their list of assignments within a class.

Assignment List view

We’ve heard a lot of great feedback from various educators on the need for having both list and week view for assignments. In the coming months, students and teachers will get a quick and easy way to scroll through the list of assignments within a class, and a new way to toggle between the week and the list view. We will also add a new “go to today” capability for easy navigation.  Below is an example of a student viewing the list of assignments in a class.


Q: How can a teacher delete any message in a class?

A: Once the IT Admin enables “Allow owners to delete all messages,” team owners will be able to delete any message posted by members in any team. The list of IT Admin control can be referenced here.

Q: How can IT Admins disable private chat for students?

A: IT Admins can toggle “Allow users to privately chat” for students to enable or disable private chat in their schools. The specific instructions on how to do this are here.

Q: What is the best IT Admin Support channel?

A: https://portal.office.com/adminportal/home#

We hope these Teams updates will continue to inspire how educators like you transform the classroom. As you continue to use Teams at your school, share your feedback, suggestions, and ideas! You can let us know of any functionality issues directly through the in-product feedback button, or you can send us your suggestions and ideas through User Voice – a feedback tool that our product team closely uses when continuing to update Teams. Finally, you can engage online and reach out on Twitter to @MicrosoftTeams, and you can follow @MicrosoftEDU for the latest updates on Microsoft Education.

Generation at risk of falling behind in tech skills unless computing education funding improves, report finds

A tenfold increase in computing education funding is needed or the UK risks seeing an entire generation fail to have the technology skills needed for the future, a new report has found.

The Royal Society study, which was co-funded by Microsoft, found that more than half of schools in England do not offer a GCSE in Computer Science, leaving many young people without critical experience in coding and programming.

It is estimated that around 85% of the jobs that will exist in 2030 haven’t been invented yet, and these will require skills in areas such as robotics, artificial intelligence and machine learning.

In order to prepare the next generation for advances in technology, the Royal Society, the UK’s national academy of sciences, said more than £60 million needed to be injected into computing education over the next five years – a tenfold increase from current levels. This would give the area the same support as maths and physics.

School provision of GCSE Computing in 2015-16

Cindy Rose, Chief Executive of Microsoft UK, said: “Microsoft is dramatically scaling up its digital skills programme in the UK and we believe now is the time for the Government to do the same. The risk, if we don’t make these investments now, is that too many young people struggle to access new opportunities, and the UK loses its advantage in a world being transformed by technology.”

The report (below), which was also part-funded by Google and led by world-famous engineer Steve Furber, found that:

  • 54% of English schools do not offer Computer Science GCSE
  • 30% of English GCSE pupils attend a school that does not offer Computer Science GCSE – the equivalent of 175,000 pupils each year, almost a third of the total number in England
  • Bournemouth leads England with the highest uptake of Computer Science GCSE (23% of all pupils), with Kensington & Chelsea, Blackburn and City of London coming last
  • England meets only 68% of its recruitment target for entries into computing teacher training courses, lower than Physics and Classics
  • Only one-in-five Computer Science GCSE pupils is female

Only 11% of Key Stage 4 students took GCSE Computer Science (62,703 out of a total of 588,000) in 2017. The report also found that more than half of schools in England (2,703 out of a total of 5,135) do not offer Computer Science GCSE at all.

At local authority level, Bournemouth leads England with the highest uptake of GCSE Computer Science (23% of all pupils at Key Stage 4), followed by Central Bedfordshire (22%), Hartlepool (22%), Knowsley (20%) and Slough (20%). The City of London has the lowest uptake (4%) followed by Blackburn (5%), Kensington & Chelsea (5%), Carderdale (5%) and Rutland (5%).

The report also found that two-in-three schools in Hackney do not offer Computer Science at GCSE level, despite being located near the Silicon Roundabout, London’s tech hub. Nearby Islington only had six out of 14 schools offering the subject.

The Isles of Scilly (100%), Hartlepool (71%), Harrow (67%) and Bracknell Forest (67%) are the local authorities with the highest proportion of schools offering Computer Science GCSE, while Kensington & Chelsea (18%) sits at the bottom of the list, followed by Tower Hamlets (27%), Shropshire (27%), Rutland (29%) and Greenwich (29%).

The report, which was based on a survey, in-depth meetings with teachers and Government data, suggests that part of the problem with computing education is a lack of knowledge about the fast-paced technology sector among staff. One-in-four secondary school teachers surveyed took no professional development activities to enhance their knowledge of computing. The Government allocates just £1.2 million a year to training existing computing teachers, and the Royal Society called on the government to provide enough funding to train 8,000 secondary school computing teachers.

The Royal Society also found that just 20% of GCSE Computer Science candidates were female, falling to 10% at A-level
The Royal Society also found that just 20% of GCSE Computer Science candidates were female, falling to 10% at A-level

“For pupils to thrive, we need knowledgeable, highly skilled teachers,” Furber said. “The report paints a bleak picture in England, which meets only 68% of its computing teacher recruitment targets and where, as a result, one-in-two schools doesn’t offer Computer Science at GCSE, a crucial stage of young people’s education.”

Teachers told the Royal Society they are most confident with parts of the computing curriculum inherited from previous Information and Communications Technology courses, and 44% feel more confident in delivering the earlier stages of the curriculum.

Computing teachers are also in short supply, with the government meeting only 68% of its recruitment target for entrants to computing teacher training courses in England between 2012 and 2017. In Scotland, the number of computer science teachers has fallen by 25% in the past 10 years. There is also a shortage of trainees with enough specialist knowledge to teach a technical subject. While there are 65 Physics and 93 Maths teacher conversion courses available, none exists for computing. The Royal Society is calling for government funding on top of the £60 million to set up conversion courses so there is no personal cost to teachers and schools.

Student uptake of GCSE Computing in 2015-16

Reinforcing previous reports on the gender divide in computing lessons, the Royal Society also found that just 20% of GCSE Computer Science candidates were female, falling to 10% at A-level. There is a similar picture in Scotland, with a 20% female uptake at National 5. Chinese pupils and those from other Asian backgrounds are significantly more likely than white pupils and black pupils to study GCSE Computer Science (12.7% vs 7.5%, 5.5% and 4.1% respectively).

“The rate at which technology is transforming the workplace means that we live in a world where many primary schoolchildren will work in technology-based roles that do not yet exist, so it is essential that future generations can apply digital skills with confidence,” Furber added.

“Overhauling the fragile state of our computing education will require an ambitious, multipronged approach. We need to invest significantly more to support and train 8,000 secondary school computing teachers to ensure pupils have the skills and knowledge needed for the future.”

Girls work in school lab, with laptop on table showing science website
The Royal Society wants support for Computer Science to be on a par with maths and physics

Microsoft President Brad Smith told the CBI Annual Conference earlier this week that technology skills were in demand in the UK, and companies and that people of all ages needed to acquire the right knowledge and experience.

“It’s clear that 90% of jobs will need new digital skills; and it’s clear that employees don’t have the skills that employers require,” he told hundreds of business leaders at the event in London.

“That starts with bringing new skills into schools, bringing new initiatives like Computing at School, a programme we have been proud to support. It’s a programme that does what needs to be done – create a new curriculum to teach a new subject and provide professional development.”

Microsoft has also launched a programme to teach digital skills to people across the UK, to ensure the country remains one of the global leaders in next-generation technologies.