Tag Archives: education

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 2.0.0.0 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.

FAQ

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.

Introducing Education Resources, a source of Open Educational Resources within Office 365 |

Today we are launching the pilot between Open Up Resources and Microsoft Education. Open Up Resources is a nonprofit working to develop the highest quality full-course OER curricula, Common Core aligned, and provided for free to promote instructional equity. This curriculum was developed by Illustrative Mathematics, and currently covers 6th – 8th Grade Math. Any teacher can now easily sign up to use the Open Up Resources curriculum. With today’s announcement, Microsoft Education is offering this curriculum through OneNote , Forms and custom dashboards. This solution is free and can be used by teachers and students on any platform and device. 

The Office 365 Education solution takes the Open Up Resources curriculum and assessments and puts together a free solution that pulls together content, assessments and analytics.

  • Content: Organize all your class materials, including Open Up Resources, into one digital notebook with OneNote Class Notebooks. Then, create more compelling, interactive content that you can easily collaborate on with students and colleagues.  
  • Assessments: Quickly create basic surveys, quizzes, questionnaires, registrations and more with Microsoft Forms. Teachers can view results as they are submitted, and data can be easily exported to Excel for grading or be viewed in dashboards.
  • Dashboards: Monitor and analyze a broad range of live data from content engagement through easy-to-use dashboards, interactive reports, and compelling data visualizations with custom Dashboards provided by Microsoft Education.

To see how these three pieces tie together, we’ve put together a short video

Using the custom OneNote Class Notebook to access and deliver the Open Up Resources curriculum:

  • Teachers can distribute the Illustrative Mathematics course materials on any device via OneNote.
  • Students can write, draw, collaborate and save their work automatically in a personal digital notebook.
  • Real-time collaboration can occur around the materials: teacher-to-class, teacher-to-student, and student-to-student.
  • OneNote Class Notebooks integrate seamlessly with common LMS and SIS platforms.

          Open Up Resources content delivered in OneNote Class Notebooks

Last spring, both Buncombe County and Evergreen school districts engaged in a private pilot using the Open Up Resources materials in a OneNote Class Notebook. Here is what Stephanie Brucker, District Tech Coordinator from Buncombe County had to say:

 “The integration of the Open Up Mathematics resources into OneNote has allowed teachers in our district to truly integrate our one-to-one devices and mathematics in a powerful way to advance student learning. Utilizing OneNote and Illustrative Math together in the classroom has opened up a gateway to each student’s thoughts and ideas throughout the units. The collaboration of materials between OneNote and Open Up has actually increased the practice of mathematical discourse simultaneously with our digital initiative.”

Open Up Resources assessments have been integrated with Microsoft Forms. When a Class Notebook is created, the Forms are all automatically pre-installed into the Educators Forms library in Office 365 Education, ready to be distributed as assessments. Through assessments, delivered in Forms, benefits include:

  • Easy digital assessments
  • One-click assignment and efficient scoring
  • Support for differentiation through rapid, formative assessment insight.

Sample Open Up Resources assessments delivered in Microsoft Forms

For the pilot program, Microsoft Education has created custom dashboards that are tied to the Open Up Resources Class Notebooks and Forms data. =These dashboards will allow teachers to gain insights into the assessment data and trends.

  

Example analytics dashboard, pulling from the OneNote Class Notebook and Microsoft Forms assessment data

To help teachers and schools get up and running, we have put together Getting Started materials on the Microsoft Support site which includes instructions and support information.. 

If you or your district would like to participate in a pilot,

  • Go to the Open Up Resources site and sign up
  • Log in to the site
  • Request materials and check the box for “piloting Microsoft OneNote (see example below)

 “

We are excited for school districts to start piloting this new solution across Content (OneNote), Assessments (Forms) and Analytics.  Both OneNote and Forms are part of Office 365 for Education, which is free for teachers and students with a valid school email address.  

Twitter

Microsoft Education @MicrosoftEDU

Microsoft OneNote for Education @OneNoteEDU

Open Up Resources @OpenUpResources

Illustrative Mathematics @IllustrateMath

Minecraft: Education Edition brings The Oregon Trail Into The 21st Century | Minecraft: Education Edition

Minecraft Education partners with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Roald Dahl Estate, and Smithsonian to develop collaborative and engaging content.

Many adults today have engaged in learning through games – from designing history-themed board games to choose-your-own-adventure explorations. Educator practice and research over the past two decades documents the effectiveness of this approach. In the Level Up Learning study from Joan Ganz Cooney Center, nearly three quarters (71%) of teachers who use digital games reported that games have been effective in improving their students’ learning outcomes. Due to its open and immersive design, open world games like Minecraft can be utilized as a vehicle for storytelling, narration, and motivation in language arts and across the curriculum.

Educators and students in 115 countries have begun their journey with Minecraft: Education Edition. They tell us that using Minecraft to complement their existing curriculum has helped them improve student engagement, collaboration, and creative exploration. We have also seen App Smashing in education as ground-breaking educators find multiple products useful to integrate technology into existing instruction. So we asked ourselves, what would happen if we were to use Minecraft as an example of Game Smashing?

You’re about to begin a great adventure, traveling the Oregon Trail across the rugged landscape of North America.

It’s time to bring one of the most iconic games to life and reimagine it as a Minecraft world. Partnering with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Minecraft Education is proud to deliver The Oregon Trail Experience to educators and students around the world. Exclusively in Minecraft: Education Edition, classrooms can play through The Oregon Trail in Minecraft, from Independence, Missouri to the Oregon Coast.

We are delighted to partner with Minecraft Education, giving students a new way to experience one of the most popular educational games of all time, The Oregon Trail. Through the unique magic of Minecraft, students will be drawn to discover the wonders and challenges that pioneers encountered on this famous journey. -Caroline Fraser, SVP, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Over 15 learning experiences along the way enrich learning with activities in Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, Visual Arts, and more and reach students regardless of grade level. Students can also add their own paths to the game and create their own 19th century communities along the journey.

The versality of Minecraft in the classroom continues to be demonstrated across the curriculum as well. This past Spring, we partnered with the Roald Dahl Estate on Imaginormous, a writing competition for elementary and middle school students. The winner’s story, Fluffletopolis, was turned into a Minecraft build by our friends at ShapeScape. We look forward to educators and students using this world, and the lessons we created alongside the Roald Dahl Team, to empower our next generation of storytellers and creators.

If you’re interested in getting started with an introductory level experience, Minecraft Education is partnering with Smithsonian for their Museum Day LIVE event on Saturday, September 23rd. By collaborating, we can bring together the amazing resources Smithsonian has with immersive Minecraft extensions to the existing lesson plans. Minecraft Global Mentor Ben Kelly already experienced these extensions with his students.

In an era where personalized learning is the goal, the ‘Museum of Me’ Project can be used to help educators find common interests with their students and identify career and curriculum areas to benefit everyone’s learning path. -Ben Kelly, Global Minecraft Mentor

We hope that educators around the world can engage students in conversations and activities ranging from how materials used for buildings is transformed over time, the size of the cosmos, and help their own students build a ‘Museum of Me’. Be sure to download your free ticket from the Smithsonian site, and join in an incredible experience later this month.

In support of creating great learning experiences like The Oregon Trail, Fluffletopolis and Museum of Me, we continue to add features to Minecraft: Education Edition. Next month we will introduce three new features for students and educators alike. As always, we are incorporating other new features from other Minecraft versions like stained glass, crafting recipe book, ravines, parrots, and the most important Minecraft block, coarse dirt (if this doesn’t sound exciting to you, ask your students).

Using Minecraft Structure Blocks, students will be able to export Minecraft creations in 3d and view them in Remix 3D along with manipulating them in Paint 3D. Educators can review geometric creations, create cut-away Minecraft models of plant and animal cells, and design cathedrals as part of a unit on the Middle Ages.

With the new Minecraft: Education Edition Book & Quill, students can create their own combinations of images and writing, and export these for assessment and presentations.

Students can now program Non-Playable Characters (NPCs) in the game using basic logic to create custom artificial intelligence as part of their worlds.

Please share your experiences with your community and with us at @playcraftlearn and through our educator community site on education.minecraft.net.

Here’s a 3-minute guide to get started with Minecraft: Education Edition |

Minecraft: Education Edition is an open-world game that promotes creativity, collaboration, and problem-solving in an immersive environment where the only limit is your imagination. Over the last year, the Education Blog has shared how Minecraft can help your students learn to code with Code Builder, or how it might help them shed their shells and explore a virtual horizon together.

We want you to feel that creativity and spirit of discovery for yourself soon, so we’ve put together a 3-minute step-by-step video tutorial for introducing Minecraft: Education Edition into your classroom today. You’ll also catch some tips on how you can take advantage of our Minecraft: Education Edition website, which features tutorials, lesson plans and guidance from other educators.

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One more thing: Beyond our offer of a free trial, 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.

Transforming education to deliver on the sustainable development goals |

[See full details of the Education Transformation Framework here]

Providing inclusive and quality education for all students is both a goal and challenge for education institutions. Ensuring students acquire the skills they need is crucial if we want to ensure the next generation’s ability to stimulate future economic growth – together we have a shared interest to transform education today.

At Microsoft, we recognize that technology alone cannot develop the 21st century skills students will require in their futures. To help educators achieve their goals of sustainable development through transforming education, Microsoft is focused on improving environments that support students, educators and parents in fostering 21st century learning to produce better learning outcomes.

The scale of education transformation outstrips current capacity, yet technology can empower education systems to bridge this gap. Governments will need to drive holistic education transformation, harnessing appropriate technologies to cater to the needs of students, educators, and educational institutions. Ensuring students and educators have access to devices, connectivity, content, and training is essential to making this transformation.

This is why we are working closely with governments on the Leading Countries of the World program. This program brings together countries, regions, states and provinces from across the globe, who are highly impactful in how they use technology in education. Facilitated by Microsoft and supported by the UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education (IITE), LCW has been established to share best practice with our education systems who wish to digitally transform their approaches too.

Download the brochure for Leading Countries of the World here [PDF link]. Systems who wish to join the partnership can contact lcw@microsoft.com.

The first step toward quality education is to build educator, leader, and school capacity. We support national and regional education decision makers in building out their strategic plans for change and making wise choices in technology investments. Microsoft has committed more than $750 million over 15 years in professional development for educators and school leaders. Our professional development tools, courses, and certification empower educators to take charge of their own learning and continuously build their skills – and earn globally benchmarked credentials. Trained educators can design and lead 21st century learning activities in their schools and lead change from the grassroots.

Three young female students sitting with Windows devices open on an outside basketball court.

We recently announced the many educators, school leaders, and schools that are leading digital transformation in education through our Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert and Microsoft Showcase Schools programs. Through these programs, a growing community of more than 500 pioneering schools and more than 150,000 educators worldwide are participating in the Educator community. These extraordinary schools and educators demonstrate how powerful quality learning experiences can be when enabled by 1:1 Windows devices for students and Office 365 for collaboration. These creative schools mentor others as they evolve their approaches.

Literacy and numeracy targets can be achieved by equipping students with tools to support learning. Through offering students Office 365 for Education on up to five devices at no cost, we can boost student and educator productivity and collaboration throughout the teaching and learning process.

With education apps, we create experiences that unlock students and teachers to explore, experiment and express ideas in ways that deepen understanding and connection. Apps like Microsoft Math help students in South Africa and South East Asia demonstrate that appropriate apps, accessed through mobile devices, can raise student achievement. The Lit4Life.net platform empowers any educator or student to create and publish their own e-book using the Chekhov Story Author app. This is a vital tool to easily generate digital content for teaching and learning, and to improve literacy skills.

Vocational skills for employability are also critically important, to prepare students for their future working lives. Digital literacy and computational thinking can be built from the earliest stage with tools like Code Builder for Minecraft: Education Edition, which introduce students to coding. Through YouthSpark and Microsoft Imagine Academy, we support students through industry-recognized technology education, skills, and certifications they need to succeed in their future careers. In addition, the Microsoft Imagine program offers hundreds of free online technical skills courses for students.

The sustainable development goal targets are an inspiring challenge to galvanize the education sector into action. At Microsoft, we are proud to partner with national Ministries of Education, non-governmental organizations, and international organizations like UNESCO to transform education. We want to deepen and enrich our partnerships in education to help meet this challenge and make a real difference to students across the world.

Learn more about Microsoft Education and find resources to empower your schools and educators:

For more information, contact LWC@microsoft.com.