Microsoft Classroom – Part 2
In our first entry for Microsoft Classroom, we covered the benefits and examples for: (1) setting up classes as groups, not destinations, (2) creating the classroom landing page, and (3) setting up assignments for classes as well as individuals. Today, we are moving forward with the Microsoft Classroom discussion to include Microsoft Forms, Class Notebook, integrating 3rd Party Learning Management Systems and Professional Learning Communities. Let’s dive in!
Typically, an assignment will reference additional resources or activities, and Microsoft has developed some of the essential tools for teachers which are integrated with the Microsoft Classroom experience. For example, teachers will always need to assess their students' comprehension of the concepts being taught. This typically means creating worksheets, formal quizzes and tests, or even simple surveys to help steer the conversation during class time. To simplify the process of creating, collecting and grading these types of assessments, Microsoft developed Microsoft Forms (https://forms.office.com/). Microsoft Forms empowers educators to quickly and easily create assessments with multiple choice, short and long answer, and other types of questions which can be completed by students using a web browser, even on mobile devices. Results can be viewed in real-time using built-in analytics which is useful for surveying the class or collected in Excel to simplify grading. Forms can even be used to prepare for standardized testing without requiring valuable class time and minimizing the effort for teachers.
If you are reading this post, you likely track Microsoft education related news and solutions at some level which means you are very likely already aware of Microsoft OneNote and, specifically, the Class Notebook add-in and creator tool (https://www.onenote.com/classnotebook). Class Notebook provides a shared OneNote notebook ideally organized to support K-12 classes. Once created, a Class Notebook provides the following:
Individual Student Notebooks which are private section groups that are shared between the teacher and each individual student. These include sections for Homework, Class Notes, Quizzes, and any other custom sections.
Collaboration Space which includes sections that are shared by all students and the teachers, and are useful for group work.
A Content Library section for class resources
Microsoft Classroom is tightly coupled with OneNote Class Notebook and automatically generates a Class Notebook for each of the classes. In fact, OneNote Class Notebook is integral to the assignment creation, collection and grading workflow and is arguably the centerpiece of the Microsoft Classroom experience. For example, new assignments can be created from within OneNote and are created in a chosen section of the Student Notebooks.
3rd Party Learning Management System integration
Class Notebook also manages connections with third party Learning Management Systems (https://mix.office.com/watch/85avqddwdyk8). This provides access to courses within the chosen LMS and allows specific notebooks to be mapped to these courses. Once mapped, assignments created in Class Notebook can be published to the related course in the LMS. From within the Class Notebook, teachers can review students' work and grade published assignments.
Professional Learning Communities
So far we have focused on Microsoft Classroom and the enhanced Office 365 Groups it provides for class management. However, Microsoft Classroom also creates another type of group designed specifically to support Professional Learning Communities ("PLCs"). PLC groups allow teachers to collaborate with other using many of the same tools available to classes such as group conversations. Teachers often work together on formal projects such as creating a new assignment, or planning cross disciplinary lessons. Microsoft Classroom PLCs help teachers manage these projects more effective by incorporating the new Office 365 Planner tool. Using Planner teachers can easily create, share, and track project tasks, and quickly review the progress of multiple projects in a single dashboard.
Microsoft worked closely with educators throughout the development of Microsoft Classroom and this is evident across all aspects of the solution. Classroom seamlessly consolidates many of Office 365’s advanced capabilities with other Microsoft education specific tools such as OneNote Class Notebook and Forms to provide an easy to use and relevant experience for teachers and students. To ensure that most districts will be able to easily deploy and use platform, Microsoft has partnered with the top Student Information System and Learning Management System providers to simplify integration and ensure a unified experience.
B2B Technologies has assisted many K-12 clients adopt Office 365 since its release and we are looking forward to helping districts incorporate Microsoft Classroom for their students and educators. If you are interested in learning more or discussing options for your school or district, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.