Teachers today, most likely have become accustomed in holding online classes and thus are more “techie” than the previous generations of teachers. Technology has been increasingly being integrated into everyone’s daily lives and this includes education. One of the most important tools in holding online classes are video conferencing platforms such as Microsoft Teams. But aside from video conferencing, what else does Teams offer? Teachers, here are five features that can make your job easier.
There are different ways in checking attendance. In a face-to-face class, the most common ways are the roll call or passing along the attendance sheet for everyone to sign. In an online class, a simple screenshot of everyone can do the trick. However, there are flaws to each one of these. A roll call might take a lot of time, passing the attendance sheet might take away a student’s attention during a lecture, and a screenshot might miss a student who suddenly had a network interruption and unintentionally left the video call.
Microsoft Teams has a downloadable attendance report for video conferencing. This report, laid out in a Microsoft Excel file, shows teachers the attendance and timestamps of when students joined, left, and if they rejoined.
Tardiness has always been an issue. Even with a class that does not require students to be physically present, they can still come in late. Once classes start, one way to notify students to enter the meeting room is to set the delivery option of a message. In this feature, there are three delivery options: standard, important, and urgent. The first one is the normal message. Choosing the second and third options will add the words “Important” and “Urgent”, respectively. Additionally, if marked “Urgent”, the recipient will be notified every 2 minutes for 20 minutes, or until they have read the message.
One of the common issues with video conferencing is background noise. If there is a construction site, loud traffic noise, crying baby, or whatever loud nearby, there is no way to tell them to keep it down. Students can mute themselves to avoid class disruption. Teachers, since they cannot mute, can use the noise suppression feature. This lessens and sometimes eliminates the background noise so teachers can continue their lecture noise-free.
Teachers ask questions to engage with their students. At times, there are questions that require the whole class to participate. While a simple raise of hand or the chat area can answer single questions, those features are not enough for multiple or more complex questions. The “Insert Poll” feature allows teachers to create polls, in Microsoft Forms, during class. This allows teachers to ask questions and ensure everyone’s participation. Also with polls, students who are not confident with their answer can be encouraged more to participate since their answer will not be seen by everyone in the class.
An irreplaceable experience teachers have in a face-to-face class is seeing their students all at once and seeing them participating in the lecture. Microsoft Teams’ Together Mode feature is the closest thing teachers have in recreating this experience. This feature displays everyone in the call in a preferred setting such as an auditorium, amphitheater, board room (for smaller classes), and more. Users can also use custom backgrounds to have a more engaging environment.
These are just a few of the many features that Microsoft Teams offer. Interested in availing of Microsoft products for your school? Learn more here. For more tips, content, and updates, follow our Facebook page. You can also reach out to us via email.