A year back I posted Microsoft Teams – Your Ever-evolving Digital Classroom which charted, what I thought were the most useful updates to MS Teams for students and teachers over the previous 12 months and with 2023 fast approaching, I’m going to revisit Microsoft’s ubiquitous digital learning hub to run the rule over the new features released in 2022. Whilst deep-diving (Or even just referencing) every update is far beyond the scope of a blog post (You’ll find that detail at Education Blog – Microsoft Community Hub) , I’m going to drill down on those (IMHO) most useful for teachers using Teams for face-face and online learning (Or a mix of the two – blended ) . As already mooted, Teams is continually evolving but probably most importantly is that updates are squarely based on user feedback so changes, whilst incremental, enhance the user experience for teachers and learners. Improving an already powerful OneStop shop that teachers can deploy to centralise learning, work and collaboration, remotely and in-class. So read on to see what makes my top five for 2022.
Class Team Homepages
The new homepage feature in Microsoft Class Teams enables teachers to create personalised homepages within MS Teams for every class they teach, complete with announcements, class resources, upcoming assignments, recently edited shared files and more, centralising everything on one customisable page. Even better for those time poor, it’s quick to setup as much of the content is automatically generated from the class calendar, assignments and channel announcements. However, it’s easy to, add, edit, move (Or remove) content to personalise the experience. See How to use the new Microsoft Teams Class Homepage – YouTube
Create personalised homepages for every class you teach…
Add video clips to chat messages
You can now record a video clip and send it to people in one-on-one and group chats. Just click on the Video icon to the left of the Send button. From there, a pop-up window lets you record a short clip, preview and edit before posting into the Teams chat.
Embed Videos and Link Previews in Whiteboard
Teams inbuilt Whiteboard app was completely redesigned in 2021 for increased functionality and useability and new for 22 it boasts two further creation tools, Videos; which embeds videos from a host of sources directly whilst Links; allows you to add links to websites (Complete with previews) effortlessly.
New Polls app (formerly Forms) in live Meetings
In-meeting live polling functionality has been significantly upgraded with meeting admins and presenters now able to conduct live polls including multiple choice, word clouds, rating, rankings and quizzes from the pop-out Polls window. Even quicker are instant Polls, where you can ask binary questions like Yes/No, Thumbs Up/Down, Heart/Heart broken with just a single click in the Polls side pane during a meeting so teachers can quickly check the opinions/pulse/understanding of learners and get any instant feedback on a subject, lesson plan or idea.
To enable the Polls App in a meeting find the relevant meeting in Calendar and open it, select Chat with participants then Add a tab, search for Polls app, then Add and finally Save.
New Reading Coach in Reading Progress & 365 Apps
In last December’s Teams roundup I highlighted the powerful AI-powered Reading Progress tool (Launched July 21) , designed to help students build confidence and reading fluency through personalised reading experiences built into Teams Assignments. and new this year is the addition of Reading Coach.
Reading Coach builds on Reading Progress by identifying the 5 words each individual student struggled with the most and presenting them again with tools like text to speech, syllable breaking, and picture dictionary to support the reader to practice independently and these tools can be customised by the teacher when setting up the assignment. Reading Coach is also designed to integrate with Immersive Reader across several Microsoft 365 apps so learners can practice reading independently outside of Assignments in school or at home.