Last year the BBC released findings which found that most full-time teachers work an average of 48.2 hours per work, but one in five works 60 hours or more – 12 hours above the limit set by the European working time directive. With such high demands on teachers time there is only time in the day to take on new technology which has been designed to make you more productive and efficient.
Cloud software, from the likes of Microsoft and Google, has been designed to reduce the number of repetitive tasks you do each day, save you time, improve collaboration and communication and much more to help boost productivity.
What is Microsoft Teams?
Microsoft Teams enables teachers and students to easily collaborate to achieve more. Teachers can create collaborative classrooms, connect in professional learning communities, and communicate with colleagues – all from a single experience in Office 365. Included free with Office 365, Teams brings together conversations, content and all of the Microsoft apps you use every day.
Microsoft's Executive VP of Windows, Terry Myerson, said that with Microsoft Teams "We've created a natural way to foster collaboration and encourage creativity in every classroom of every school."
Teams helps teachers to manage their daily workflow more easily than ever before. Using Teams, teachers can;
- Quickly and efficiently create classes with automatically populated student rosters from their Management Information System
- Share files and teaching materials with colleagues
- Make announcements
- Divide the class into project groups and monitor progress
- Create, distribute and mark quizzes
- Deliver personalised learning with OneNote Class Notebooks
- Distribute, collect and mark assignments
Teams is a digital hub, meaning that students can;
- Work together anytime, anywhere and on any device
- Collaborate on their projects with peers
- Communicate with teachers and peers
- Enjoy learning in an environment they are comfortable and familiar with
How does it work in practice?
Let's take a look at a couple of practical examples of how Microsoft Teams could help you to improve productivity.
1. Student group projects
If students aren't able to get together after school, Teams allows them to collaborate on group projects after school from wherever they are and whatever device they are using. Students can work together in real time in Office Online, commenting on each others work and providing peer assessment. Or students can use Skype video calls to discuss their projects face-to-face. As all of their work is happening in real-time in Teams, teachers can also join in with guidance to help students to focus on the key points.
2. Staff meetings
Staff meetings can be time consuming, hard to coordinate in people's timetables and often hard to record. With Microsoft Teams you can compile agendas collaboratively in advance of the meeting and share out the meeting minutes quickly afterwards, negating the need to compile separate documents or emails or having to print out lots of agendas. Agendas and minutes can be stored centrally in documents saved online, meaning that they are accessible at all times, saving you print costs and improving efficiency by giving everyone access to the meeting notes whenever they need them.
If you are part of a multi-academy trust or spread across several sites, Microsoft Teams allows you to use video chat for staff meetings. By video conferencing meetings, you can record the meetings as they happen, save on travel costs and save your staff time as they simply have to log in from their computer to join.
3. Teaching new topics
Built-in video chat in Teams allows teachers to virtually bring in guest speakers and create richly collaborative educational experiences which previously wouldn't have been possible or would have been very hard to manage.
Video conferencing can be used to;
- Bring in outside experts enabling students to gain an awareness of global issues
- Enable distance learning for students who may not be able to make it into school everyday
- Create the possibility for virtual field trips
- Allow schools to offer subjects that there may not be capacity to support internally
How does Teams integrate
with other solutions in Office 365?
You can integrate almost any kind of Office 365 document or Sharepoint site into Microsoft Teams, giving you one central place to get to all of your content. This also means that any time you have invested in creating other collaboration areas such as SharePoint is not wasted.
Microsoft Teams is the glue that brings all your Office 365 content together into one hub, enabling you to collaborate and increase productivity.